Meet Alex Sorgini

The American Heart Association Interns of Impact program was created so college students could grow experience in a top non-profit health organization. Our interns help support the organization across many departments. Princeton student, Alex Sorgini was an intern with our advocacy department in Philadelphia this summer. Here, Alex talks about how being an Intern of Impact supported his goals of advancing a world of longer, healthier lives.

hero_image_alt_text===Alex Sorgini
thumbnail_alt_text===Alex Sorgini

“The mission of the American Heart Association is deeply personal to me after my friend, classmate, and teammate suddenly passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition in my senior year of high school. This summer, I was honored to serve as an Advocacy and Community Health Intern with the Philadelphia team of the American Heart Association with the goal of promoting public health policy in the Greater Philadelphia region. During my internship, I researched environmental cardiology, cardiac emergency response plans for schools, food security, youth tobacco use, and telecommunicator CPR. As a resident of Montgomery County, these are policies and programs that could help my friends and neighbors.

On both national and individual levels, heart health has wide-ranging consequences. For this complex issue, though, progress requires coordination across a variety of stakeholders, from elected officials and community leaders to medical professionals and corporations. Even just one of these groups can be quite extensive. For instance, working with elected officials could entail navigating state legislatures, city councils, county boards of commissioners, township boards of supervisors, and school boards. However, with heart disease as the leading national cause of death, even small changes can make a big impact.

One of my main projects this summer centered on telecommunicator CPR, or T-CPR. T-CPR involves a 911 dispatcher instructing an untrained bystander through the steps of CPR while they wait for emergency medical services personnel to arrive. By itself, bystander CPR can be an amazing tool that improves outcomes and saves lives for those experiencing out of hospital cardiac arrests. While the American Heart Association focuses on increasing CPR training, T-CPR can help to fill in the gap in the instances where a trained bystander is not present. As such, expanding T-CPR to all the counties in the Greater Philadelphia region is a priority and I researched the personnel and structures of various county emergency management divisions to determine how to convince these counties to adopt T-CPR practices. While these efforts will continue at a local level, I hope national progress can also be made on this important issue. 

This summer, I have furthered my research and communication skills while learning the true value of strategic partnerships. Above all, I witnessed first-hand the power of advocacy and marshaling extensive resources for an important cause. The American Heart Association has instilled in me the belief that everyone can make a difference and that change can only happen when someone decides to make a difference. Beyond this summer, I hope to live the AHA mission and “be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.””

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