Center for Rural Health receives funding to support cardiac care

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


Grand Forks, N.D. — The Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences has received funding from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust in the amount of $2,198,154 to support the evaluation of the cardiac-care systems in Wyoming, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Montana. These states join South Dakota and North Dakota, bringing the total states under the project umbrella to seven.

The project's director, Ralph Renger, PhD, has worked with the North Dakota Department of Health, the South Dakota Office of Rural Health, and dispatch, ambulance, and hospital services in both states to develop a strategy for evaluating the cardiac-care system. Lessons learned from work in the Dakotas will be applied to the evaluation strategy in the five additional midwestern states. The evaluation includes the use of the LUCAS 2 device, which performs CPR mechanically. The LUCAS 2 device is being placed in all ambulance and hospital services in all seven states.

The evaluation project runs through August 31, 2017. Over the next three years, the project will establish a sustainable process for the states to continually evaluate and improve how heart attack patients receive care.

"The level of cooperation from all stakeholders in the cardiac-care systems needed to successfully implement an evaluation project of this scale has been unprecedented," said Renger. "We are very fortunate to be working with such motivated and caring professionals in the health sector."

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. The Trust's Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $220 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana.