Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Center for Resuscitation Science

HeartRescue Project

  • HeartRescue Project
  • HeartRescue Project
  • HeartRescue Project
  • HeartRescue Project

The HeartRescue Project, funded by the Medtronic Foundation, is dedicated to improving how sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is recognized, treated and measured in the United States. Penn's Center for Resuscitation Science joins the country's leading experts, including Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, Washington and American Medical Response (AMR) to identify best practices and systematically reduce the number of people who die each year from SCA.

To learn more about sudden cardiac arrest, please visit:

To learn more about the HeartRescue Project, please visit:

Questions or comments can be directed to:
Julie Griff

Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project

HeartRescue Project

The vision of the Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project is to work with key partners to establish a statewide infrastructure that ensures every SCA victim will receive life-saving, state-of-the-art care at the scene, en route to and in the hospital. Our mission is to improve SCA survival by 50 percent through:

  • Improved EMS response with high-performance CPR
    • PA Resuscitation Academies
    • High-functioning EMS agency Train-the-Trainer Academies
  • Data collection with the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES)
  • Quality in-hospital care
  • Community Outreach and Educational Programs to ensure prompt, high quality bystander CPR

CARES: Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival

CARES Philly Fire Commissioner VisitImproving Cardiac Care to Save More Lives:

Each year, 300,000 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) occur in the United States. Almost two-thirds are treated by emergency medical services (EMS) providers. Community rates of OHCA survival are generally low (2%–40%). Quickly implementing the "chain of survival" is crucial to surviving OHCA, but many communities cannot measure how effectively EMS providers activate the chain. Without adequate performance measures, these communities lose opportunities to improve emergency cardiac care and save lives.

The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project provides coordination of the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES), which is a secure, web-based data management system created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated with Emory University and the American Heart Association to help increase OHCA survival rates. Communities enrolled in CARES enter local EMS and hospital data and generate their own reports. EMS agencies in Pennsylvania learn more about their system performance through de-identified aggregate statistics at the local, state, or national level and discover promising practices that could improve emergency cardiac care. Cardiac receiving hospitals enter patient outcomes into CARES, which will enable Pennsylvania communities to identify out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates for the first time.

Helping Communities Identify Opportunities for Improvement

With a goal of increasing out-of-hospital SCA survival, the Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project supports CARES and is committed to assisting EMS, fire, first responders, hospitals, and the larger community to identify:

  • Who is affected
  • When and where cardiac arrests occur
  • Which elements of the system are functioning well and those that could work more effectively
  • How changes can be made to improve cardiac arrest outcomes
  • How emergency cardiac treatment can be improved

Working Together to Improve Emergency Cardiac Care

The CARES system:

  • Uses a secure Web database with restricted access for authorized users.
  • Has software that collects and links data sources to create a single de-identified record for each OHCA event.
  • Uses a simple, HIPAA-compliant methodology to protect confidentiality.
  • Accepts a variety of input methods, such as uploaded data files or online data entry.
  • Collects 9-1-1 computer-aided dispatch data for EMS response times.
  • Allows longitudinal, internal benchmarking of key performance indicators.
  • Provides multiple reporting features, including charts, graphs, and maps.

For more information, please visit

Questions or Comments can be directed to:
Nina Li, Pennsylvania CARES Database Coordinator

High-Performance CPR Video Contest

Pennsylvania Resuscitation Academy

About the Contest

The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project and the PA Department of Health Bureau of EMS are proud to present the first ever statewide High-Performance CPR Video Contest. In light of the July 2013 cardiac arrest protocol updates, this is an exciting opportunity for EMS agencies across Pennsylvania to:

  1. Practice and perfect High-Performance CPR
  2. Participate in creating new training materials
  3. Improve sudden cardiac arrest response through ongoing quality improvement and best practices

Why a Contest?

When we asked agencies what would help implement the new cardiac arrest protocols, many people requested a high-quality training video. So, we are turning to you, the experts, to help create this much needed training tool.

This is your chance to show us what you’ve got. Submit a video of your best team responding to the provided cardiac arrest simulation and compete to “be the stars” as the crew in the video that will be used for statewide and national trainings. And, to further recognize your great work, we are offering exciting prizes!

Ultimately, this contest is about working to provide the best care possible and save more lives. We believe this requires practice, training, education, and quality improvement. Thank you for your participation and good luck!


The contest launches December 17, 2013. All entries must be submitted by March 30, 2014.

Who is Eligible?

  • Any lisenced or recognized EMS or QRS agencies in the state of Pennsylvania is elgibile to participate.
  • Students who are pursuing provider certifications at a licensed EMS training institute in the state of Pennsylvania can enter under their educational institute. Student entries will be judged separately in a “student category.”
  • For more details, please download the Video Contest Toolkit here and refer to the contest Rules, Terms and Conditions.

Register Here

The first step to participating is to register your team HERE.

How to Enter?

For all details on how to participate and submit your video, please download the Video Contest Toolkit here.


Grand Prize

  • All-expense paid trip to the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update (ECCU) conference held in Las Vegas, NV on June 3-6, 2014 for the winning team members
  • $1,000 towards Laerdal CPR training equipment

First Runner Up Prize

  • Catered celebration Lunch-and-Learn for the winning agency with renowned resuscitation experts (such as Dr. Lance Becker or Dr. Benjamin Abella)
  • $500 towards Laerdal CPR training equipment

Second Runner Up Prize

  • $250 towards Laerdal CPR training equipment

*All winning teams will receive special recognition from HeartRescue Project and the Department of Health and will be showcased as the star crews in training videos used in state and national education settings.

*Student teams will compete in a separate student category. Prizes (TBA) for top student teams will be awarded.

*Prizes subject to change. This contest does not endorse any company or product. Prizes were funded in part by unrestricted donations that are in no way related to judging criteria.

Rules, Terms, Conditions

For details on the contest rules and terms, please download the Video Contest Toolkit here.


For additional materials to assist your organization, please click here to download a folder that includes:

  • Articles on the science behind High-Performance CPR
  • Pit Crew Models
  • Pit Crew CPR Team Evaluation
  • Pit Crew CPR Time Evaluation
  • Pennsylvania state protocols 3031A and 331A
  • Cardiac arrest checklist
  • NREMT Team Attributes


Please contact us with your questions! Email: or call Nina Li at 215.746.4631 or Julie Griff at 215.746.4665.

Special Thanks

  • Nathan Harig and Cumberland Goodwill EMS
  • Our HeartRescue Project partners in Arizona, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, North Carolina, and AMR
  • The PA Department of Health Bureau of EMS
  • Laerdal Medical
  • The Medtronic Foundation

Good luck with your entry and thank you for your participation!

High Functioning CPR Teams: Pennsylvania Resuscitation Academy, Train- the-Trainer, and Provider Training

The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project Resuscitation Academy is an intensive training course designed to assist EMS managers and directors in identifying and implementing strategies to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival in their communities. The Academy is produced in partnership with the Pennsylvania Bureau of EMS and local Regional EMS Councils, and is geared towards EMS directors, medical directors, and providers. Modeled after the leading Seattle Resuscitation Academy, the PA HeartRescue Project has adapted the course for Pennsylvania and is offering it as either a one or two-day course on an ongoing basis across the state.

Interactive lectures, hands-on simulation exercises, live demonstrations, and break-out discussions enable participants to:

  • Learn the science behind resuscitation and therapeutic hypothermia and how it can improve patient outcomes
  • Implement "High Performance" CPR techniques and how this updated teamwork approach will change the way providers respond to cardiac arrest
  • Develop an action plan for EMS response to cardiac arrest
  • Establish and improve cardiac arrest data integrity through the CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) registry
  • Understand how dispatcher-assisted CPR improves bystander response
  • Establish community outreach programs to educate bystanders in CPR and AED use
Resuscitation Academy

As a follow up to the Resuscitation Academy, we also offer a Train-the-Trainer Academy, to further prepare EMS services to operate as High Functioning EMS Agencies.

Tuition is free and continuing education credits are provided upon completion of the course. For more information on upcoming Resuscitation Academies in Pennsylvania, including attending or hosting one in your region, please contact Julie Griff at or 215-746-4665.


The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health have created a number of materials and templates to be used for Train-the-Trainer and Provder Training sessions in support of the statewide EMS protocols for cardiac arrest.These are free and downloadable, and we encourage EMS agencies to download and print copies as needed.To make it easy, we have compiled everything you need for each type of training into a master folder, which you can download below. Or, if you just need one document, we have listed each individual item as well.

Train-the-Trainer Materials

Click here to download the COMPLETE PACKET (zipped folder) of Train-the-Trainer materials.

Or, click the titles below to download each item separately:

For Facilitator:

Provider Training Materials

Click here to download the COMPLETE PACKET (zipped folder) of Provider Training materials.

Or, click the titles below to download each item separately:

For Facilitator:

Resuscitation Academy Materials

Resuscitation Academy

Community Outreach

Community Outreach

Did you know?

  • Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the US, killing more than 350,000 Americans each year, which is more than lung, breast and prostate cancer and AIDS combined
  • The average national survival rate is only 8% and has not improved in 30 years
  • Success begins with public bystanders! Effective bystander CPR can double or triple the chance of survival

Community Outreach

Community education is an important component of the PA HeartRescue Project mission. We work in partnership with key community allies, including EMS, schools, government leaders, health educators, and community groups to raise public awareness on sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). We recognize bystander action as a critical part of improving survival from SCA, and seek to educate Pennsylvanians on how to recognize and respond to sudden cardiac arrest.

Our programs promote these 3 easy steps to help save a life:

If you see someone collapse suddenly, check if the victim is responsive.

  1. Call 911 for emergency assistance if no response.
  2. Start chest compressions immediately
    • Put person on their back
    • Put the heel of your hand on the center of their chest put your other hand on top of the first
    • With your arms straight, push down hard and fast
    • Keep pushing until additional help arrives
  3. Send someone to find an AED (automated external defibrillator) if one is available. Use the AED as soon as it arrives.
    • Remove the victim's shirt, turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts
    • Continue chest compressions after shocking the victim with the AED

To practice these steps, visit the HeartRescue Project Save-A-Life Simulator

For more information about SCA, including education videos, training programs, and resources, please visit the HeartRescue Project Community Resource Tips and Tools.

Community Outreach

Lend a Hand Save a Life CPR Challenge

Lend a Hand Save a Life CPR Challenge

Be a CPR champion in your community. Help us train 1,000,000 people in Pennsylvania!

Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project, the Pennsylvania Bureau of EMS, and the American Heart Association are partnering in a statewide campaign to increase public awareness of cardiac arrest and teach bystander CPR in the community. The campaign is a call to action to EMS providers, health educators, and community leaders to teach the general public about sudden cardiac arrest and train 1,000,000 people across Pennsylvania in hands-only CPR by the end of February 2014.

Click here for more information on the Challenge and to download our CPR Event Resource Packet.

To track your training event numbers and follow progress towards our goal, please visit

Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project has banners, hands-only CPR instruction wallet cards, and resource packets to help spread the word about SCA and CPR. For materials, or questions about how to get involved in community outreach, please contact Julie Griff at 215-746-4665 or

Community Grants

The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project offers community grants to organizations, schools, EMS agencies or regions, and hospitals who are working to improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest throughout Pennsylvania. We invite proposals for programs that support the HeartRescue Project's overall goals to:

  • Improve quality of care for SCA patients at the community, pre-hospital, and hospital level
  • Establish, share, and apply best practices in a community or region
  • Improve measurement of SCA performance and outcomes
  • Foster collaboration among community and advocacy groups, schools, EMS, government, and hospitals

For more information on criteria, deadlines, and the application process, please click here.

Questions or comments can be directed to:
Julie Griff, Community Education Coordinator: or 215-746-4665.

In the News


Saving Lives in Pennsylvania: HeartRescue Project partners with state for innovative approach to improving SCA survival rates EMS State of the Science 2012 Issue

York Dispatch

CPR Demo Aims to Keep People Stayin' Alive January 2013

The Morning Call

Groups Want to Get 250,000 Pennsylvanians Trained in CPR January 2013


State Launches Hands-Only CPR Campaign January 2013

Selected Publications

Chest Compression Alone Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Is Associated With Better Long-Term Survival Compared with Standard Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation; Florence Dumas, Thomas D. Rea, Carol Fahrenbruch, Marten Rosenqvist, Jonas Faxen, Leif Svennson, Mickey S. Eisenberg and Katarina Boym; Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association, December 10, 2012

Automated External Defibrillator Availability and CPR Training Among State Police Agencies in the United States, Lior M. Hirsch, BS; Sarah K. Wallace, AB; Marion Leary, BSN, RN; Kathryn D. Tucker, BA; Lance B. Becker, MD; Benjamin S. Abella, MD, MPhil; Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 60, No I: July 2012

Implementation Strategies for Improving Survival After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in the United States: Consensus Recommendations From the 2009 American Heart Association Cardiac Arrest Survival Summit Robert W. Neumar; Janice M. Barnhart; Robert A. Berg; Paul S. Chan; Romergryko, G. Geocadin; Russell V. Luepker; L. Kristin Newby; Michael R. Sayre; Graham Nichol; Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association, May 16, 2011

Small Area Variations in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: Does the Neighborhood Matter? Comilla Sasson, MD, MS; Carla C. Keirns, MD, PhD, MS; Dylan Smith, PhD; Michael Sayre, MD; Michelle Macy, MD, MS; William Meurer, MD; Bryan F. McNally, MD, MPH; Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH; and Theodore J. Iwashyna, MD, PhD,for the CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) Study Group; Annals of Internal Medicine Volume 153 · Number 1, July 2010

Emergency Medical Service Dispatch Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Prearrival Instructions to Improve Survival From Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association; E. Brooke Lerner, PhD, Chair; Thomas D. Rea, MD, MPH; Bentley J. Bobrow, MD; Joe E. Acker III, EMT-P, MPH; Robert A. Berg, MD, FAHA; Steven C. Brooks, MD, MHSc, FRCPC; David C. Cone, MD; Marc Gay, BA, EMT-P; Lana M. Gent, PhD; Greg Mears, MD, FACEP; Vinay M. Nadkarni, MD, FAHA; Robert E. O'Connor, MD, MPH, FAHA; Jerald Potts, PhD; Michael R. Sayre, MD, FAHA; Robert A. Swor, DO; Andrew H. Travers, MD, MSc, FRCPC Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association, January 31, 2012



    Lance B. Becker, M.D.

    Lance B. Becker, M.D.
    Professor of Emergency Medicine
    Director of the Center for Resuscitation Science

    Benjamin S. Abella, M.D., MPhil, FACEP

    Benjamin S. Abella, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
    Clinical Research Director of the Center for Resuscitation Science

    Marion Leary, BSN, RNMarion Leary, BSN, RN
    Assistant Director of Clinical Research
    Julie E. Griff

    Julie E. Griff
    Community Education Coordinator

    Nina Li

    Nina Li
    CARES Database Coordinator

    Elizabeth Heisler

    Elizabeth Heisler
    Program Coordinator