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New campaign aims to empower Asian American communities with lifesaving CPR skills

(NewMediaWire) - May 15, 2024 - DALLAS — Despite strides in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, consumer research from the American Heart Association reveals only 1 in 4 Asian American individuals are confident they could correctly perform Hands-Only CPR, compared with a comparable confidence rate of more 1/3 of the general population. The same survey showed nearly 70% of Asian American adults are hesitant to perform Hands-Only CPR because they are worried they will hurt the person who has suffered a cardiac arrest. Among the general population, 57% still express this fear. To build CPR skills, knowledge, and confidence and close these gaps, the American Heart Association, the leading global voluntary health organization focused on heart and brain health and celebrating 100 years of lifesaving service, is launching the “Today You Were Ready” nationwide awareness campaign aimed at empowering Asian American communities to learn Hands-Only CPR and be ready to save a life.

The campaign launch coincides with Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage (AANHP) Month and includes community outreach to emphasize the importance of being prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency. The effort is part of the overarching American Heart Association's Nation of LifesaversTM movement, which is focused on turning bystanders into lifesavers and doubling survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest by 2030.

“Unless we share these critical public health messages, Asian American Pacific Islander communities and other historically excluded groups will remain more likely to die of sudden cardiac arrest than other groups,” said Joseph C. Wu, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA, current volunteer president of the American Heart Association, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and the Simon H. Stertzer Professor of Medicine and Radiology at Stanford School of Medicine. “The ’Today You Were Ready’ campaign will address those barriers and will provide these communities with the tools and resources they need to learn and perform Hands-Only CPR.”

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, and without quick bystander CPR, it is typically fatal. According to research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, about 72% of cardiac arrests that occur outside of a hospital happen at home. That means that if you are called on to perform CPR, it will likely be to save the life of someone you love. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency response that can help save a person’s life if their breathing or heart stops. At the forefront of resuscitation science, education, and training, the American Heart Association is the worldwide leader and publisher of the official scientific guidelines for CPR.

By showcasing the two easy steps to help save a life, the Association aims to change and break through the hesitancy barrier. Hands-Only CPR is CPR without breaths. It is for teens and adults only and is performed in two steps: 1) Call 911 and 2) push hard and fast in the center of the chest to a beat of 100- 120 beats per minute.

When it comes specifically for women, studies show that women who have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting are less likely than men to receive lifesaving CPR.[1] This gap is even larger for Asian American and Pacific Islander women.[2] According to data from the American Heart Association, these women are less likely to receive bystander CPR compared to other populations, contributing to lower survival rates. Cultural factors, language barriers and limited access to CPR education may further exacerbate these disparities. The fear of accusations of inappropriate touching or injuring the person and lack of knowledge about their state’s Good Samaritan Laws contribute to some people’s hesitance to perform CPR.[3] [4] Improving CPR awareness and accessibility within the Asian American Pacific Islander community is crucial to increasing survival rates for women experiencing cardiac emergencies.

“By inspiring our Asian American Pacific Islander community to learn Hands-Only CPR, we can improve health outcomes for Asian American women and their loved ones, especially those suffering cardiac arrest,” said Wu.

In the United States, the Asian American Pacific Islander communities and other people of underrepresented populations are at a higher risk of poor outcomes from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest than the general population, in part due to longstanding structural racism and social policies that have limited access to quality education and health care.[5][6]

Survey findings from the Association show that historically excluded populations are more likely to incorrectly believe that special training and certification are required to perform Hands-Only CPR on an adult or teen and more likely to be hesitant to perform the skill for fear of causing injury.[7] These misperceptions contribute to poor survival rates (less than 10%) from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, which affects more than 350,000 Americans annually.[8]

To learn more about the campaign or to get involved, visit

Additional Resources:

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.    

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Elizabeth Nickerson:

For Public Inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and

[9] American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Stat update 2023 (Tsao et al, Circulation. 2023;147: e93–e621) Please update to 2024 heart disease and Stroke Stats reference