Being laid off from her longtime position running an emergency medicine training program at a large suburban hospital, Chanda Brodnax-Nino tells us how this setback (as well as an inspiring letter from a former student) ultimately inspired her to launch her own business, the EMS Institute of Fairfield County (the “Institute”).  

Chanda talks about how she hopes to inspire young Black women.  When she was growing up, she didn’t see any Black women entering the field of medicine.  She hopes that young Black women will see her and say “If she can do it, I can do it.”  

Chanda discusses her method of teaching, applying the “212 Method,” and how she encourages her students to give more than just the bare minimum.  At 211°, Chanda explains, water is really hot.  But add just one more degree, and that water is boiling, emitting steam and enough energy to power a locomotive.  She tells her students that if they give that one extra degree, she will give that one extra degree.  This makes her class all the more challenging, but her students unanimously agree that, as a result, they are better trained than some of their peers to handle critical situations.  

Chanda emphasizes the importance of knowing CPR, “an easy life-saving skill that you can learn in less than 2 hours.”  She shares a story of two cardiac arrest patients who arrived in the emergency room one Thanksgiving evening:  one received immediate CPR from a family member who had been trained, and that patient walked out of the hospital that night.  The other did not receive CPR until arriving at the emergency room, where Chanda did CPR for 43 minutes.  That patient did not survive.  Every second counts and acting quickly can mean the difference between life and death.  

Chanda is not your typical teacher, and her story isn’t just about teaching the basics of CPR.  She encourages her students to be kind to one another, even asking them to share with one another one nice thing about each student in the class.   While her day job is focused on life-saving, Chanda teaches (and learns from) her students the ways in which kindness can be life-changing.  

Episode Links and Resources:

EMS Institute of Fairfield County:

212° the Extra Degree:

Chanda Brodnax-Nino Profile:

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