American Heart Association and People’s Republic of China Ministry announce new relationship to save lives by training millions in CPR

Unprecedented agreement brings together health organizations, government

June 23, 2015 Categories: Program News

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 23, 2015 – Although death rates in the United States are declining, 38 million people die annually from noncommunicable diseases (NCD) globally, with cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke) remaining the leading cause of death in the world. As part its commitment to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke around the world, the American Heart Association (AHA) today signed a formal memorandum of understanding with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to advance CPR training and cardiovascular science sharing in the world’s most populous country. This effort marks a significant step forward in advancing the World Health Assembly’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases by 2025.

“The American Heart Association has been working internationally for decades to help save and improve more lives around the world and ensure equitable health for all,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “We are so honored to sign this new cooperative agreement with the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, which represents a momentous step for global health. Working together across borders, we can create a world of lifesavers, a world where everyone can live a healthier, longer life.”

The agreement intends to accelerate cooperation in three areas important to reducing the global burden of NCD.

  • CPR training and awareness initiatives to train people how to use CPR to save the life of someone in cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. With cardiac arrest, seconds count; immediate CPR by someone nearby can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

  • Physician exchange to expand opportunities to convene researchers, healthcare providers, epidemiologists and public health specialists from the United States and the People’s Republic of China. The joint purpose is to share ideas, develop fellowship and advance programs that will improve systems of care, patient outcomes and overall health and wellness in both countries.

  • Cardiovascular science engagement opportunities will expand AHA’s global science-sharing efforts through its annual meetings and the joint science sessions at other countries’ cardiology societies and their local science meetings to regularly share the best in science with leading scientists, researchers, practitioners from the PRC and the United States.

“The American Heart Association is the only organization that provides multi-level first aid, CPR and advanced lifesaving training in more than 100 countries. Our resuscitation leadership combined with our experience in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease makes us uniquely positioned to meet this health challenge working with MOST,” said Douglas Boyle, volunteer chairman of the American Heart Association International Committee. “From expanding science-sharing opportunities that can help improve systems of care, patient outcomes and health and wellness, to CPR initiatives in China – this cooperative agreement offers another example of how the AHA is working to significantly impact global health and further our efforts to create a world of lifesavers,” said Boyle. 

NCDs are China’s Number One Health Threat

  • NCDs like diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, and cancer, kill more people globally and in China than infectious diseases.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs account for 70 percent of all deaths globally; however, NCDs are estimated to account for 87 percent of total deaths in China.

  • Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths and cardiovascular diseases specifically account for 45 percent of total deaths in China.

  • The population is aging in China, the world’s most populous country, and NCDs are becoming more common.

  • Growing urbanization is one of the socioeconomic risks for NCDs. China’s urban population of more than 680 million people outnumbered its rural population for the first time in January, 2012.

  • According to the WHO in 2011, 47 percent of adult males smoked tobacco in China.

“The knowledge to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke in one country can benefit people in many other countries. By training more people in CPR, more lives can be saved. More than 16 million people are trained in AHA First Aid, CPR or Advanced Life Support programs each year. Even if just a small percentage of the Chinese population learns CPR, that would result in millions more lifesavers in the world, who are prepared and ready to act in a cardiac arrest emergency,” said Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, past president of the American Heart Association and director of the Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Tomaselli is one of the AHA volunteer representatives for the U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE).

The memorandum of understanding agreement was signed at a celebratory event in Washington, D.C. after the U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE). With the signing of the MOU, the AHA and MOST will now work together to create specific implementation plans for each of the three areas of the cooperative agreement.

About the American Heart Association 

The American Heart Association is a global leader in the discovery and dissemination of heart disease and stroke science, and is widely known and highly respected as one of the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing, treating and defeating cardiovascular diseases and stroke. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. To learn more about the AHA, visit or call +1-800-242-8721, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

At this time, our call center only supports English inquiries. To learn more about the American Heart Association’s emergency cardiovascular care programs and other efforts around the world, visit


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