Skip to main content

MDHHS awards 256 schools MI HEARTSafe designation

For the past 10 years, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Education (MDE), American Heart Association, Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young (MAP-SCDY) have recognized schools that have taken the necessary steps to prepare for cardiac emergencies with a MI HEARTSafe designation. These schools will be recognized at an in-person and virtual ceremony at MHSAA in East Lansing Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Since the program began in 2013, 836 schools have earned this honor. This year, 256 schools are being recognized for this work during the 2022-2023 school year with 123 schools receiving this award for the first time. These are the most designations in the program’s history. With the enhanced awareness of cardiac arrests and the addition of school nurses across the state ramping up medical emergency efforts, preparation for cardiac emergencies continues to be a priority.

“Keeping our children healthy includes everything from making sure they have nutritious food to preparing for unexpected emergencies at school,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director. “Having schools prepared for cardiac emergencies can help decrease the number of tragedies and prepare school employees to have the training necessary to respond in a timely manner and avert what could be a life-threatening situation.”

To receive a MI HEARTSafe School designation, schools must have:

  • A written medical emergency response plan and team that can respond to an emergency during school hours and after-school activities and sports.
  • Current CPR/AED certification of at least 10% of staff and 50% of coaches, including 100% of head coaches and physical education staff.
  • Accessible, properly maintained and inspected AEDs with signs identifying locations.
  • Annual cardiac emergency response drills.
  • Pre-participation sports screening of all student athletes using the current physical and history form endorsed by MHSAA.

Keeping up with the MI HEARTSafe School criteria is vital for maintaining a safe environment for schools. Resources to help meet the criteria are available on the MI HEARTSafe School website. MAP-SCDY will also be hosting a virtual workshop in January to educate schools on how to become a MI HEARTSafe School where continuing education credits for nurses and school staff will be available.

“We are proud to support Michigan’s HEARTSafe schools,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Ensuring schools are prepared for sudden cardiac emergencies through planning, training and life-saving AEDs is a critical part of having safer learning environments for students, staff and the community.”

This is the program’s tenth year and nine schools have been designated as MI HEARTSafe Schools since its inception. It is encouraging and commendable to have schools continue to renew the designation every three years. A total of 614 schools are actively designated as MI HEARTSafe in the state.

A list of participating schools is available online.

For more information about the MI HEARTSafe Schools program, visit or email.

# # #

Media interested in attending this event virtually or in person should contact Chelsea Wuth.