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American Heart Association & National Association of the Deaf Expand Accessible Heart Health Resources

American Heart Association    (AHA)

February 26, 2016

Cardiovascular diseases do not discriminate, and currently account for more than 17 million deaths worldwide each year. That’s why the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) announced today that they will work together to increase heart health video resources available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  The AHA and NAD know that deaf and hard of hearing people are impacted by heart disease and stroke like everyone else, and it’s important for all people to have the right information to live healthier lives.

The AHA and NAD are collaborating to remove barriers to online content for people with disabilities.  Some of these include ensuring online video content has captioning to the maximum extent possible, and providing accommodations during live meetings and conferences for registered attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“This is about saving lives.  Our mission applies to all Americans, and is rooted in the pursuit of equitable health for all.  Ensuring our video content is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act will help us provide more people with lifesaving information and training,” said Dr. Mark Creager, President of the American Heart Association. 

“With this collaboration, 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the USA now have equal access to life-saving information and resources that will benefit all of society,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, NAD CEO. “The NAD recognizes the valuable work of the AHA and applauds their efforts to be fully inclusive.” 

In addition to preventive health education, it’s also important for all people, including those with disabilities, to learn about cardiac arrest and the lifesaving skills needed to help save lives through CPR and AED training.  Over 326,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually. Despite advances in resuscitation science, survival rates are only about 10 percent. Bystander CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.  AHA and NAD’s efforts to increase accessible resources will ensure more people can learn CPR and first aid, as well as advocate or participate in health initiatives, whether as healthcare professionals or bystanders.

The AHA is aligned with the NAD’s advocacy under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws that help ensure people with disabilities have access to the same content as everyone else.  The AHA’s “Digital Engagement” initiative extended those efforts into the online space to reach more people who need information on cardiovascular disease and stroke treatment and prevention. Additionally, the AHA’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care division is always looking for ways to improve its training solutions in CPR, first aid and advanced cardiovascular care.

“For a number of years, the AHA has had a policy of non-discrimination in all of our programs” said Dr. Creager. “We want our information and programs to be accessible by as many as possible.  Not only does it align with our values and policies as an organization, but it’s just the right thing to do. We’re excited to make this happen.”


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