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Together, Penn Medicine and SHIELD Focus on the Community… and the Future

SHIELD at Sim Ctr 004What do the songs “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees and “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen have in common? And – what could they possibly have to do with health care or saving lives? Well, as it so happens, both songs have a steady rhythm of 100 beats per minute. The “hands only” method of CPR, as now set forth by the American Heart Association, requires continuous chest compressions of 100 per minute. This means both tunes can provide the perfect soundtrack for administering life-saving CPR. This was just one of many things a dozen students from the William L. Sayre High School learned at a cardiopulmonary resuscitation class hosted for free by Penn Medicine at its Clinical Simulation Center.

It should be noted here that the Lead CPR Instructor Chet Zaremski, did not recommend singing “Another One Bites the Dust” aloud as that’s a sure way to upset cardiac arrest victims and bystanders alike.

On a clear February Saturday morning, the students were first given a tour of Penn’s Simulation Center and then received detailed CPR instruction and guidance from Zaremski and Gregg Lipschik, MD, director of Life Support Training and Special Programs at the Clinical Simulation Center. Students, each equipped with his or her own resuscitation mannequin and equipment, learned the complete process of CPR, including how to: identify if a person is in cardiac arrest; perform “hands only” CPR compressions; perform compressions with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation – with a mask and without; and use an Automated External Defibrillator.

SHIELD at Sim Ctr 003

The Penn Medicine Clinical Simulation Center, located at Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse, provides training to physicians, students, and health care professionals from all across the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the Perelman School of Medicine, neighboring institutions and the global health care field to continually improve patient safety and satisfaction with increased efficiency. The Center is equipped with state-of-the-art medical simulation technology all housed in a 22,000 square foot facility that includes human patient simulators set in realistic hospital setting ideal for both team and individual training.

The class came to the “Sim Center” (as it’s affectionately referred to throughout Penn Medicine) as a result of the Sayre Health Initiatives, Education and Leadership Development (SHIELD) program.

Developed in the fall of 2011, SHIELD is a health professions education program developed through collaboration between the Dr. Bernett L. Johnson, Jr., Sayre Health Center, the William L. Sayre High School and Penn Medicine. The mission of SHIELD is to teach high school-aged students the medical skills and knowledge necessary to obtain a medical assisting certification, provide clinical experience so they can utilize what they’ve learned and provide mentorship – all in a safe and secure environment – so students can succeed in college and obtain gainful employment. The SHIELD program is just one of a series of Penn Medicine Programs aimed preparing students for success on the path to a career in medicine.

“SHIELD and programs like it are so important because it gives students the opportunity to really understand what it means to be a health care professional,” said Kenya C. Hall, MSW, Sayre Health Center Education Director who took the CPR class with the students. “Many times, students say they want to work in health care, but have no idea what that means. We work to teach students the knowledge and skills necessary to become medical assistants by teaching and exposing them to clinical training environments through partnerships such as the one with the Penn Medicine Clinical Simulation Center and at the Dr. Bernett L. Johnson, Jr. Sayre Health Center. Through these experiences, it is my hope that students gain an understanding of what it means to be a health care professional and take that understanding and training with them into their future career whether it be a medical assistant, doctor, nurse, radiology technician, etc.”

Located at 59th and Locust Streets, the Dr. Bernett L. Johnson, Jr. Sayre Health Center brings modern health care to its surrounding West Philadelphia neighborhood, offering services provided by physicians in Penn's Department of Medicine and Community Health. The Sayre Center is unique among community health centers because of its educational and mentoring mission. Students from Sayre High School actively work in partnership with students from Penn and learn how to perform basic medical services. Through this partnership, students have the opportunity to shadow doctors and nurses and get a jump start on the pursuit of a medical professional career and learning personal and professional skills necessary for the workforce.

“I came to know and respect Dr. Bernett Johnson through his roles both as Academic Liaison with our VA hospital, and also as a dermatolopathologist through my wife's position as a dermatologist at Penn," said Dr. Lipschik, “The SHIELD program embodies Dr. Johnson's vision of providing students with experience, skills and mentorship in an environment where they can feel safe and empowered, to help steer them toward college and a career. We're proud to be able to participate.”

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