INDIANAPOLIS — In a medical emergency, knowing what to do when someone is in crisis can be a matter of life or death.
Studies from the American Heart Association show not everyone has the same access to the same training and education.
It’s a reality Akeem Dance knows too well.
“Not too long ago, a friend, her mom, was in cardiac arrest and I didn’t know what to do at that time. It was real tough on me," Dance said.
His friend’s mom was on hospice for six months, before passing away.
One of his biggest regrets was not knowing what to do in an emergency situation.
“I feel like if I did have that knowledge, she would be here today," Dance said.
The tragedy inspired him to seek his Certified Nurse Aide license at Faith Healthcare Training Center in Indianapolis.
Founder and CEO Victoria Davis says her organization’s mission is to expand CPR training to high-risk neighborhoods and provide assistance where needed most.
The emergency lifesaving procedure is performed when the heart stops beating.
Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest.
“We actually go out into the community and teach these individuals how to do CPR. Not only do we offer that part with our CNA training, but we also go out to the community — nursing homes, summer camps, daycares so they can do CPR the right way," Davis said.
An AHA study finds white children are more likely to receive bystander CPR during cardiac arrest than Black and Hispanic children.
Davis says we need to close that gap.
“If we can do that and train family members and friends and people that are in low income and minority neighborhoods on what to do until EMS arrives, we are giving that person an increase to survive," Davis said.
Flor Tapia graduated from the program last February.
She’s had many barriers stand in the way of pursuing a career in healthcare: English as a second language, being a teen mom and coming from a family with little experience in higher education.
“Not a lot of us went to college, like my parents and stuff. Just finding my path and knowing that it’s in the health field, it’s big for me and my family," Tapia said.
With the skills she learned at Faith Healthcare, she plans to works as an aid in Nursing Home before going back to school.
“As a CNA, we are there to hear sometimes personal problems and support them emotional. It’s not easy to be ill or mentally ill or away from their homes, their stuff, their loved ones. So that’s another way to support people," Tapia said.