The National Association of Counties presented Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller with an achievement award for her work developing CPR and AED programs for Cook County employees and expanded programs in communities.
Miller represents Cook County’s 6th District, including Homewood and Flossmoor. She was honored at the county association’s annual meeting in Colorado in July. The award honors innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.
The county association’s annual achievement awards program judged Miller’s work based on its merits and innovation.
Miller’s work led to passage of legislation that developed CPR and AED awareness and training programs for all Cook County employees. It also expanded access to “Hands-Only or Bystander” CPR/AED training programs to help reduce deaths due to cardiac arrest or heart attack in the workplace and at home.
“I am honored that the National Association of Counties has recognized our work to ensure Cook County employees and residents are prepared to intervene with life-saving techniques in the event of a cardiac emergency,” Miller said. “Education and training efforts are crucial to improving health outcomes for those who experience cardiac distress, and I’m proud that our office is playing a part in keeping our residents safe and healthy.”
After being elected in 2018, one of the first projects Miller helped implement was in-person CPR and AED training. When the pandemic put in-person training on hold, the training for “Hands-Only” CPR training went virtual in February 2021 so all new county employees could be trained. The training program was developed in conjunction with Cook County Human Resources and the American Heart Association.
Hundreds of employees along with elected officials and department heads have taken part in the “Hands-Only” CPR/AED training, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, commissioners and staff, and executives and staff from agencies of separately elected officials and Cook County Health.
This effort is particularly important for African Americans who have higher instances of heart disease but are less likely to have bystander CPR performed when suffering from cardiac arrest. Nearly half of all non-Hispanic African American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease and are 30 to 50% less likely to have bystander CPR performed than white adults. Having CPR initiated by a bystander when someone is suffering from cardiac arrest can almost double the chances of survival, Miller said.