Empowering Bystanders to Intervene: Trauma Responders Unify to Empower (TRUE) Communities

Leah Tatebe, Sedona Speedy, Danby Kang, Trevor Barnum, Franklin Cosey-Gay, Sheila Regan, Le Von Stone, Mamta Swaroop*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Timely and effective bystander first aid can improve outcomes for trauma victims. Bystanders are present at most traumas and are more likely to assist with prior training. Materials and methods: An evidence-based course was created for the general public in high-risk Chicago neighborhoods focused on basic traumatic first aid, including scene management, hemorrhage control, and mitigating the psychological impact of trauma to overcome the bystander effect. Prospectively, participants completed knowledge-based and self-efficacy assessments precourse, postcourse, and 6 mo follow-up. The change in self-efficacy and knowledge scores was analyzed. Results: Over 32 courses, 503 participants were taught; 474 and 460 participants completed precourse and postcourse surveys, respectively, whereas 60 of 327 who consented for follow-up completed the 6-mo survey. Postcourse, participants were more likely to assist trauma victims and felt more confident in the quality of care they could provide; the effect remained significant at 6 mo (all P < 0.001). All seven self-efficacy empowerment-based questions individually demonstrated improvement from precourse to postcourse (P < 0.001), with an overall mean (SD) increase of 2.8 (2.1, P < 0.001); six maintained significance at follow-up with an overall mean increase of 2.8 (1.9, P < 0.001). Knowledge scores improved from 6.2 of 10 to 7.2 postcourse and 7.7 at follow-up (P < 0.001). Most improved were the ability to render first aid and apply tourniquets. Conclusions: The TFRC increased self-efficacy, successfully teaching initial trauma care, particularly hemorrhage control and scene safety, suggesting that a grassroots approach to trauma care may improve outcomes in communities that experience high violence rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Bystander effect
  • Immediate responders
  • Self-efficacy
  • Tourniquets
  • Trauma care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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