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Project Adam

About Project Adam

Project Adam Louisiana was established in 2019 in partnership with Ochsner Children's.

The program's vision is to eradicate sudden cardiac death through school and community infrastructure development supporting prevention initiatives including Heart Safe Schools, advocacy, education and research.

Project Adam logo

Project Adam began in 1999 after the death of Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, high school student who collapsed and died while playing basketball. Adam suffered sudden cardiac arrest, in which ventricular fibrillation occurred, a condition in which the ventricles cannot pump blood into the body.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) could have saved his life.

In the early 2000s, Adam’s story along with similar sudden deaths of seemingly healthy youth launched nationwide and worldwide efforts to increase AED programs in schools.

Today, Project Adam is part of 28 affiliate organizations in 22 states across the country supporting Heart Safe School initiatives. Our program outreach has been responsible for helping save the lives of over 200 youth and adults in schools, making our mission just as critical as it was in 1999.

Our vision is to eradicate sudden cardiac death through school and community infrastructure development supporting prevention initiatives including Heart Safe Schools, advocacy, education and research.

Donate to Project Adam

A means a school has taken all the steps necessary to safeguard the health of students, including making sure AEDs are available and accessible, that there is a written plan and team of CPR and AED-trained staff ready to act in an emergency and conduct emergency response practice drills.

St. Martin Project Adam Presentation

Heart Safe Schools in the New Orleans area include:

  • St. Martin's Episcopal School
  • Benjamin Franklin High School
  • John Curtis Christian School
  • Ursuline Academy
  • Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy
  • Louise S. McGehee School

For information on how to get a Project Adam Heart Safe School Designation, reach out to your school's Ochsner athletic trainer or email

Project Adam Louisiana offers:

  • A comprehensive plan that includes simple tools to aid schools in becoming a Heart Safe School
  • A Heart Safe School checklist and school site visit to assess AED needs across the school campus
  • An American Heart Association Heart Saver and Basic Life Support certification or hands-only CPR training
  • Guidance in creating cardiac emergency teams and a written cardiac emergency response plan
  • Guided AED drills utilizing real life scenarios and AED trainers
  • Guidance for maintaining your school's AEDs
  • An annual review of your school's Cardiac Emergency Response Plan and drill
  • Incident debriefing in the case of a cardiac emergency on your school's campus

Walter Hoyt, MD
Medical Director

Jenna White, PA-C
Co-Medical Director

Amy Thibodeaux, BSN, RN
Affiliate Site Coordinator

Nichole LaBowe
Athletic Training Supervisor

Frequently Asked Questions

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating, leading to loss of circulation and loss of consciousness, with no blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. Without immediate life support measures, sudden cardiac arrest results in rapid death.

There are multiple causes of sudden cardiac arrest. The result is a terminal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, which is when the heart cannot pump efficiently due to chaotic electrical activity. However, when treated rapidly with CPR and defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED), normal heart rhythm can often be restored. Cardiac arrest preparedness can save the life of someone suffering a sudden cardiac arrest during those critical first few minutes. Every minute counts!

Study after study has demonstrated that the best chance of saving a life is within the first four minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest. Survival to hospital discharge for cardiac arrest in children ages 1 to 12 is 14.4%, and in children ages 13 to 18 it is 19.9%. Every passing minute reduces the chance of survival by 7% to 10%. Therefore, reducing time to defibrillation will improve survival by 7% to 10% per minute. Early and effective CPR has been demonstrated to double or triple the chance of sudden cardiac arrest survival.

An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is a portable electronic device which, when properly applied, automatically diagnoses potentially life-threatening heart rhythms including sudden cardiac arrest.

Modern AEDs are designed to be used by any motivated bystander, regardless of training. The devices advise the user about how to apply the device and whether to administer a shock. Some devices shock automatically if the victim has a fatal heart rhythm.

Training is important, however, particularly since almost all victims also need CPR to keep the blood circulating while the AED is being used, and to help establish a good heartbeat after the AED is used. Most of the time, the AED will advise the user to administer CPR, depending on the needs of the victim. In these cases, it is helpful to have CPR training. AEDs have been used successfully by police, firefighters, flight attendants, security guards and lay people.

Survival rates decrease by 10% with each minute of delayed defibrillation.

For a school to be cardiac emergency prepared, that means:

  • Staff, teachers, coaches and students have had CPR training.
  • The school has a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan to ensure staff can respond quickly and decisively to a cardiac arrest at school.
  • AEDs are available to provide rapid defibrillation in the event of sudden cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation, with ongoing maintenance plans and drills.
  • Drills are held regularly to enhance staff familiarity, rapid on-site communication and practiced coordination with local Emergency Medical Services
  • The school has emergency action plans for individual students known to be at risk.

  • Contact your local school board
  • Contact local community groups
  • Host fundraisers such as jean days, raffles, church service collection designated toward AED for school, etc.
  • Contact alumni for donations
  • Apply for a Firehouse Subs public safety grant
  • Set up a crowdfunding campaign through Project Adam partner GotAED. GotAED is dedicated to getting AEDs in places where kids learn and play. In minutes, your campaign will be up and you can begin notifying your network. Once you reach your goal, GotAED ships an AED and cabinet to your doorstep. If you have questions, contact Jill at

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