Johns Hopkins Medicine Staff Provide CPR, Bleeding Control Training to Baltimore Community

Team hopes to reduce health disparities by equipping more people with more skills.

Bleeding control training team

Johns Hopkins Medicine staff members and community member Ellen Frost (far right) after a CPR training. Photo courtesy of Katherine Hoops

Published in Dome - Dome January/February 2024 and Community Health - Community Health Stories

When a congregant lost consciousness during a church event, New Metropolitan Baptist Church members were able to provide CPR right away, thanks to a recent training by Johns Hopkins Medicine staff.

“Everyone should be trained,” says Angela Burden, associate minister for the church. “You never know when you might be present in an emergency and be able to help. It could be lifesaving.”

According to Katherine Hoops, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the community CPR training was inspired by a New England Journal of Medicine article highlighting racial disparities in CPR. To teach people living in Baltimore CPR skills and bleeding control techniques, her team collaborated with Medicine for the Greater Good, a Johns Hopkins Medicine organization that strives to bring the hospital to the community.

“We want to reduce disparities by equipping more people with more skills,” says Hoops. “We want our community to be able to intervene in an emergency.”

Hoops says Johns Hopkins Medicine staff members provide monthly instruction to community groups. They teach people to identify when someone is nonresponsive and needs CPR. The group walks participants through the steps of calling for help and how to do chest compressions. They also teach bleeding control skills by training community members to: Verify that the scene is safe for them to intervene, find a major bleed, and decide whether to provide pressure or a tourniquet.

“I loved the simplicity of the training,” says Burden. “The trainers were kind and hands-on. They made sure you understood and felt comfortable. They were open to questions, and I really appreciated that.”

Hoops says she is inspired by the Baltimore community’s desire to help and intervene in an emergency.

“Some community members have witnessed acts of violence and didn’t yet have the skills to act,” Hoops says. “One of the most common causes of death after a major injury is bleeding. We see that community members are motivated and want to help save a life when they can.”

Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., M.H.S., co-founder and co-director of Johns Hopkins Medicine for the Greater Good, says no one knows when a heart might stop. Community CPR and bleeding control training can be the difference between life and death.

“We’ve seen a correlation between communities in areas of high violence and requests for training,” Galiatsatos says. “After a training at a local gym, the coach pulled me aside and asked if I had heard about a recent shooting. It was hard to know which one he meant. He said that a few blocks away, high schoolers had been involved in a shooting, and one of the children stumbled to the gym. Staff had to act immediately to help stop the bleeding.”

Galiatsatos says he knows firsthand how important it is to help in these situations. He says those who receive bystander support have a better chance of surviving and recovering.

“It’s something we all should be taught as adults,” Galiatsatos says. “Trauma can happen at any point and time. Everyone should learn these skills. If and when you need to do it, you’ll make a difference.”

Greg Wilkes, executive director of a local boxing organization, was at the gym when the child stumbled in after the shooting. He says a doctor was able to help then, but now, his staff is trained in CPR and bleeding control thanks to the team from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“I want my staff to be able to address any emergency event that may occur,” Wilkes says. “I want my people to feel confident enough to act. Young people are getting shot or stabbed in our neighborhood, and now we can control the bleeding to enhance the survival rate. This training properly prepares regular people to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Wilkes says the gym uses boxing as a way to give young boys and men in the community an option instead of participating in negative activities. The gym now has an automated external defibrillator, or AED, and a bleeding control kit.

“The community knows they can knock on our door, and now we have the tools to help,” Wilkes says. “With so much violence and drug abuse, there’s not a lot of hope. The Johns Hopkins Hospital is working hard to change that narrative and let people know they’re here for you. They’re committed to the community and to saving lives.”

To schedule a CPR and Bleeding Control training, email Medicine for the Greater Good at [email protected].