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Heart foundation teams with Chestatee High School
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‘Cardiac Physiology and Pathophysiology: How the Heart Works and Why It Stops.’

What: Professional learning opportunity

When: Today

Where: Chestatee High School, 3005 Sardis Road, Gainesville

Who: Health science instructors from all Hall County schools

More info: North Georgia Heart Foundation, 678-928-3328;;

There’s a lesson in heart health available not only for high school students, but for teachers as well.

The North Georgia Heart Foundation paired with Chestatee High School to bring educational programming to the area. The foundation held a session in December at the school and will hold another today.

Chestatee Principal Suzanne Jarrard called the partnership with the foundation “invaluable.”

“It has allowed us to train our students and staff about the benefits of cardiac wellness as well as how to perform hands-only CPR,” Jarrard said. “In today’s culture, we are often so busy with ‘life’ that our eating habits often involve unhealthy choices such as fast food. ... With the education on the effects of these choices as well as on how to actually perform hands-only CPR, our partnership with the NGHF literally is saving lives.”

The December session at the school included a health fair exclusively for Chestatee staff. It began with a minilecture on heart health from George Ordway, foundation board chairman, and also included visits from vendors in the community.

“One thing I’m most proud of is we had several stations managed by our own health care students,” Jarrard said. “So we had our own students taking the blood pressure of our faculty, doing glucose checks, calculating the body mass index. So that was really cool to see our own students conducting those services.”

The North Georgia Heart Foundation has three aims: research, hope and education.

Ordway, who is spearheading the foundation’s educational efforts, said educational efforts are vital to the mission of eradicating cardiovascular disease.

“By targeting and providing education to the teachers and staff, we can not only help improve their personal cardiovascular health, but we can offer knowledge which they can incorporate into their classroom activities and thus multiply our efforts and impact by sharing information with their students,” Ordway said in a news release.

The foundation has hosted more than six CPR training events through local schools and businesses since it launched last fall. It’s reached more than 950 students and community members in just a few months.

The session today at Chestatee is a professional learning opportunity titled “Cardiac Physiology and Pathophysiology: How the Heart Works and Why It Stops.”

“We have invited our specialty teachers, so our teachers who teach health, health care and life sciences,” Jarrard said. “They will attend an hour-and-a-half symposium that goes a little more in depth into the matter of the heart and specific, scientific heart-related matters for those folks who teach about the heart.”

Today’s session is also open to health sciences instructors from all other Hall County high schools, Jarrard said.

The partnership with the foundation is in line with one of Chestatee’s goals, which is to offer additional pathways toward a health care profession for students. The school already offers an athletic training course, the only one of its kind in the county, and school officials aim to add courses in public safety and emergency management training.

“We are working to establish a health care education hub within the county,” Jarrard said. “So we are looking to expand our health care offers here at Chestatee High School. This partnership seems like a perfect fit for that mission.”

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