When Karl “Fritz” Disque, D.O.’07, R.Ph., was in Haiti to help provide relief after the island nation’s catastrophic earthquake in 2010, he and his team encountered a woman who went into labor while digging her family out of the rubble. The team delivered the baby by C-section and then realized a local nurse who was assisting didn’t understand the blue baby in her arms was in danger.
The realization that the nurse lacked basic training to treat the baby was a turning point for Dr. Disque, a board-certified anesthesiologist. He established the Disque Foundation in 2012 to provide free cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced life support training through its Save a Life Initiative. His goal: train one million people in medically underserved areas around the world by the end of 2019.
In January 2019, the foundation announced it had reached that goal one year early. Now it is working toward a new goal: train 10 million individuals by 2025.
“This is the culmination of a dream and a lifelong goal, but it is by no means an end,” he says. “If anything, I am now even more inspired to teach the next 10 million. I’m just getting started.”
The Disque Foundation is the only entity that both trains and certifies people completely free of charge. Its Save a Life Initiative is a partnership between the foundation and National Health Care Provider Solutions, which Dr. Disque also founded to offer online medical certification.
Disque Foundation teams have traveled across North America, Africa, Malaysia and the Philippines. In addition to providing CPR instruction, the foundation partners with groups across the country and around the world to train health care professionals in pediatric advanced life support and advanced cardiac life support. It also offers training to the public via free webinars on the foundation’s website.
A key part of the Disque Foundation’s success and mission is training what it calls “super-users.” These highly trained individuals are equipped with advanced skills and go on to train others in their home communities. The super-user model expands the Disque Foundation’s work exponentially.
Alphipany Roque, a Disque Foundation super-user from city of Navotas, Philippines, has used his super-user status to train more than 800 people in his community.
“The CPR training I got from the Disque team is a whole new avenue for helping people here. My new skills have multiplied many times over,” he says.
“We needed to improve our standard of emergency care here,” says Sheila Muchiri, a Disque Foundation super-user and medical officer at Thika Level 5 Hospital in Thika, Kenya. “Thanks to the Disque team’s training, we are now better able to recognize specific emergencies and can administer more effective treatments. Lives have been saved.”