Students from the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Sigma Sigma Phi Honors Fraternity trained 329 Las Crucens in life-saving CPR as part of the National Texas Two-Step CPR: Save a Life Campaign 2019. This is the second year the medical students have participated in the event, setting up shop at the Mesilla Valley Mall to interact with local community members of all ages.

“Last year, the Las Cruces site was one of the most successful sites in the country. We bought a heart mascot costume and it helped gain a lot of attention and attracted participants to our event,” explained third year student Joya Singh. “I was invited to join the Texas Two Step National Board of Directors this year and suggested other sites also purchase the costume, which led to increased participation across the board for all sites. Las Cruces and Albuquerque both had successful events this year and I hope BCOM can continue to teach members of our community hands-only CPR in the future.”

This annual event is put on by national non-profits HealthCorps and First Impact. It was created by a group of medical students and the Texas College of Emergency Physicians in 2016 after recognizing the need to train more Texans in lifesaving, hands-only CPR. From February 8th to February 10th, free hands-only CPR training was offered at public sites in 16 states across the nation including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oklahoma.

During 5-minute training sessions, participants learn how to act quickly in the event of cardiac emergencies by following two easy steps: 1) Call 911 and 2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives. “In an emergency situation, a family member, colleague, or neighbor may be your first responder. Our goal is to empower community members with the skills and confidence to act if they witness a sudden cardiac arrest,” said Texas-Two Step CPR board member and Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at FIU student Lena Carleton.

HealthCorps President Michelle Bouchard said, “Since heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, we knew it was important to help the medical students and our great partners bring this lifesaving event to our communities again this year. We are so proud of how the initiative has continued to grow from year to year.”

Singh said she is proud that, as a fairly new school, BCOM has managed to participate in the national event with comparable success to other more established schools. Event leader Sidra Shah added, “The most memorable part of this event was the amount of younger kids we trained. They were super excited to learn about CPR and I am happy we got to train them!”

Sigma Sigma Phi plans to continue hosting the event in Las Cruces every February and they hope to expand to the school’s five regional training hubs throughout New Mexico, West Texas, and Arizona where BCOM medical students complete their clinical clerkships.