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Dr. Fely Curva, Florida

Dr. Fely Curva has been a longtime advocate of issues relating to education, nutrition, children’s health.  For the past three years, Dr. Curva has worked closely with the American Heart Association on several issues including: physical education, shared use agreements and school food nutrition.

Most recently, Dr. Curva has stood side by side at the Florida Capitol with the American Heart Association supporting efforts to bring opportunities to children and families to go out and exercise.  While supporting the American Heart Association's effort to increase Shared Use Agreements, Dr. Curva has testified in committee, visited lawmakers and participated in grassroots activities with her volunteers to increase awareness of the issue.  “We all remember playing at our schools on the weekend and during the summer, it’s a shame that schools must protect themselves by locking up their facilities,” says Dr. Curva.  “The more opportunities kids have to play, the healthier they will be and that is something my clients can get behind.”

Dr. Curva received her Ph.D. from the Florida State University, Department in Reading and Multilingual/Multicultural Education; a Masters of Science degree in Education and Research and Evaluation; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Valdosta State College. She has been an invaluable resource for the American Heart Association’s advocacy staff in Tallahassee and will continue to work with the American Heart Association in the future.

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Shared Use Bill Encounters Obstacle

On March 25, Senate Bill 396, Shared Use was heard in its first committee of reference.  Unfortunately, Senate Education Committee member, Senator Maria Sachs, drastically changed the substance and intent of the bill with an amendment.

This bad amendment does the following:

  • Creates a guaranteed pool of money trial attorneys can tap into if someone is injured during the use of a shared use agreement;
  • Takes away the school board’s ability to negotiate shared use agreements because the amendment mandates criteria;
  • Will create more lawsuits for schools and third parties to have to deal with; and 
  • Will decrease the number of shared use agreements schools enter into.

Let Senator Sachs know how disappointed you are in her decision to pursue her amendment and choose profits over children.

Stay tuned as the bill moves forward and we work to undo this bad amendment.  Together, we can help encourage schools to offer our children the chance to play on their recreation facilities.

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Warn Florida Lawmakers That Big Tobacco is Back

Right now in Florida, the American Heart Association is working with the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to fight House Bill 169.  The bill originally intended to prohibit the sale of nicotine products and nicotine dispensing devices (e-cigarettes) to minors. However, an amendment was added last week that would do more harm than good in the fight to protect Florida's children from tobacco.

The amendment preempts authority to state when dealing with the regulation of sales of tobacco products including e-cigarettes.  This preemption language would strip local governments of their ability to regulate all tobacco products and e-cigarettes, overturn existing ordinances and block future opportunities to protect kids in the retail environment.  The bill now heads to the full House for a vote. 

ACTION NEEDED: Please call your Representative today and say, "Hello, my name is [name] from [city]. I would like to ask Representative [Last Name] to oppose House Bill 169."

Click here to find your Representative's contact information.  

Don't let Florida take a huge step backwards and lose decades of work at the local level to protect our youth and residents.

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Shared Use Bill Passes the Florida House!

On Wednesday, March 12 the Florida House of Representatives voted 108-9 in favor of House Bill 277, Shared Use, demonstrating overwhelming support for creating more opportunities for kids and families to get out and exercise. Rep. Ross Spano, bill author, displayed his passion for creating a healthier Florida as he debated the bill on the House floor.  With a heartfelt closing speech, he brought the bill to the finish line and passed the bill. 

House Bill 277 will now begin the process of moving through the Senate committees.  The bill has three committees of reference in the Senate; the Education Committee, the Community Affairs Committee and the Judiciary Committee.  Once the bill passes those committees, it will move to the Senate floor for a full vote.  If both sides pass the bill, it will go the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Please stay tuned for upcoming You're the Cure alerts!  We need your help to keep up the momentum to get this bill to the Governor so more kids and families can live happier healthier lives.

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We're in Week 2 of Florida's Legislative Session

We're in week 2 of the 2014 Florida legislative session.  It's shaping up to be a very productive year for the American Heart Association.  Several issues are in play, including passing our Shared Use Agreements bill, protecting high school PE and eliminating food deserts.

  • Shared Use Agreements: House Bill 277 will be heard on the House floor on Wednesday, March 12. The bill would allow schools a choice to enter into shared use agreements with organizations, like the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club, for the use of the school facilities during non-school hours.  The bill would also allow schools to adopt open access policies, which would permit public access to the school grounds during non-school hours.  If schools enter into these agreements or adopt open access policies, the school's liability standard will be increased.  Currently, the standard is simple negligence; with this bill it would be raised to gross negligence.
  • CPR in Schools: We are still searching for vehicles to attach our language to for this issue.  Please let us know if you hear of any stories in your area of CPR. 
  • Healthy Food Financing Initiative: This year, Senator Dwight Bullard has introduced a food desert bill.  Stay tuned for how you can help educate legislators on the importance of access to healthy foods in underserved areas in Florida and offer viable solutions to the problem.

Check your inbox for the latest You're the Cure alerts for ways you can help make 2014 a successful year at the State Capitol.

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NFL Player, Alan Ball, Visits Florida Capitol

The American Heart Association has been working on legislation that would allow schools the opportunity to provide families a safe and convenient place to play and exercise.  The legislation protects the schools that enter into Shared Use Agreements or adopt Open Access Policies.  The NFL PLAY60 works hard to deliver the message to kids to get out and play and exercise for 60 minutes a day.  So what better way to combine our efforts and deliver a strong message to the families of Florida and to the members of the House and Senate at the Legislature.

During a scheduled committee week in Tallahassee, the American Heart Association invited Jacksonville Jaguar Defensive Cornerback, Alan Ball, to walk the halls of the Capitol and meet with key members of the Legislature.  Mr. Ball was promoting the NFL PLAY60 initiative and supporting the American Heart Association’s efforts at the same time, since both go hand in hand with making our children and families healthier.  

He expressed the importance of not only living healthy and exercising on regular basis, but also providing access to safe and convenient facilities to make it easier for our families to live those healthy lifestyles.  After many meetings with legislators and members of the Press, we delivered a shared message that Florida’s families could benefit from both having more opportunities to get and exercise and living healthier happy lifestyles.   

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NFL Play 60 Tackles the Capitol

Childhood obesity rates are at an all-time high: today, nearly one in three kids and teens in the United States are obese or overweight. We know that physical activity produces overall physical, psychological and social benefits, and that inactive children are likely to become inactive adults. That’s why the American Heart Association and the National Football League have teamed up to create the PLAY 60 Challenge, a program that inspires kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day in school and at home. It also helps schools become places that encourage physically active lifestyles year-round. By leveraging the American Heart Association’s health expertise and the NFL’s commitment to physical fitness, you can help us can achieve our goal of getting kids physically active for 60 minutes every day.

This week, Jacksonville Jaguar Cornerback, Alan Ball, joined the American Heart Association advocacy staff in Tallahassee to get this message to the policy makers who can make a difference in our children’s lives. The American Heart Association has filed a bill (HB 277) to allow schools the opportunity to provide their communities a safe and convenient place for our kids to play and exercise. The bill would protect the liability of the schools if they choose to enter into Joint Use Agreements or give the public access to their facilities during non-school hours. This will create more opportunities for kids to go out, play and exercise in the convenience of their own neighborhoods. The more opportunities we can provide the more likely we can help prevent obesity and get our children active.

So please join our efforts by checking your email inbox in the days ahead for more ways you can support House Bill 277, Joint Use Agreements, to give our children the chance to live longer, healthier, happier lives.


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Learn & Share Your Post-Stroke Tips

After a stroke, even the simplest tasks can be very challenging.  Survivors often face limb weakness, numbness or paralysis, communication challenges, and difficulty with their vision.  However, we know stroke survivors and caregivers across the country are persevering and discovering new, creative ways to carry out the daily tasks they need to.  Through their recovery, they find a 'new normal' and we want to help share these helpful tips far and wide. 

That's why the American Stroke Association created a volunteer-powered library- Tips for Daily Living- to gather ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!  For example, do you have to put up a ponytail with one hand?  Watch Karen’s video!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

Help us grow the library!  Do you have something to share that could help stroke survivors?  Share your tips by completing the online submission form at  You’ll get a FREE AHA/ASA recipe book and Stroke Solidarity String for participating!

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Happy New Year Florida!

Happy New Year!  2014 is upon us, bringing new hope and resolve to live a healthier life.

Our goal at the American Heart Association is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20%.  Together, we can accomplish this goal, but we need your help. 

Click here to ask lawmakers to support heart health in 2014.

Your involvement has never been more important to making hearts healthy!  Here’s what 2014 has in store:

  1. Increase shared/joint use agreements and public access to our schools’ playgrounds
  2. Have every student trained in Hands-Only CPR before graduating from high school
  3. Increase access to healthy foods in food deserts across the state

We’re counting on your support to build healthier lives across our great state.

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Let Our Children Play!

Most of the schools across the state of Florida will be closing their doors this month for a much needed holiday break.  Along with their doors closing many of the schools will also close down their outside facilities as well; locking up perfectly good playgrounds, athletic fields and other areas where our children could play.  These publicly funded school playgrounds are being held away from our children because school districts fear of possible law suit if they kept them open.

Let’s give our schools a choice.  The American Heart Association is working on a bill that would allow schools to choose whether or not to keep their outdoor facilities open for public access.  The bill would give the schools a higher standard of liability protection, if they should choose to keep them open.  Currently schools have protection with simple negligence.  The new law, if passed, would raise that protection to gross negligence.

Giving our children opportunities to get outside and exercise and play is key in fighting the obesity epidemic.  Those opportunities can come in the form of our schools that we, as taxpayers, fund and support.  Ours schools are part of our community and our children should be able to take full advantage of the nearby opportunities.

The American Heart Association would ask you to help us in seeing this proposed legislation become law.  Please go speak to or tweet at your State Representative or Senator and ask them to support us in our efforts.  Ask them to protect our schools from frivolous lawsuits in order to give our children more opportunities to play and be HEALTHY!

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