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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

American Heart Month: Operation Smile Trains 33,000 Students, Parents, Caregivers & Healthcare Providers in Life Support Resuscitation

The global trainings are in collaboration with the American Heart Association

Student volunteer who participated in training administers cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to stranger during public medical emergency

Press Release – Virginia Beach, VA. – February 11, 2019 – It’s a day eighteen-year-old Jack Schaeffer will never forget, “It was 2016. I was in a Starbucks in Morristown, New Jersey with my mentor when a woman experienced a medical emergency. My mentor got on the line with 9-1-1. I performed CPR on the woman – a skill I learned from participating in Hands-Only-CPR training with Operation Smile,” said Schaeffer.

Student volunteers, like Schaeffer, who take part in Hands-Only CPR training with Operation Smile, teach the skill to patients and their families while attending an Operation Smile medical mission.

Operation Smile, an international medical charity that has provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children and young adults in low-and-middle-income countries who are born with cleft condition or other facial difference, has trained 33,000 people in life support resuscitation.

“We celebrate this major milestone especially during American Heart Month, said Maimunat Alex-Adeomi, Director of Education and Training at Operation Smile. “The investment in offering life support courses enables Operation Smile to continue to provide well qualified medical volunteers to care for children around the world suffering from a cleft condition, as well as contribute to the overall local health infrastructure and its ability to effectively care for patients in countries where we work,” she added.

Operation Smile is an International Training Center with sites in nearly 30 countries. It’s an achievement reached, in part, thanks to Operation Smile’s long-standing alliance with the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives. The two organizations began their collaboration in 2003 – resulting in Operation Smile offering American Heart Association training courses in Basic Life Support, Hands-Only CPR, Pediatric Advance Life Support, Pediatric Emergency Assessment Recognition and Stabilization, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

“Cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading killer, so we’re working globally to build healthier lives,” said John Meiners, Chief of Mission-aligned Businesses at the American Heart Association. “Joining forces with organizations like Operation Smile to make our life-saving trainings available to more people around the world is essential to our mission and we are proud to have reached this milestone in collaboration with them.”

“We’re proud that about 85% of the medical volunteer positions filled on our missions last year were held by healthcare professionals from low-and-middle-income countries; a majority of them received training and education from Operation Smile,” said Alex-Adeomi.

The American Heart Association training courses are offered to parents, caregivers, healthcare providers and student volunteers like Schaeffer who says, “despite being nervous that day in Starbucks – I’m happy I had the skills to help someone in need.”

About Operation Smile: Operation Smile has provided hundreds of thousands of safe surgeries for those born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities. With more than three decades of expertise, Operation Smile creates solutions that deliver free surgery to people where it’s needed most. As one of the largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile has mobilized thousands of medical volunteers from a wide range of medical specialties from more than 80 countries. Operation Smile engages public-private partnerships to advance health care delivery, train local medical professionals to provide surgical care for patients in their communities, donate crucial medical equipment and supplies, and increase access to surgical care so that everyone living with cleft is treated. Visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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