Collaboration brings Stop the Bleed to Seattle’s Somali community

Collaboration brings Stop the Bleed to Seattle’s Somali community

By: Administrator Date: May 24th, 2019
HIPRC Director Monica Vavilala, M.D., middle, guides a small group of Somali health professionals on how to demonstrate and explain tourniquet use.

A collaborative community outreach program, “Working toward Equity in emergencies: WE Stop the Bleed,” has launched to help keep Seattle’s Somali community safer during emergencies. Using the American College of Surgeons’ Stop the Bleed emergency bleeding control course as a starting point, leaders from the Somali Health Board, the UW Department of Surgery, Harborview Medical Center, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, and King County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are working to both improve first aid skills and build trust between the Somali community and emergency responders.

Surgery resident and HIPRC trainee Kate M Stadeli, M.D., developed the initiative in partnership with Ahmed Ali, PharmD and Anisa Ibrahim, M.D., of the Somali Health Board, with the goal of engaging both Somali community members and emergency first responders.

The first step in program development was an initial course attended by 10 Somali health professionals who became certified instructors and offered feedback on culturally adapting Stop the Bleed training. At a second training event in March, 27 community members learned about the EMS system and how to identify life-threatening bleeding injuries, use tourniquets, and pack wounds. The lecture portion was led in Somali by third-year UW medical student, Dirir Abdullahi. The hands-on portion of the course was led by teams of Somali Health Board members and King County emergency responders including firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement officers. The event concluded with collaborative discussion groups about how King County EMS can better engage with the Somali community. 

Future Somali community Stop the Bleed trainings are currently in the works.

Community members practice tourniquet technique with emergency responders at the Somali community event training in March.

Somali Health Board Executive Director Ahmed Ali, PharmD, left, engages a small group discussion about emergency response systems at a recent Stop the Bleed training for Somali community members.

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