Medina’s CPR class in high school inspired him to become a certified paramedic. But after a few years on the job, he developed a stress-induced seizure disorder, and his neurologist told him he should find a less stressful occupation.
The news left him feeling “defeated” at first, Medina says. But as he transitioned from being a paramedic into a CPR instructor, he got excited about teaching people of all ages and backgrounds how to save someone’s life.
Today, Medina takes particular pride in teaching CPR in high-risk Latino neighborhoods.
“That statistic shook me to the core,” he said. “I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household, and in that community, sometimes people don’t have the skills or the experience (to perform CPR), or they have language barriers that make it hard to call for help.”
Medina said he’s equally passionate about teaching CPR to young people. He’s in the process of setting up his own CPR training center geared toward youth, and he’s thrilled to see more U.S. states requiring CPR courses for high school students. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia now require CPR training to graduate high school.
“It’s exciting to see this whole new generation of people taking CPR classes. The millennials are embracing it — they really want to learn,” said Medina, who encourages his CPR students to download PulsePoint, a phone app that helps bystanders assist people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
“I try to teach them new ways of absorbing information,” he said. “I really want to empower kids at a young age and inspire them the same way that first CPR class inspired me. I want them to learn the skills so they can go out and have an impact on their community and make a difference – even if it’s only one time in their life.”