To add to the list of health epidemics and disparities in the black community, we can turn our attention to a new issue that might just have you clutching your chest. According to a recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients suffering cardiac arrest in a low-income black neighborhood are 51 percent less likely to receive bystander-initiated CPR than those in high-income white neighborhoods.

This study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was pulled from the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival data in 29 cities. Each cased was examined then categorized by neighborhood and socioeconomic similarities based on income level. The researchers then cross analyzed the relationship between the median income and the racial composition of the neighborhood drawing the conclusion that poorer black neighborhoods yield the least likely to perform CPR.

Weighing in on this discrepancy are a number of factors including socioeconomic barriers and crime risk. “If you are struggling to make ends meet, you don’t have time to spend $45 and several hours ‘getting certified,'” Dr. Gordon Ewy, director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center told the LA Times and was not involved in the study. Additionally, in high-crime neighborhoods, bystanders may fear for their own safety and refrain from assisting a patient who has fallen ill.

Blacks who experience a cardiac arrest are more likely to be admitted to hospitals with high-mortality and suffer the worst cardiac arrest outcomes compared to whites. As a community we must take action by becoming certified in CPR and getting involved by saving each others’ lives.

The American Heart Association offers online courses as well as a search feature for finding a course in your city.

Would you get your CPR certification to help save someone’s life?


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  1. Simple yes here. Now if the nearest operational Y wasn’t so far off, it would be done deal.

  2. I have e-mailed, and facebooked this article to everyone who is friended. Because it extremely inportant for us all to know…these lessons should be free and taught in schools, for everyones benefit !!!!!!

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