Who we are

Parent Heart Watch (PHW) is the only national advocacy organization focused solely on protecting youth from sudden cardiac arrest. PHW is comprised of parents and other advocates who have been personally touched by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) or sudden cardiac death (SCD) and who now put their time and effort into preventing SCA/SCD in the young throughout their community.

This union has been the inspiration for groundbreaking research studies to fill the critical void of data on youth lost to SCA, as well as important collaborations and coalitions that advance prevention. Our program drives the national dialogue on youth SCA/SCD prevention, with PHW  continually working to motivate education, sports, medical and legislative communities to address a syndrome The Wall Street Journal has called “one of medicine’s most catastrophic and little-understood events.”

PHW members currently run 111 programs in 39 states, focusing on primary prevention of SCA/SCD through early detection and/or being prepared in case of a cardiac emergency. These programs partner with medical champions to offer free or affordable youth cardiac screenings with an electrocardiogram (ECG); advocate for emergency preparedness by placing automated external defibrillators (AEDs); teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED use; and support the development of cardiac emergency response plans wherever youth congregate. Together our national, regional and community prevention efforts impact hundreds of thousands of youth, parents, educators, athletic directors, coaches and allied health professionals. PHW also advocates on local, state and federal levels for SCA prevention legislation, and for a National Registry for SCA in youth reporting.

Parent Heart Watch is a 501(c)3 non-profit incorporated in 2005.

Our vision

Our vision is to eliminate preventable deaths and disabilities from SCA in youth by 2030.


Parent Heart Watch is the national voice protecting youth from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and preventable Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). Parent Heart Watch leads and empowers others by sharing information, educating and advocating for change.


Parent Heart Watch was founded by four mothers who had lost a seemingly healthy child to sudden cardiac arrest. They came together from different parts of the country, to honor their children’s memory and create a national organization dedicated to protecting youth from sudden cardiac arrest. The Medtronic Foundation provided a generous grant to support the inaugural meeting of the organization in Las Vegas and provide educational materials for its members.

For more than a decade, Parent Heart Watch has continued to tell the true stories of the devastation Sudden Cardiac Arrest has on our youth, as well as stories of survivors who are alive because of primary or secondary prevention strategies.

PHW was instrumental in launching the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Sudden Death in the Young Registry — the first federal effort to document and evaluate SCA in youth — and is one of only 11 members on its national advisory committee. PHW was also represented on the American Heart Association Cardiac Emergency Response Plan Task Force; the Citizen CPR Foundation/SCA in Youth Task Force; the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention; the Institute of Medicine’s Workshop on Strategies to Improve
Cardiac Arrest Survival; and the Cardiac Safety Research Consortium, which convenes an annual Think Tank working group for harvesting data from PHW member heart screenings to develop a “rational, reliable and sustainable national healthcare resource.”


Parent Heart Watch is a dynamic and transformative platform that cultivates courageous sudden cardiac arrest prevention champions across the country who work to advance primary and secondary prevention initiatives in their community and state.

To view timeline, click on image to enlarge.


Boston Scientific
Cardiac Science
Dominic A. Murray 21 Memorial Foundation
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation
Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation
One Beat CPR + AED
Sudden Death in the Young Registry
Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.


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