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North Colorado Medical Center earns HeartCaring award


GREELEY, Colo. (June 6, 2013) – The CardioVascular Institute at North Colorado Medical Center has received the 2013 Heart of the Community Award from the Larry King Cardiac Foundation and Spirit of Women for its work on the Heart Safe City. This Greeley initiative is done in partnership with the City of Greeley, Greeley Fire Department, NCMC Foundation and Banner NCMC Paramedic Services.

According to the announcement from HeartCaring, a division of the nationwide Spirit of Women program, the panel of judges selected NCMC’s submission for the award because “the Heart Safe City initiative represents the spirit of the award, and exemplifies lives saved, heroism, and innovation in outreach.”

Heather Schminke, quality specialist and coordinator for the HeartCaring program at NCMC, accepted the award during the 9th Annual HeartCaring Conference on May 1.

The Heart Safe City initiative, including the CardioVascular Institute at NCMC in conjunction with the NCMC Foundation, NCMC Paramedic Services, Greeley Fire Department, and City of Greeley, is a community-wide effort to educate residents on the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest. Identifying symptoms, learning how to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, are major components. By achieving those goals, the city will earn the Heart Safe City designation as presented by the CardioVascular Institute to the City of Greeley.

Sudden cardiac arrest – a condition in which the heartbeat stops abruptly and unexpectedly -- is a leading cause of death in the United States claiming more than 325,000 lives annually. Brain death begins to occur 4-6 minutes after cardiac arrest. Chances of survival drop by 7-10 percent with every minute that passes without CPR and the use of and AED.  Ninety-five percent of deaths from sudden cardiac arrest occur before a victim reaches the hospital. They are often witnessed by a family member, friends or coworker.

If more people were educated in CPR and AEDs were more widely available in the community, the survival rates could be as high as 45 percent.

The Heart Safe City initiative calls for placement of AEDs in public gathering spots throughout the city including the airport, shopping centers, swimming pools and schools. Additionally, the community residents must have access to training on the AEDs as well as CPR. The goal is to have AEDs in all Greeley schools before the start of the 2013-14 school year. To date, the program has purchased 20 units and has 18 left to go. Five additional AEDs have been placed in community buildings.

Schminke has been instrumental in coordinating the application for this award, which further raises awareness of the Heart Safe City initiative.

About HeartCaring and Spirit of Women
HeartCaring is an innovative, comprehensive program focused on working with physicians and patients to focus on both gender-disparities in cardiovascular care, and on women as the primary decision makers of healthcare needs in the family.  Spirit of Women is a national network of leading hospitals dedicated to improving women's lives with innovative health and community programs.  Spirit of Women Hospitals touch the lives of millions of women each year through the presentation of educational events, consumer membership programs, annual conferences, marketing communications and grassroots efforts to improve the health and well-being of women everywhere.  Spirit of Women enables participating hospitals to focus on community needs while providing the strength of national support.  Visit

About North Colorado Medical Center
North Colorado Medical Center is a fully accredited, private, nonprofit facility licensed in Greeley, Colo., operated by Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 24 hospitals in seven states. It serves as a regional medical center offering a comprehensive scope of with community-based and specialty healthcare services for an area including southern Wyoming, western Nebraska, western Kansas and northeastern Colorado. For more information, visit

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