A third-year OUWB medical student has been recognized by the American Heart Association for his research into the use of potentially life-saving equipment and training in K-12 schools.

Research nets American Heart Association award for third-year OUWB med student
An image of Eddie Ford holding his award
OUWB M3 Eddie Ford received the Young Investigator Award from the American Heart Association as lead author on “Characterizing Impact of State Legislation on Cardiac Arrest Outcomes at K-12 Schools.”

A third-year OUWB medical student has been recognized by the American Heart Association for his research into the use of potentially life-saving equipment and training in K-12 schools.

M3 Eddie Ford received the Young Investigator Award from the American Heart Association as lead author on “Characterizing Impact of State Legislation on Cardiac Arrest Outcomes at K-12 Schools.”

The study sought to determine the effectiveness of state-level legislation requiring placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, along with CPR training and development of emergency response plans (EAPs).

Ford received the award in conjunction with the American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Science Symposium 2020, a virtual event held Nov. 14-16.

“The best thing about being a teacher is to have smart, motivated students, who work hard, ask good questions, and bring enthusiasm to a project such as this one,” said Robert Swor, D.O., professor of emergency medicine, OUWB.  

Ford is “extremely grateful” to receive the award.

“There were a lot of people who helped with the project so it does feel really nice to have the hard work we’ve done validated,” he said. “Hopefully, this will help bring a better spotlight on these issues.”

Researching cardiac arrest incidents

Ford worked as an EMT for two years before he began medical school, and after he earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan.

With that background in emergency medicine, Ford became interested in the research project involving cardiac arrest at K-12 schools during an internship between his first and second years in medical school.

Ford said the study was very unique and that the research team involved knew of only one other project somewhat similar in scope.

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In short, the study looked at out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates involving the use of AED and/or CPR, specifically in the K-12 setting.

Further, the study examined the existence of laws regarding AED/CPR in all 50 states, a process that required Ford to spend many hours of research in Oakland County’s law library in Pontiac.

The study found that the majority of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in K-12 settings typically involve an adult needing the life-saving techniques, though Ford notes that when a student is involved it tends to draw more attention in the media.

For example, the study looked at 314 cases of in-school cardiac arrests in 2017 and 2018 (based on data from the National EMS Information System). The average age for those cases was 46.7 and almost 80 percent were more than 18 years old.

Further, Ford said the most significant finding from the study was that there was no increase in bystander CPR or AED placement in states with legislation.

Essentially, he said, findings from the study highlight the importance of non-legislative initiatives, such as grassroots education efforts, which can be found throughout the country.

‘A great deal of heart’

Ford learned of the award when he received a congratulatory letter in October from Benjamin Abella, M.D., co-chair, Resuscitation Science Symposium and professor and vice chair for Research, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

“The Young Investigator Awards are chosen based on the priority score of your submitted abstract, which scored very highly when reviewed by our seasoned abstract reviewer group,” he wrote. 

Swor is listed as a co-author on the study along with Patrick Karabon, biostatistician, OUWB, N. Clay Mann, Ph.D., University of Utah School of Medicine, and Monica Goble, M.D., C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Swor said Ford “was extraordinarily deserving of the AHA Young Investigator award, and I was thrilled to hear that he was a recipient this year.”

“Eddie was a joy to work with on this project, put a great deal of heart into the project, and did a great job following up to bring the abstract to fruition,” said Swor.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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