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Former Jamestown Student Saves Child’s Life Spurs CPR Smart Conversation

The importance of making CPR and AED training into a required curriculum for high school graduations has become an important point of conversation in the Jamestown School System after hearing of a former Jamestown High School student who saved a child’s life while babysitting.

Jamestown High School is currently working towards becoming a CPR Smart School. This would ensure that all students that are enrolled in a physical education course would go through CPR/AED training as approved by the school board.

The American Heart Association was proud to champion SB 2238 – the CPR in Schools funding bill designed to established a platform by which every graduating high school student will learn and practice how to perform CPR – creating our next generation of community lifesavers.   The legislature appropriated $450,000 in CPR training support for all North Dakota high schools – public and private. The intent to fund one grade level per year within a school.  Schools decide which grade level and the course which is already required for graduation.  AED training is also a required component of the training. The training can be done in one regular class period for Hands Only CPR training or a school can select a 4-6 hour certification course built into several class periods.

If you are interested in working with your local school to achieve CPR Smart School recognition send an e-mail to Kendra Krueger at   To learn more go to our CPR website –   

CLICK HERE for complete story on CPR save from the Jamestown Sun.  

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State of Obesity Report: North Dakota

In recognition of Childhood Obesity Awareness month, we are pleased to be able to provide our advocates with the most recent statistics on obesity in our state and across the nation. The State of Obesity Report (formerly F as in Fat), a project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides a close-up look at our progress toward reducing obesity across all populations and demographics, and the work that lies ahead of us to ensure our kids are growing up healthy and strong. 

For the past 11 years, this report has raised awareness about the serious nature of obesity, and encouraged the creation of a national obesity prevention strategy.  The American Heart Association has worked alongside our partners at the Trust and RWJ Foundation, and others, to develop effective approaches for reversing the obesity epidemic at the local, state and federal level. 

We are pleased to see this report reflects that childhood obesity appears to be stabilizing among all children ages 0-18 – that is, it is not going up as significantly as in previous years.  However, much of the stabilization is among ages birth – two years old; unfortunately, the obesity rate among high school students has continued to increase over the past two years.

As you know, obesity has a dramatic impact on other chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and stroke, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and other serious illnesses. 

North Dakota is ranked 14th among all states and the District of Columbia with an obesity rate of 31%.  That is an increase of more than 19% since 1990, and a 7% increase in the last ten years.  We have a lot of work to do to bring obesity rates down among all age groups, and racial and ethnic disparities continue to exist. 

The report also highlights the various policy objectives that are important in our fight to reduce obesity.  Policy change at the local, state and federal level all can have a dramatic impact on reducing the impact of obesity.  In North Dakota, we can change the upward direction of obesity by encouraging physical activity before, during and after school, by ensuring our kids have healthy school lunches, improving access to healthy and affordable food, and reducing sodium consumption. 

Combatting obesity in our communities will take dedication, focus, innovation and cooperation.  Please join us in this fight!  Let us know obesity prevention is a priority for you and that you want to help us in our efforts.  Sign in to your profile at and click on your name in the upper right corner.  Under the Interests tab, check Obesity Prevention and Nutrition, or send me and email and let me know of your interest. 

For more on the full State of Obesity report, CLICK HERE.  For North Dakota specific information, CLICK HERE.  

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Advocate Spotlight: Dr. Robert Oatfield

Dr. Robert Oatfield, Professor of Medicine and Cardiac and Peripheral Interventional Cardiologist, has been involved as an advocate for the American Heart Association for decades and has seen the organization grow and change. His interest in advocacy stems from working with community leaders to make a difference in North Dakota, and seeing those efforts save lives.

A native of California, Dr. Oatfield appreciates the impact one person can have by getting involved in public policy in a small state like North Dakota.  His interest and involvement in improving systems of care started years ago training doctors in advanced cardiac Life Support and paramedics on performing and interpreting 12 Lead ECG's and encouraging bystander CPR.  His work in the field predates the current Mission: Lifeline program that equips all ambulances in North Dakota with 12-Lead ECG machines and the training for EMS staff.

Through the efforts of Dr. Oatfield and others, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are accessible in public places throughout our state.  Through his advocacy efforts and his willingness to talk with key legislators, North Dakota may soon join the growing list of states that require CPR as a high school graduation requirement.

Dr. Oatfield encourages others to get involved with advocacy because it’s fun!

“In our state, we have the ability to be impactful on policy because our legislators are accessible and willing to listen to constituents ideas on improving our communities,” he said.

Col. Oatfield, a retired flight surgeon with the North Dakota Army National Guard, is licensed to practice in North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Georgia. In addition to his advocacy efforts, he is past president of the American Heart Association Dakota Affiliate, serves on the state’s AHA Advocacy Committee, and he has lobbied on behalf of the AHA in Bismarck and Washington, D.C.  Dr. Oatfield also does Cardiac Interventions in Ecuador.

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ND Notes a Decline in Deaths From Cardiovascular Disease

According to new research in the American Heart Association journal "Circulation," hospitalizations and deaths from heart disease and stroke in the U.S. dropped significantly in the last decade. Shelly Arnold, manager of trauma, stroke and cardiac care at Sanford Health in Bismarck and chair of North Dakota's AHA Advocacy Committee, says one key in improving outcomes locally has been the establishment of statewide systems of stroke and cardiac care. In addition to the improvements in quality of care, also contributing to the decrease were public awareness, prevention strategies and improved lifestyle. For more on this story, CLICK HERE.  

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AHA Issues Statement on E-Cigs

Electronic cigarettes might help some people quit smoking, but the American Heart Association recommends them only as a last resort and only with several notes of caution.

AHA President Elliott Antman, M.D., underscored the careful approach Tuesday, a day after the organization’s first policy statement on e-cigarettes drew widespread media attention.  The policy statement called for strong new regulations to prevent access, sales and marketing of e-cigarettes to youth.

To read more, CLICK HERE.  

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ND Mission: Lifeline Transition to ND Cardiac System of Care

The American Heart Association ND Mission: Lifeline grant funded program launched on August 1, 2011 and will be coming to a close on August 31, 2014 after 3 years of statewide STEMI system enhancement.   The AHA staff have worked diligently with Mission: Lifeline leadership, taskforce members, ND Department of Health and advocates to ensure a strong sustainability plan is in place to support the STEMI system.  One important element of the transition will be the movement of the STEMI program under a larger umbrella which will be known as the ND Cardiac System of Care.   The expanded focus will include NSTEMI, chest pain, and cardiac arrest system quality improvement with oversight by the ND DOH Division of EMS and Trauma.  Education models utilized for clinical continuing education of EMS and hospital personnel with the ND M: L program will continue in the upcoming year including a 2015 conference with grant funding provided by ND M:L to the ND DOH.

The 3rd annual M: L STEMI and Acute Stroke Conference was held August 5 – 6, 2014 at the Ramada Plaza Conference Center in Fargo with over 240 in attendance over the two days.   The first day was a stroke focus with a STEMI focus on day two.  The days were filled with continuing educational presentations, quality reports, survivor stories, GWTG quality award presentations, vendor displays, and stroke and STEMI simulation training scenarios provided by SIM-ND. CLICK HERE for news coverage. 

The conference highlighted the outstanding support, commitment and collaboration from every participating agency including EMS, Critical access hospitals and PCI hospitals. Huge strides have been made to improve the quality and consistency of STEMI care delivered throughout the state.  In a number of measures North Dakota is exceeding the national bench marks.   We are much closer to attaining the goal that where you live doesn’t determine if you live!   

While significant improvements have been made in the STEMI system of care from first medical contact to restored blood flow to the heart, two major challenges remains in rural North Dakota.   Only 26% of individuals experiencing a STEMI call 9-1-1 in rural areas of the state.   In addition, the time from first onset of heart attack symptoms to first medical contact can be over 90 minutes.  These delays in treatment increase the person’s chance of death or permanent heart damage.    We have plans to expand the public awareness campaign:  Your Life is on the Line: Dial 9-1-1.    Free materials are available for use in communities across the state at

While the grant support for Mission: Lifeline is at a close, be assured that the American Heart Association staff team will maintain an active and collaborative role in the cardiac system of care work in ND.   There is more work to be done to reduce death and disability from cardiovascular diseases in North Dakota. 

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Life is Why is the New Anthem of the American Heart and American Stroke Association

A celebration of life, Life is Why offers a simple, yet powerful answer to the question of why we do what we do.   At the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, we want people to experience more of life’s precious moments. It’s why we’ve made better heart and brain health our mission. And together with our staff and volunteers we’ve made an extraordinary impact. But we are just beginning. Until there’s a world free of heart disease and stroke, we’ll be here, working to make a healthier, longer life possible for everyone.

I’d like to ask you to discover your life’s “Why”? Ask yourself this: what are those moments, people, or experiences that you live for? What brings you joy, wonder, and happiness? What is your why in life?

Whatever your why, we encourage you to share your “why” and like our Facebook page AHANorthDakota

As part of the American Heart Association family, we’ve provided you resources and tools designed to help you activate our new brand and clearly and consistently articulate who we are and why our mission is so important.  We encourage you to watch the video and explore:

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Recognizing the Value of Quality P.E. Education

Amy Heuer and Lois Mauch North Dakota

Quality Physical Education (QPE) today is not recognizable as the physical education classes many of us remember from our schooling.  The focus has gone from the rules and regulations and play of specific sports, to the education of the physical abilities needed for play and care of the body.  Today’s QPE not only teaches our students how to move, but connects to the need our body has to move.  It encourages the importance of movement for our mental and physical health, stress reduction, and mental performance.

The definition of Quality Physical Education is the development of physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. To pursue a lifetime of healthful physical activity, a physically literate individual:

  • Has learned the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities.
  • Knows the implications and the benefits of involvement in various types of physical activities.
  • Participates regularly in physical activity.
  • Is physically fit.
  • Values physical activity and its contributions to a healthful lifestyle.  SHAPE America (2014).

The Society of Health and Physical Education (SHAPE America) has released newly revised National PE Standards that can be found at

Quality Physical Education is important in our schools for more than the physical and health related benefits we see from moving.  More research is coming out every day showing the connection between physical activity and the mental benefits we see.  By our students participating in Quality PE classes, we are giving them the tools they need to succeed in the classroom.  According to Dr. John Ratey in his book SPARK, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, through exercise we are doing three things to the body to promote academic learning: 1) it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention and motivation, 2) it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information, and 3) it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus. (p. 53) All three of these are necessary components for building memories, and what is learning if not building memories.

Unfortunately for many children, the only opportunity they have for activity is during PE class.  Quality PE is therefore a cornerstone for our students to learn to appreciate being physically active.  It will help them to live healthier, happier, and smarter lives.

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Many schools prepared for new federal lunch standards

Thousands of schools around the country have found new ways of providing “smart” snacks for students – well in advance of updated federal lunch standards that begin with the upcoming school year.

Schools across the country will be following updated Department of Agriculture rules governing snacks, drinks in vending machines, stores and à la carte lines. The guidelines — which begin for the 2014-2015 school year — limit the amount of calories, fat, and sugar, while encouraging whole grains, reduced fat, fruits and vegetables. For more on this story, CLICK HERE.  

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North Dakota Mission: Lifeline Results Published and Presented at National Conferences

The North Dakota Mission: Lifeline project was selected to present at two national conferences in June, 2014.

Statewide Collaboration in Rural STEMI System Development in Resource Limited Environments- Where You Live Shouldn't Determine If You Live: North Dakota Mission: Lifeline” with authors, Thomas Haldis, DO, Jeffrey Sather, MD, Karthik Reddy, MD, Robert Oatfield, MD, Yassar Almanaseer, MD, Rabeea Aboufakher, MD, Mindy Cook RN BSN, Pamela Moe, RN BA  was published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes and poster presentation at QCOR.  

Mission: Lifeline is a strategic initiative to save lives and reduce disability by improving emergency readiness and response to heart attack patients. Heart disease is the number one killer in North Dakota and nationally.  A statewide initiative was implemented for pre-hospital recognition, education, triage, and treatment of STEMI patients to the most appropriate reperfusion strategy.  Results released in the abstract had marked improvements in several measures in ND aggregate data from Quarter 3 2012 to Quarter 3 2013.

  • The ND Mission: Lifeline composite score 93% (557/ 596) to 97% (471/482)
  • 1ST EKG obtained Pre-hospital 46% (56/122) to 76% (92/121)
  • ED Arrival to First In-Hosp ECG % within 10 minutes 66.% (81/122) to 84% (103/122)
  • Arrival to Primary PCI <= 90 min. from 86% (32/37) to 100% (43/43)

To read more on this presentation, CLICK HERE.  

A poster presentation at the Society for Chest Pain Conference titled: "Improving Rural STEMI Care through Multi-State Sharing and Collaboration" was authored by: Jeffrey Sather, MD Trinity Health, Tomasz Stys, MD Sanford Health, Richard Mullvain, RPH, BCPS Essentia Health, Gary Myers, MS, NREMT, Mindy Cook, RN, BSN, Pam Moe, RN, CPHQ, Michelle Gardner, MBA, American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate.  To view this presentation, CLICK HERE.  

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