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Making AEDs Accessible, Approachable, and Easy to Spot

AedIf someone collapsed and stopped breathing in a public place, you might know to start CPR but would you know where to find an automated external defibrillator (AED)? Thanks to a nationwide contest launched by Penn researchers and designers, the answer to this may soon be “yes.”

The Penn Defibrillator Design Challenge aims to draw attention to AEDs and educate the public about their use through engaging artwork in the space immediately surrounding the devices. “Most emergencies happen when patients are at home or out in public, and we all must depend on lay bystanders to help,” said Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, of Emergency Medicine and director of the Challenge. “We believe that by incorporating artwork into important public health messages, we will make an indelible impression on the viewer so that they will be able to identify AEDs in all public locations and feel empowered to use them in an emergency.”

The new initiative builds on the success of the 2012 MyHeartMap Challenge, which utilized crowdsourcing tactics to help locate over 1,500 AEDs across the city of Philadelphia. Now, Penn’s Social Media and Health Innovation Lab, led by Merchant, is continuing to promote the public’s awareness and knowledge about lifesaving AEDs in public locations.

The nationwide contest, which was launched with an inaugural design at 30th Street Station, allows the public to create, submit, and vote on virtual designs for AED artwork. The design at the station was created by a team led by Orkan Telhan, PhD, of Penn's Department of Fine Arts.

Click here to learn more about the online contest. Entries will be accepted through April.

Photo caption: Helping to kick off the opening of the Penn Defibrillator Design Challenge were (l. to r.) Mariell Jessup, MD, of Cardiovascular Medicine; Ben Abella, MD, of Emergency Medicine; Raina Merchant; and Orkan Telhan.


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