Started in Wisconsin in 1999 by a family whose son died from the condition, Project ADAM® helps schools nationwide implement programs to make automated external defibrillators (AEDs) readily available by preparing schools for a cardiac emergency through emergency response plans, staff CPR and AED training, student CPR education and sudden cardiac arrest awareness education.
Melody Stephens brought the program to Houston and reached out to Texas Children’s for help after her 18-year-old son, Cody, fell asleep in a recliner at home and never woke up. Doctors determined the teenager, who had recently been awarded an athletic scholarship to play college football, died from sudden cardiac arrest.
“My primary goal is to help schools to be prepared to respond appropriately to a cardiac emergency so that the victim has the best chance of survival,” Stephens said. “Texas Children’s has embraced the concept and has done everything they can to make schools safer for children with heart conditions.”
Two area schools – Bonnie Holland Elementary in the Katy Independent School District and Crosby Kindergarten in the Crosby Independent School District – have been named Heart Safe Schools through Texas Children’s Hospital’s partnership with Project ADAM®. Five more campuses are awaiting the receipt of the designation and four other schools are in the process of becoming Heart Safe.
In order to become a Heart Safe School, teachers learn about the risks of sudden cardiac arrest as well as CPR training. Texas Children’s physicians and Heart Center team members helped provide the school with the training.
“Texas Children’s Hospital believes prevention is just as important as treatment,” said Texas Children’s Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Santiago Valdes, who serves as medical director of the local Project ADAM® initiative. “We are more than happy to lend our expertise to these schools while they check items off of the required checklist needed to become a Heart Safe School.”