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It is time for Massachusetts to be CPR Smart

Look to your left. Look to your right. Would the people around you know how to save your life if you suffered from sudden cardiac arrest? You can make sure that across Massachusetts there are thousands of people who would know what to do. It’s time for Massachusetts to Be CPR Smart.

Would you work with us to get CPR required in your local high school?

We’re working to bring more lifesavers to our community by making sure no high schooler in Massachusetts graduates without learning the life-saving skill of CPR and we need your help. To join our campaign email me at Allyson.perron@heart.org

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Lace up your Sneakers and Make a Commitment to Live Healthier!

Spring has arrived on the calendar and soon the warm weather will too. I am sure, like me, you are looking forward to it! When the weather gets warm it motivates me to tie on those sneakers and get moving! Not only is this the perfect time for us as adults to make the commitment to start getting more physical activity, but it is the perfect time for the State to commit that our kids have opportunities for physical activity during the school day.

We know that increased time being physically active increases students’ fitness and we see the benefits across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, among boys and girls, in all grades and all settings. There are many studies that show that physical education (PE) programs can improve risk factors in students who are exhibiting early signs of chronic disease along with improving children’s cognitive functioning and attention and behavior in the classroom. We believe it is time for the State to act and ensure that our students are getting quality physical education.

What is happening in your school? Do your kids get daily PE? Or at least a few times a week? What did you have when you were in school? I know I had high quality PE and it was the reason that now in my thirties I am still physically active. I know how important it is to learn healthy habits early. I think this year is the perfect time for the State to act and make sure our kids are getting quality physical education. Will you help us and ask your legislators for their support?

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Stroke Survivors Come Together to End Stroke

On February 25th over 60 stroke survivors, caretakers and advocates came together to share their personal story about stroke and ask the legislators to support creating a tiered stroke system of care.

We know that stroke is the No. 4 cause of death among adults in the U.S. It kills 128,000 people a year – that’s about one in every 19 deaths and that every 40 seconds, someone in America has a stroke. On average, every four minutes, someone dies from stroke. We know that calling 9-1-1 gets stroke patients to the hospital fast during a stroke emergency. Yet, according to research, more than a third of stroke patients don’t go to the hospital by ambulance and when someone recognizes a stroke and acts fast by calling 9-1-1, the patient has a greater chance of getting to an appropriate hospital quickly and improving the outcome. This is why it is so important to create a stroke system of care. 

The rapid identification, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke can save the lives of stroke patients and in some cases can reverse neurological damage such as paralysis and speech and language impairments, leaving stroke patients with few or no neurological deficits. Although treatments are available to improve the clinical outcomes of stroke, many acute care hospitals lack the necessary staff and equipment to optimally triage and treat stroke patients, including the provision of optimal, safe and effective emergency care for these patients. An effective system to support stroke survival is needed in our communities in order to treat stroke patients in a timely manner and to improve the overall treatment of stroke patients in order to increase survival and decrease the disabilities associated with stroke. There is a public health need for acute care hospitals in Massachusetts and to establish a designation for Primary Stroke Centers to ensure the rapid triage, diagnostic evaluation and treatment of patients suffering a stroke. It is in the best interest of the residents of Massachusetts to establish a program to facilitate development of stroke treatment capabilities throughout the State.  This program will provide specific patient care and support services criteria that stroke centers must meet in order to ensure that stroke patients receive safe and effective care.

To prevent the incidence and death of stroke, it is important to address the whole system from prevention to rehabilitation. Massachusetts can officially recognize the best medical centers to treat stroke to ensure that the best care is delivered promptly. The AHA has already identified the criteria for care that facilities should meet to provide patients the best care possible. Massachusetts has been a leader in the field of stroke with the help of the STOP Stroke Program, but 10 years after we established the primary stroke service hospital designation, we need to do more. We need to make sure that patients are getting to the hospital quickly after having a stroke and we need to make sure that the hospitals are in fact delivering high levels of quality of care.

Join with us and ask your legislators to support a stroke system of care, because together we can end stroke!

 

 

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Victory for Pulse Ox!

Victory!! The Pulse Ox Bill is on the Governor’s desk! Thanks to your continued advocacy the House and Senate took final action and passed the legislation that would require newborn screening for congenital heart defects with pulse ox! This would not have been possible without our legislative champions and our dedicated advocates. As you know this non-invasive, low cost test can make a big difference. By passing this bill, and making pulse oximetry screening mandatory for all newborns across Massachusetts, we will be protecting our youngest babies through early detection of previously undiagnosed congenital heart disease.

Thank you for your continued advocacy and we hope to have the Governor sign this critical legislation quickly!

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CVS Will Stop Selling Tobacco Products!

We have made great progress in the fight against tobacco and today one more step was made! By October 1, CVS will no longer sell tobacco products in any of its 7,600 stores. This is a huge step taken by a chain pharmacy to date especially with the loss of revenue they will face.

CVS’s decision will reduce the availability of cigarettes and other tobacco products and sends a message to the public especially children, that tobacco use is harmful. CVS has recognized that selling tobacco products is against their commitment to improving the health of its customers.  We hope that other pharmacies quickly follow CVS’s example.
 
As we mark the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report that stated that smoking kills 480,000 Americans annually, sickens millions more and costs the nation more than $289 billion in health care expenses and other economic costs every year we applaud CVS’s decision to end tobacco sales.

Take a minute to thank them on their Facebook page. And Thank CVS on Twitter using their handle @CVSCaremarkFYI



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Active Streets is on the Move!

Last week, the House passed a Transportation Bond Bill and as part of the bill, the Active Streets Program was included for an authorization of $50 million in funding. We appreciate everyone’s outreach on this issue and this is just one of many steps. We still need your help to get it to the Governor’s desk and then implemented! We now need the Senate to also include it so look for opportunities to take action and outreach to your Senator!

Thanks for your ongoing advocacy to help improve the infrastructure in our communities to provide more walking and biking opportunities!

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Prevention & Wellness Trust Grants Awarded

This week, the Department of Public Health announced nine recipients of the first awards from the $60 million Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund. This funding will help Massachusetts combat health disparities and reduce preventable health conditions that are costly to our residents and the Commonwealth.

The awards will fund nine partnerships across the state to address hypertension, tobacco, pediatric asthma, and falls among older adults.

The nine partnerships have proposed programs that will serve a total of 978,000 people, with a focus on reducing health disparities based on race, ethnicity, income, and other factors.

Along with partners, the American Heart/Strke Association pushed for the legislature to ensure that there was funding to address prevention to help control costs as part of health care reform.

The grantees announced today include:

Barnstable County Department of Human Services

Berkshire Medical Center

Boston Public Health Commission

Holyoke Health Center

City of Lynn

City of New Bedford Health Department

City of Worcester

Manet Community Health Center

Town of Hudson

According to the Department of Public Health, each grantee will receive up to $250,000 for a planning phase, and, as they demonstrate readiness, may receive $900,000-$1.5 million for each of the next three years for implementation.

We look forward to working with the grantees to help control hypertension and address health equity in their communities.

Additional information is available at www.mass.gov/PWTF.

 

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Join Us So Together We Can End Stroke

We are looking for stroke survivors and passionate advocates like you to participate in our Together to End Stroke event at the Massachusetts State House on February 25, 2014. This event will help us celebrate 10 years of Massachusetts having a Stroke System of Care and help us work towards continuing to improve and create a comprehensive system that increases the recognition and timely care of stroke to prevent death and disability. Please register to join us https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZJ6H79W and invite other family and friends.

Stories make all the difference when we are meeting with legislators, would you be willing to share your story about how stroke has affected your life either as a survivor, caretaker or passionate advocate?  The day will begin at 10:00 AM with an Advocacy 101 to help prepare you for your legislative meetings. We will provide a boxed lunch and then you will have the opportunity to meet with your legislator or their staff to share your story and express the importance of a Stroke System of Care. Speaking points will be provided as well as a staff person to go on the visits. The day will end by 4:00 PM.

Please join us and register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZJ6H79W. Feel free to reach out to me, at (781)-373-4522 or email at allyson.perron@heart.org with any questions or concerns. Once we hear from you, we will confirm all the details for your participation! 

 

 

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A Heart Healthy New Year in Massachusetts

With 2013 behind us I am hopeful that 2014 will be our most successful year in making Massachusetts Heart Healthy and Stroke Free. We are close to ensuring that all Coaches in MA Public Schools will be trained in CPR and that all newborns will be screened with Pulse Ox for CHD. We are also working to improve our Stroke System of Care and to ensure that our kids are getting high quality Physical Education and Activity throughout the school day. We have one of the highest tobacco taxes in the Country but now it is time to make an investment in the funding of the tobacco prevention and cessation program. We have an opportunity to ensure that food purchased in state vending machines is healthy. We can achieve all this with your help! Ask your friends and family to join with you and help us be successful! Have them join our efforts today at www.yourethecure.org. With advocates like fighting for these policies we can achieve so much!

 

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Where did 2013 go?

Wow! Where did 2013 go? As we celebrate all we did this year, I find myself once again thinking about New Year resolutions.  The perennial favorites are there….eat better, get more exercise, save more money…but these goals are all centered on making my life better.  What if for 2014 we all put more focus on our community goals. Goals that will make life better not just for us, but for our communities as a whole

How about…

  • CPR as a Graduation Requirement
  • Policies fighting Childhood Obesity
  • Pulse Ox Screening for Every Newborn
  • Quality Daily Physical Education for all Students
  • Better Systems of Stroke Care
  • Improved AED Access

That’s just a few. We all live in different places and will have different goals, but we can make them all come true together.

Thank you for all that you do as a You’re the Cure advocate.  Without you we would never be making the progress we are against heart disease and stroke.

And I am excited to see what we can accomplish as a team in 2014!

Heart Disease and Stroke. You’re the Cure.

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