OCEANSIDE — With a like-minded focus on helping all North County residents become engaged in their health, Tri-City Medical Center has spent the last three years collaborating with the American Heart Association. “We want to encourage more people to take ownership of their own heart and brain health and pursue a healthy lifestyle,” Aaron Byzak, Tri-City Medical Center’s Chief External Affairs Officer, said.
One of the American Heart Association’s goals is to ensure that your freeway exit doesn’t determine your health. “The American Heart Association envisions a North County where heart disease and stroke are a thing of the past,” Stacy Weaver, American Heart Association Executive Director, said. “Where healthy choices are equitable and accessible. We are working to make this a reality.”
“Tri-City Medical came to us to see how we could together start a program for the North County marketplace to elevate awareness around health and wellness,” Weaver said.
One of the most successful efforts the collaboration touts is training the community in hands-on CPR. “We are approaching having trained 1,000 people in bystander CPR,” Byzak said. “Early in my career, I worked in Emergency Medical Services for seven years. Often when our ambulance would arrive on a scene of a cardiac arrest, there would be 10 people standing around doing nothing. If those bystanders had been trained in CPR, some of those patients would have had a decent chance of survival. We can’t stress enough the importance of being trained in hands-only CPR.”
Another successful venture between Tri-City Medical Center and the American Heart Association has been the North County Heart & Stroke Walk, which last year attracted a little more than 2,000 participants. “Coming up on March 7, this year’s walk will be at the Carlsbad Flower Fields,” Byzak said. “We hope this new picturesque location will attract even more people. It will be right as the flowers are beginning to bloom and we are teaming up with supporters such as Legoland and Hunter Industries to promote the walk and healthy lifestyles.”
“Events like the North County Heart & Stroke Walk, the Carlsbad Street Fair, the Strawberry Festival and community-based workshops are perfect for increasing awareness about heart and brain health and the steps one can take to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke,” Weaver said. “We also want residents to celebrate their health by getting up and moving and highlight the work we are doing as part of our ongoing efforts for a healthier North County.”
Heart diseases and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of all Americans. “We work to find out what’s happening within the North County community specifically and what we can do to help our residents prevent heart disease and stroke,” Weaver said. Improving access to healthy food, blood pressure management and reducing tobacco’s toll on North County are among the goals.
“Registration for the North County Heart & Stroke Walk is free, while the knowledge you gain and the impact you will make via the dollars you raise are priceless,” Weaver said. For more information on the North County Heart & Stroke Walk at the Carlsbad Flower Fields on March 7 and to register, visit www.heart.org/NCSDHeartWalk or call (858) 410-3827.