Kathleen Roebber, head school nurse at University School of Milwaukee, has been named the 2021 Karen Smith Award recipient for her work and dedication to Project ADAM. Roebber, along with Zadan Mason ’22, were integral in establishing USM as a Project ADAM Heart Safe School in March 2018, the first school in the North Shore area to achieve that designation.
Roebber was selected for her demonstrated passion, innovation, and excellence in serving as a champion for USM’s cardiac emergency preparedness plan. “I am honored to have been nominated and to receive the Karen Smith Award from Project Adam,” said Roebber. “It is a wonderful organization that helps school communities better cope with medical emergencies, particularly cardiac emergencies. It is only with a team effort that a school can achieve certification and implement the Heart Safe School plan. I accept this award on behalf of our administration and all of our emergency team members, group which includes teachers, administrators, school safety officers, students, and parents.”
Project ADAM is an initiative that seeks to safeguard the health of students and prevent sudden cardiac death by ensuring AEDs are available and accessible; establishing a written plan and team of CPR/AED-trained staff ready to act in an emergency; and conducting emergency response practice drills. Schools recognized with this distinction improved the survival rate of individuals who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest from 44% to 79%. This happens through the passionate actions of caring people like Roebber who recognize the importance of this work and share it with the schools and communities they are in.
About Karen Smith
Karen Smith was a pioneer and leader in school health and safety who served for over 20 years as the nursing services coordinator for the Pewaukee School District in Wisconsin. It was her personal mission to help prepare communities to recognize and respond to cardiac emergencies. She served on the Project ADAM Program Council since its inception in 1999. Through her charismatic work with Project ADAM, she tested new ideas to pave the way for streamlined CPR/AED training and programs in schools, rallied the support of legislators and community leaders, and established a now-national model for the implementation of public access defibrillation programs in schools.
Through this award, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin strives to honor Karen’s memory and continue her good work by recognizing individuals who reflect her passion and commitment to creating safer communities by championing Project ADAM’s Heart Safe School Designation.