Student-Led Nonprofit Honored for Public SafetySeptember 3, 2021
The Student Docs for Shocks nonprofit works to install AEDs in public spaces as well
as raise awareness on sudden cardiac arrest. This photo was taken prior to mask mandates.
Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris honored four PCOM Georgia third year medical students, along with their not-for-profit organization, for their
commitment to community public safety at a recent Duluth, Georgia, city council meeting.
Group members are the founders of Student Docs for Shocks, an organization that works
to increase survival for citizens who experience out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest
The organization accomplishes its mission through public awareness, cardiopulmonary
resuscitation and automated external defibrillator (AED) training, and the donation
and placement of public access defibrillators in gathering areas.
To date, AED donations and placements have been made on Main Street in Helen, Georgia,
in the Duluth Festival Center and Town Green in Duluth, Georgia, in the Treehouse
Learning Center in Belle Glade, Florida, and at The Works in the upper Westside of
In addition, the group will participate in Suwanee Fest on September 18 and 19 with
an educational booth, CPR demonstrations and instruction, and an AED raffle fundraiser
in which the winner could either use the device personally or donate it for use in
a public place.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) student Chris Griesser (DO ’23), a former paramedic in Philadelphia prior to being
accepted to medical school at PCOM Georgia, was the instigator of the Georgia not-for-profit
organization. He serves on the board of a Philadelphia area-based nonprofit known
as Aidan’s Heart Foundation, which he says is “like-minded, but more robust with their
In forming the organization, Griesser said he decided on a narrower mission based
on historically poor survival from OHCA, which occurs more than 350,000 times per
year in the United States.
He explained, “The time between OHCA onset and initial treatment with CPR and an AED
is critical to survival, specifically the first three to four minutes. If an OHCA
victim is not treated during that time, the chance of survival is extremely low.”
He added, “Survival from OHCA is around 10% and stems from failure to quickly perform
CPR or use an AED as EMS, police and fire are likely not going to arrive in that timeframe.
We will not improve survival without the public’s help, and the public can’t help
without the proper tools. Hence, our mission.”
Co-founder Sara Lezcano (DO ’23) said that Student Docs for Shocks not only benefits
the community, but also benefits medical students.
“Many medical students are fresh out of undergraduate programs,” she said. The group
plans to create a framework that will attract first and second year medical students
from a cross section of medical schools. “These satellite chapters will operate autonomously,
but within the bounds of the organization’s mission,” she said.
Griesser noted that the group’s goals include providing an opportunity for each generation
of medical students to learn about volunteerism, fundraising, budgeting and prehospital
resuscitation, all while providing the means to improve cardiac arrest survival through
Student Docs for Shocks has been incorporated and registered as a nonprofit organization
with the Georgia Secretary of State and has been granted 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status
with the Internal Revenue Service.
Griesser said the founding members will serve on the Board of Directors indefinitely
to ensure the organization remains mission-driven as growth occurs.
Aside from Griesser, and Lezcano, founding members include Rex Burch (DO ’23) and
Tyler Richie (DO ’23).
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About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
For more information, contact:
Senior Public Relations Manager
Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell:
Connect with PCOM Georgia