A New Orleans Project Goes National!

Changemaker Catalyst Award recipient, Jacob Hurwitz,went to the Preparedness Summit in St. Louis, MO to give a presentation on bystander training for opiod overdoses. Class of 2019, Jacob is a senior majoring in public health and emergency/security studies.

In March 2019, I traveled with a colleague at the City of New Orleans Health Department to St. Louis to present one of our ongoing projects at the NACCHO Preparedness Summit — the premier healthcare preparedness conference in the country! This project, called the Bystander Response Series, began as a program I developed with NOHD while completing a summer internship for my second-tier service learning. Working with physicians at University Medical Center and New Orleans EMS, we built and launched a naloxone training course that provides rapid education to the public about how to prevent and respond to opioid overdoses — one of the largest health epidemics facing communities across the nation. Since the initial overdose module, we have expanded the program to teach hands-only CPR and basic first aid for bleeding emergencies. Since the inception of this project, NOHD has trained nearly 1,500 New Orleanians in these life-saving skills.hurwitz

Because the issues we set out to tackle are, by no means, unique to New Orleans, the Prep Summit invited Sarah and me to speak about the program’s development at the 2019 conference. After a week full of sessions, ranging from disease outbreak response tales to a healthcare-how-to-guide for preparing for the International Equestrian Games (who knew?), Sarah and I presented! Speaking to a crowd full of public health professionals from across North America, we offered insight into the unique challenges New Orleans faces with drug overdose, violence, and emergency medical care. We also explained what the course teaches to participates, how we developed the curriculum, and where we’re headed with the program in the future!

Since returning from St. Louis, I have continued to work on the Bystander Response Series, and a collection of other projects, with NOHD and the Louisiana Department of Health. We even presented our program at another national conference in June and parishes across the South are beginning to teach the same course we launched!