by Ross Fletcher, GEI Director of Study Abroad Programs
Did you know that today is World Heart Day?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently, with additional partners, began a new Global Hearts Initiative to address the number one cause of death in the world, cardiovascular disease (CVD). The initiative strives to increase tobacco control, decrease salt-intake and improve the services currently available for the reduction of key issues such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
In light of World Heart Day, we asked our Program Leader and main Master Trainer for the Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) programs, Linda Bell, to answer some important questions relating to CVD and her experiences with training others for better ECC implementation abroad.
Linda is a registered nurse and paramedic with a master’s degree in nursing. After various appointments with hospitals and medical centers, she founded her own Florida-based training center that has been authorized by the American Heart Association (AHA).
Interview with Linda
Linda, what motivates you to work in the field of ECC?
I am very interested in the structures, resources, culture and health of communities. As a young nurse I was first assigned to the Coronary Care Units in the hospital. I found Cardiovascular Care fascinating. I continued on in my own personal growth in the field. As I was learning more, I found myself really enjoying teaching and coaching not only the patients but other nurses and professionals as well.
Later, I moved over to the Emergency Medicine side and really became interested in what happens in the community before the patient arrives at the ER. I added pre-hospital skills and furthered my own personal growth and education to help understand what happens and what responses occur in the community.
The world is one big community of different cultures and beliefs and the varied cultures have an impact on how people look at healthcare and definitely access to it.
I am very thankful for the opportunities to go into this world we live in and not only share, but learn and appreciate what is there. I learn something new every day.
Linda, why do you think it is important to take ECC work abroad?
Organizations such as the AHA, WHO and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), help us understand that CVD is not just endemic to one country or culture, it is a global health issue.
Linda is very correct, as the following WHO statistics show:
- CVDs are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause.
- An estimated 17.5 million people died from CVDs in 2012, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke.
- Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.
- Out of the 16 million deaths under the age of 70 due to noncommunicable diseases, 82% are in low and middle-income countries and 37% are caused by CVDs.
- Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol using population-wide strategies.
- People with cardiovascular disease or who are at high cardiovascular risk (due to the presence of one or more risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia or already established disease) need early detection and management using counseling and medicines, as appropriate.
Linda, please share with us some of your favorite memories of teaching and training ECC abroad.
I absolutely love to teach, reach, inspire and empower. I love to watch these shy young professors, teachers and students come out of their shells and show what they can do.
I was especially honored that the Nursing School Administrators and Instructors asked me to tour their school, classroom and campus. The whole trip and every minute was special and exciting.
I look forward to returning to Vinh Medical University to follow up on how the ECC program is progressing. I gave them all assignments to complete before I return and I am anxious to see for myself their progress.
For more information on our programs, WHO statistics and related issues, please follow the links below: