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New York City Tackles Obesity!

Did you see the news?  New York City recently announced that they've achieved a significant drop in the rate of severe obesity among our city's kids.  A nearly 10% decline of this leading cause of heart disease and stroke is a tremendous achievement!  However, the thing I liked most about this announcement (linked below), is the city's eye to the future.  It's right there in Commissioner's Bassett top quote.  More needs to be done.  Chancellor Farina's quote is an important one as well.  If health and wellness are truly top priorities for this administration - let's work together to pass laws that will serve to protect more kids from the dangers of inactivity and poor nutrition!

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2014/pr019-14.shtml

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Arzhang Fallahi, New York City

Dr. Arzhang Fallahi is a well-versed advocate for CPR training.  While in medical school in Seattle, almost of the patients he saw would have received bystander CPR.  Victims of sudden cardiac arrest would be running in a park one moment, and the runner behind them would be pushing on their chest the next minute.  Coming to NYC, where he this past year he served as a cardiology fellow at Beth Israel Medical Center, he was struck at the drastic difference.  Now he sees patients who succumbed to cardiac arrest on a subway, surrounded by hundreds of people, and no one attempted CPR.  And he will tell you – someone who suffers cardiac arrest and doesn’t receive immediate CPR will likely not survive.

This past year, Arzhang served as the President of the American Heart Association’s Cardiology Fellows of Greater New York and inspired the group to become engaged as advocates on You’re the Cure.  Thanks to the Fellows, more lawmakers are hearing directly from clinicians about the vital need for CPR training in our high schools.  While the doctors individually have trained hundreds of New Yorkers at our events this year, they know that if they’re going to achieve their mission of changing the culture around CPR response - then our CPR in Schools bill has to be approved into law!

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Happy New Year, New York City!

Say what?? That's right...it's the new fiscal year for the American Heart Association. While much of our focus remained on the state-level opportunities, we have a lot to celebrate here in New York City! Let's take a look back as we prepare to move forward:

CPR in Schools legislation: Thanks to your help as dedicated advocates and Council Members Corey Johnson and Costa Constantinides, New York City Council introduced Resolution 193 which will require that the NYC Chancellor consider implementing the training requirement for city secondary schools. The resolution now resides in the Council Education Committee and is gathering speed! Is your Council Member a sponsor yet? If you haven't already done so, please take action on the most recent NYC action alert to make sure they know how important this curriculum standard is!

Hands-Only CPR Training at City Council Offices: On June 4th, the American Heart Association traveled downtown to train City Council Members and their staff on the life-saving skill of Hands-Only CPR. Thanks to Council Member Julissa Ferreras, who helped sponsor the event, our city resolution (Res 193) has now accumulated almost a dozen sponsors.

Hands-Only CPR Training at Foley Square Park: Thanks to a generous donation, the American Heart Association provided an all-day Hands-Only CPR training on June 5th in the shadow of the Tweed Courthouse – home to the NYC Department of Education. More than 200 New Yorkers were trained in Hands-Only CPR using the CPR Anytime kits. Despite the threat of rain, New York City proved that Hands-Only CPR training is in-demand and the CPR in Schools proposal is warranted.

New York City leads the way against Big Tobacco: As the Bloomberg administration looked to the conclusion of their term, the Mayor, Commissioner Farley and Speaker Quinn prioritized several policies aimed at further lowering our city’s smoking rates. The Sensible Tobacco Enforcement law improves the enforcement of the city’s tax laws while also establishing a new minimum price floor ($10.50) for all packs of cigarettes and little cigars – and requiring that inexpensive cigars be sold in packs no less than four and little cigars in packs of 20. At the same time, the city enacted a new law that dictates a minimum sales age of 21 for cigarettes, tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Speaking of E-cigarettes: The American Heart Association is supportive of efforts to include electronic cigarettes in clean indoor air laws. As e-cigarettes didn't exist in the US when New York City approved our Smoke Free Air Act more than a decade ago, city lawmakers pursued a last-minute opportunity to close that loophole as the clock ticked down on the Council Session. Indeed, this was the final bill signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg before he left office in January.

Thanks to you, we've made great progress toward our goal of making New York City the healthiest city in America. We have a long way to go - but thanks to your dedication, we are in great shape as we build momentum with our new city decision-makers!

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End of Session Wrap-up

The NYS Session has wrapped up and we're happy to report substantial progress in many areas.  Here's a quick recap.

CPR in Schools bill passes both houses:  Thanks to the help of our dedicated advocates and the bill sponsors, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and Senator Mark Grisanti, we took a major step to ensure NYS students learn CPR before graduation.  The CPR in Schools bill will now be sent to the Governor.  The new proposal specifically calls for the following:

  • The Commissioner of the State Education Department would have 180 days to make recommendations to the Board of Regents regarding the adoption of CPR/AED instruction in the curriculum.  
  • The Commissioner would need to seek input from interested parties – teachers, administrators, parents, students and other interested parties; and consider time and financial impacts.
  • The Board of Regents would then have 60 days to accept or reject recommendations.

CPR “So Many Reasons” Campaign launched:  This May, the American Heart Association launched a heartwarming campaign entitled “So Many Reasons.  Starting in May and until the CPR bill passed both houses, we sent a “reason” to our state lawmakers about why the CPR in Schools bill should pass. The reasons were real stories about real New Yorkers - people alive because of CPR and/or AED use; or people who are not alive because CPR wasn’t started, or not started soon enough.

Brianna’s Law passes NYS Assembly:  Legislation to ensure all police officers are certified in CPR every two years passed the NYS Assembly.  

Our first ever CPR Rally:  On June 3rd the Capitol was a sea of red at our first ever CPR rally!  Approximately 100 volunteers traveled to the Capitol to show lawmakers how to keep the beat.  Following a press conference, volunteers from throughout the state all performed CPR together to the beat of Stayin’ Alive.  Volunteers then spoke directly with lawmakers.

Physical Fitness and Activity Bill to be sent to the Governor: We know how important physical activity is for our heart health.  The American Heart Association supported legislation to create a New York State Physical Fitness and Activity Education Campaign. This campaign would encourage physical activity which will improve the fitness of the people of NYS and will complement existing programs administered by the department of health that develop and promote nutrition and wellness activities.

E-cigarettes:  The American Heart Association is supportive of legislation to include e-cigarettes in the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA).  Why?  Electronic cigarettes didn’t exist when we enacted the CIAA and we don’t know the impact that long term exposure has on cardiovascular health. Bills moved in both houses this session however it did not come up for a full vote by the Senate or the Assembly.

Trans Fat:  Legislation to eliminate the use of sneaky trans fat in restaurants moved in both houses however the bill couldn’t compete with the many other priorities of legislators and didn’t pass this session.  We will continue to push to take this dangerous fat off the menu.

Protecting your health - Funding maintained for Obesity prevention and Tobacco Control:  Despite attempts to consolidate funding for chronic disease programs, we were able to garner support to reject this approach and maintain transparency.  And funding for programs designed to prevent heart disease and stroke was maintained.

Not one, but two successful Lobby Days! For the first time ever, we held two NYS State Lobby Days.  And the results speak for themselves.  Our volunteers are just the best!  We maintained funding for heart/stroke prevention and passed a CPR in Schools bill! 

Thanks for all that you do!

 

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Need your voice TODAY!

Hey advocates—Since you are soooo good at getting things passed, we could really use your help on our trans fat legislation! Trans fat = dangerous. But it is still lurking on restaurant menus. Any chance you can use some of your advocacy zeal to help us get this passed too?  Today is the LAST day of session and we need your voice!  Send an email by clicking here:  

http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=35145

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Just a click away...

The CPR in Schools bill has passed the Senate!  It has passed numerous committees in the Assembly!  Next up: a full vote by the Assembly.  We're almost there...just click below to send a message to your Assembly Member and key leaders.  A simple click, that's all it takes!  Send a message...you can be the difference today!

 http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=35010

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CPR in Schools Policy Gains Momentum in New York City!

Resolution 193 was introduced in City Council just a few weeks ago and if passed would require the NYC Department of Education to consider implementing the CPR in Schools training curriculum in all New York City high schools. CPR & AED Awareness Week provided multiple opportunities for city advocates to support the CPR in Schools curriculum proposal. In addition to the rally in Albany, two events were coordinated in Manhattan as well. On Tuesday, June 4th, NYC Advocacy Committee member, Dr. Matt Tomey, joined trainers from First Response Advantage to educate City Council Members and their staff about the life-saving skill of Hands-Only CPR. Council Member Julissa Ferreras, Chair of the Council Finance Committee, sponsored the event and spoke of the tremendous advocacy of the American Heart Association and of Melinda Murray, one of her constituents, who lost her only child, Dominic, to cardiac arrest when no one around him knew CPR.

The very next day, June 5th, the American Heart Association coordinated a public, outdoor Hands-Only CPR training in Foley Square Park, which is located just a block away from City Hall and the NYC Department of Education office. Altogether, more than 200 New Yorkers were trained to help save a life. The event was supported by several volunteers - including Advocacy Committee member Rachel Sica, cardiologist Dr. James Horowitz, survivor Danielle Denlien and several trainers from Train for Life training center. We were excited to once again motivate New Yorkers to support the CPR in Schools policy, as well as train more Council staff who couldn't make it to the event the day before.

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Katarina Weigel Keeps the Beat...

Katarina Weigel is sophomore-nursing student at Pace University. She’s also a sudden cardiac arrest survivor and alive thanks to CPR.

"I don’t look like the face of sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, any time. The faces of sudden cardiac arrest will surprise you," said Weigel.

When Katarina collapsed on the volleyball court in 2010 at the age of 15, it wasn’t the first time her family had witnessed a sudden cardiac arrest. Her uncle had suffered sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 16 in 1984 – and didn’t survive. When doctors discovered that Katarina had an inherited arrhythmia called catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, or CPVT, all of Katarina’s family were tested for gene that causes this condition. Today, Katarina, her brother and her mother all have implantable defibrillators.

"I see silver linings everywhere," Katarina Weigel said. "Because of my sudden cardiac arrest, we know why my uncle died, something our family has always wondered about. My sudden cardiac arrest has potentially saved my mother’s, my brother’s, and my life. I’m so grateful that my coaches started CPR when I collapsed four years ago."

Katarina is now sharing her story in the hopes that it will help save others. She recently joined volunteers at the CPR rally in Albany to call for the passage of the CPR in Schools bill.

"I do not let my cardiac arrest define me; however, I do let it empower me to push for CPR in schools and advocate on behalf of the American Heart Association. This bill is very near and dear to my heart. 16 states have made it mandatory to have their students learn CPR before they graduate. There can never be too many lifesavers, so why not add New York State to the list? Because of the proper training of my coaches and their quick response my life was saved. I am not a statistic, but I am a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest because of CPR."

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CPR Rally Shakes Things Up in Albany

On Tuesday, June 3, people from across the state traveled to Albany for our first ever CPR Rally! Approximately 100 American Heart Association volunteers performed CPR with some lawmakers as we called on the state Legislature to pass the CPR in Schools bill. The CPR Rally included survivors of sudden cardiac arrest, families of those lost to sudden cardiac arrest, and rescuers who saved lives.

The rally and day were part of the American Heart Association’s "So Many Reasons" campaign. Since May 5, on every legislative session day, state lawmakers have received a "reason" to pass the CPR in Schools bill. The reasons have been pictures of real New Yorkers impacted by sudden cardiac arrest. Will you help pass the CPR in Schools bill? To learn more and send a note to your lawmakers, go to http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=34948

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