Take Heart America – Published in Critical Care Medicine



The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Debbie Gillquist as the first full time Executive Director for Take Heart America.

Debbie was hired in the summer of 2009 as Executive Director for Take Heart Minnesota, the first statewide initiative.  gillquist bio shotProfessionally Debbie began her career in emergency medicine as a paramedic for Minnesota’s largest Ambulance service, Allina Medical Transportation.  Throughout her employment at Allina she was promoted several times with her last position being that of Director of Clinical Services.  This position encompassed oversight of, in part, quality, risk, legal, training, employee engagement, customer service, research and participation in numerous local and national committees and programs.  She conceptualized, organized and implemented Allina’s first-ever Cardiac Care Conference for EMS.  Previous to emergency medicine, Debbie has many years of entrepreneurial experience.

In Debbie’s volunteer work she has participated in numerous boards and committees.  Some of these include The Make-A-Wish Foundation of MN, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer 3Day Walk, Homeward Bound Pet Adoption, Students Against Drunk Driving, Meals on Wheels, and youth athletics.  She is also a proud Compassion International sponsor to a lovely Guatemalan girl named Heidi.

Debbie enjoys working in a variety of environments but her primary interest lies in health care and working with others to provide methods to improve overall health and welfare.    She is passionate about her work with Take Heart having personally been touched by SCA and also having cared for many SCA victims.  She is grateful for the opportunity to work with health care professionals and others, especially SCA survivors, who share her passion for improving care and outcomes.  Debbie’s other interests include travel, photography and learning to speak Spanish.

Debbie’s experience in pre hospital medicine and other non profit organizations help make her an ideal leader of THA.  She brings passion for improving survival from SCA and dedication to help develop this organization into an example of an effective non profit medical foundation.  Welcome Debbie!


CASE STUDY: A Perfect Storm of Good Fortune

Read the incredible story of Jim Niskanen’s sudden cardiac arrest. Story provided courtesy of Physio Control, a subsidiary of Medtronic Corporation.

Minnesota Teens Survive Cardiac Arrest

Take Heart St. Cloud receives mention in a piece on Minnesota Public Radio about four teens who survived sudden cardiac arrest.

Level One Cardiac Arrest Centers

The level 1 cardiac arrest center is an innovation that not only increases hospital discharge rates after out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest but also serves as a substantial institutional profit center, according to a new study. Level 1 cardiac arrest centers are analogous to regional level 1 trauma centers. The concept is that coordinated specialized multidimensional care improves clinical outcomes in gravely sick patients. At the first level 1 cardiac arrest center, implemented at St. Cloud (Minn.) Hospital, the result has been a 50% increase in the hospital discharge rate and a net profit margin of more than $20,000 for every patient discharged alive, Dr. Keith G. Lurie reported at the annual scientific sessions of the American Heart Association.

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