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Cameron Croonquist - Summer Intern Highlight

Cameron Croonquist

Hi everyone my name is Cameron.  I am currently a student studying Public Health Policy and Management at Oregon State University and I’m also wrapping up my advocacy internship with the American Heart Association this summer. For the last three months I’ve been working on our effort to ensure all students learn Hands-Only CPR in school by 2015.  I am extremely passionate about improving the quality and longevity of people’s health here in Oregon, so working with the American Heart Association has been a great fit.

My experience at the American Heart Association has been filled with excitement.  I was fortunate to work with many advocates in various Oregon communities who support our effort to educate more people in Hands-Only CPR as well as state legislators throughout the state.  I really enjoyed hearing about the successes regarding CPR education and listening to heartwarming stories where lives were saved.  Improving the health of our communities is a priority of mine, and I’m grateful for the opportunity that the Heart Association has provided me with the opportunity to create a safer community for all of us.  I look forward to using the experiences I’ve gained at the American Heart Association to reach my educational goals at Oregon State University.

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Governor Kitzhaber's Special CPR Message

I couldn’t be more excited to share with you this special message from Oregon’s Governor, John Kitzhaber, and Portland Fire & Rescue. This past spring while driving through downtown Portland, Gov. Kitzhaber spotted a person in urgent need of help. He acted quickly and stepped up to save their life by calling 9-1-1 and performing CPR. A former Emergency Room physician, Gov. Kitzhaber is familiar with lifesaving protocol. He also knows that you don’t have to be a doctor or a governor to save a life—with Hands Only CPR, any bystander can give someone they see collapse double to triple the chance of survival.

It’s simple:

Step 1) Dial 9-1-1.

Step 2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

Please watch this PSA and share it on Facebook to help us spread this lifesaving message. You can also learn more about Hands Only CPR here. (View the message here:

Everyone can and should learn Hands Only CPR—thanks for your help!

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Back to School - Join us as we advocate for healthy kids!

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

Whether or not you’ve got students or teachers in your home who are gearing up to head back to school, we can all agree on the importance of ensuring Oregon’s kids have a bright and healthy future ahead of them.

This time of year, many of us start to notice the kids in our neighborhoods walking and biking to school. Whether or not you see kids making the trek really depends on what neighborhood you live in, since many communities in the Metro area lack sidewalks or bike lanes to safely commute to school. There couldn’t be a more important time to give all kids this opportunity to get moving—1 in 4 kids in Oregon is overweight or obese, and they’re getting less exercise than any previous generation. Already, kids are facing chronic diseases earlier than ever and are threatened with a shorter life expectancy. In light of this, actively commuting to school—and leaving the car behind—has become a critical opportunity to help kids stay healthy. By walking or biking to and from school, Oregon kids can meet 60% of the daily physical activity recommendations. They’re also more likely to perform well in school. That’s why programs like Safe Routes to School are so exciting—by improving street infrastructure and educating parents and students about safety, we’ve as much as quadrupled the number of students getting active at some schools already. Join us this fall as the American Heart Association advocates for a Safe Routes to School program at every school district in the Metro region.

When it comes to healthy food for our kids in school, we’ve made incredible progress by improving nutrition standards. However, the junk food industry still spends $149 billion every year marketing to kids in schools—from logo-covered scoreboards and vending machines to fast food-sponsored school nights, junk food marketing sends the wrong message to our kids. It should be simple: If it’s not healthy enough to serve in school cafeterias, then you shouldn’t be allowed to market it in schools. The American Heart Association is partnering with Upstream Public Health (hyperlink) to ensure we get the junk food marketing out of Oregon schools with legislation in 2015. If you see examples of junk food marketing in your neighborhood schools, please let us know.

One other exciting issue we’re working on is our effort to make sure that every student in Oregon learns Hands-Only CPR in school. In less time than it takes to watch a TV sitcom, students can learn a skill that equips them to save the life of a loved one or a stranger. It’s simple: Dial 9-1-1, and then push hard and fast in the center of the chest. Nearly 400,000 cardiac arrests happen outside the hospital every year, and less than 11% of people survive—largely because there wasn’t someone there to step up and quickly perform CPR. Since the AHA started promoting Hands-Only CPR as an easier and just-as-effective option for the public, 18 states in the US have already made Hands-Only CPR a requirement for students. In Oregon, we could put 45,000 new lifesavers into our communities every year with this policy. There are some programs already at work in Oregon, from Medford to West Linn, Hood River to Clackamas, communities have come together to prove teaching Oregon students Hands-Only CPR is not only simple and possible—it’s effective and life-changing. Join us as we advocate for a bill in the 2015 legislature that would make Hands-Only CPR a part of every Oregon student’s curriculum.

With all of this important work ahead of us, we’re going to need your help. Please let me know if you’re interested in helping us tell the stories, share the expertise, and urge our decision makers to put Oregon kids’ health first—

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Amanda Lindsay

Amanda Lindsay

My name is Amanda Lindsay and I am excited to be interning for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association this summer, so that I can gain hands on experience in the different areas of Public Health and become more involved in my community.

I currently reside in Oregon City, Oregon. I am in the process of completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health with the option of Promotion and Behavior at Oregon State University. I am also in the process of completing a Psychology minor.

I have experienced loss in my family due to lack of education and motivation to seek help early and this is why I have chosen public health as a career. I have a passion for health promotion and disease prevention and this internship is paving the way for me to work towards a healthier and safer Oregon. The American Heart Association has allowed me to take charge and speak up in the community while working towards making Hands-Only CPR a graduation requirement in Oregon High Schools by 2015.

These past two months have been very busy as I have been working on the Hands-Only CPR in Schools campaign. I have been able to meet and connect with people from all over the state of Oregon as they have shared their success stories with me.

One of these inspiring people that I was able to meet with was EMS Officer Bill Conway of Clackamas Fire Department. He shared his input, passion, and knowledge, and is making a huge difference in our community. I was very honored to meet with him.

I also attended Representative Margaret Doherty’s Town Hall Public Safety Event in July where she was joined by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue who taught Hands-Only CPR.

I am thrilled to be working with the American Heart Association on this exciting campaign for Hands-Only CPR this summer. I plan to take the knowledge that I have gained from school and the American Heart Association and continue dedicating my time to promoting healthy behavior in the community. 

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Life is Why - What's yours?

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association unveiled this month Life Is Why, a new way of expressing our message to the public and to decision makers. Life is Why is a concise answer to the question of why we do what we do: We believe everyone deserves to live a healthier, longer life. Why? Life. Life is why.

Life Is Why represents a strategic shift for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.  It’s designed to help us reach our goal of dramatically improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 2020. The supporting campaign was created to make a more personal connection with the public, volunteers, employees and partners, while strengthening AHA’s visibility and impact.

The Life Is Why is a national campaign, including digital, print, television, social media and public relations. The reveal of Life Is Why began with a video announcement in Times Square in New York City, culminating a two-week teaser campaign. I hope you’ll take a moment now and watch it here.

Nancy Brown, the CEO of the American Heart Association, had this to say: “The very essence of the campaign is personal and evokes an emotional response. We wanted people to be able to be able to share with others the reasons for embracing a healthy lifestyle in heart and mind.”

Here in Oregon, we kicked off this exciting new conversation with our own staff. We shared the moments, the people, the places that we believe make life worth living. I was so touched to hear about what drives my colleagues to do the inspiring work of making Oregon a safer and healthier place to live. 

 Laughter is why.

Adia is why.

Nature is why.

Hugs from my dad is why.

The good life is why.

Personally, fairness is why for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to quality health care, nutritious food, physical activity—the opportunity to be healthy so I could get down to the business of living life. I believe in AHA’s mission and I work every day because I believe everyone deserves this chance—and unfortunately, we have a long way to go in Oregon to make that a reality. Efforts like CPR in Schools, Safe Routes to Schools, and tobacco control policies all help ensure that all Oregonians can lead healthier lives.  

Direct citizen engagement and social sharing is a big part of the Life Is Why campaign. A microsite,, features a toolkit designed to give you the ability to customize and share your personal Whys.

So I invite you to share your personal Why with us! Visit and let us know why you care about the important work of the AHA. We know our work touches your life and the lives of others every day and we know there’s more work to do. Why do you care?

I can’t wait to hear from you and start sharing your Whys with our staff, our volunteers, and decision makers right here in Oregon.

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Mark Your Calendar for the EmpowerMEnt Challenge!

We’re gearing up for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and we want you to be in on all of the action!  Throughout September, we’re encouraging families across the country to take control of their healthy by participating in the EmpowerMEnt Challenge.  Each week, families and kids will pursue a different goal, including eating more fruits and veggies, limiting sugary drinks, reducing sodium intake, and increasing physical activity.  Each goal is fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family.  And by the end of the month, families will be a step ahead on the road to a heart-healthy life. 

So mark your calendar for the challenge kick-off on September 1st!  Complimentary templates and activities, broken down into the themed weeks, are now available on  In addition, you're invited to join our EmpowerMEnt Challenge Facebook group, where you can make the commitment to take the challenge and share your progress with others.  

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Advocate Spotlight - Brittany Badicke

Brittany Badicke, Oregon

My name is Brittany Badicke, and I’m one of AHA’s Oregon Advocacy Interns. This summer, I’ll be working on our Tobacco Control efforts, with the ultimate goal of giving more Oregonians access to resources to help them quit smoking, and ensuring fewer actually start smoking. Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of disease in Oregon.

I grew up in Longview, Washington and after graduating high school became a Certified Nursing Assistant, and began pre-requisites for nursing school. Thinking acute care was my niche, and with more opportunity to work in an acute care setting in Oregon, I earned my CNA II acute care license and moved to Portland, Oregon. After years of working as a CNA, and meeting several patients that were suffering from preventable diseases, I realized that my passion is in health promotion and disease prevention, which led me to pursue a degree in health education.

Currently, I am a Health Studies student at Portland State University where I will graduate with my Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education in March of 2015. After graduating, my goal is to put my undergraduate degree and passion for promoting healthy behavior to use in the field before applying to the dual MPH/MSW program at Portland State University.

In the future, I’d like to dedicate my time to promoting healthy behavior focusing on education and systematic change, which is why I am beyond thrilled to be an intern for the American Heart Association! I am excited about this wonderful opportunity to learn and practice advocacy skills while gaining hands-on experience that is impossible to learn in a classroom, as well as to meet and work with like-minded people that are actively working for healthier communities.

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Safe Routes to Schools: Let’s give every kid a healthy future

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

This year, Metro Council will decide on critical funding that could give every kid a chance at a healthier future through Safe Routes to School programs. (The Metro Area covers Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties in NW Oregon.) 

A Dangerous Trend for Oregon’s Kids

Our kids are getting less exercise than any previous generation. This is a major factor to one in three kids in the U.S. being overweight or obese, and it’s leading to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension—and eventually early death. Something as simple as walking to school every day isn’t an option for many families in the Metro area. Too many communities lack safe sidewalks, bikeways and crosswalks. Our kids who most need opportunities for physical activity often don’t have safe routes for walking or biking to school.

Healthier Kids, Safer Communities

Kids that can safely walk and bike to their neighborhood school get regular physical activity and do better in school. To ensure that’s an option for all families, Safe Routes to School programs make streets and crossings within the mile-radius of schools safer; empower communities to take charge of their own health and safety with bike and pedestrian safety education; and create communities of families walking and biking together through fun, school-based events.

Safe Routes to Schools Works

Some Metro area schools have received funding since 2006 for robust Safe Routes to School programs. Schools with well-supported programs have seen walking and biking to school quadruple in one year. We can and should do more to ensure every kid in the Metro area has a chance at a healthy future. Over 60,000 kids in the Metro area could be walking and biking to school after just one year of a robust regional Safe Routes to School program.

Every School District in the Metro Region

When it is safe, convenient and fun to walk to school, our children are healthier, our streets are safer for everyone, and our communities thrive. Safe Routes to School programs could bring every community in the Metro Region:

-          Healthier kids ready to learn

-          Safer neighborhood streets for all residents

-          Kids equipped with crucial bike and pedestrian safety education

-          Thriving neighborhoods that foster community

-          Opportunities for physical activity for kids who need it most

This year, Metro Council will decide on critical funding that could give 150,000 kids a chance at a healthier future. If you live in Multnomah, Clackamas, or Washington counties, we’ll be asking you to join us in urging regional leaders to fund Safe Routes to School programs at every school district in the Metro Area.

Updates and opportunities to take action to come throughout the summer and fall. If you’re interested in helping sooner, please email

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Have a Heart Healthy Summer

Guest Blogger: Kami Sutton, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator

Happy Summer, You’re the Cure Advocates! As the temperatures are rising and we are all preparing for the fun activities of summertime, I thought I would share with you my favorite low sodium summertime recipe! As a congenital heart defect survivor and someone who is in a constant battle against Congestive Heart Failure, I have learned how to eat a healthy low sodium diet.

Even for healthy hearts it is important to eat a well-balanced diet to prevent heart disease and that includes a diet low in sodium and processed foods. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further.

With that in mind I present to you a delicious low sodium recipe to take to your next summer picnic or BBQ!

Black Bean Salad (or Salsa)

6 servings


About $0.84 per serving


1 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans, drained

1 15-ounce can no-salt added or low-sodium kernel corn, drained or ¾ cup frozen corn, thawed

1 medium red bell pepper or 1 tomato diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic from jar

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime


Toss all together, chill at least one hour.

TIP: Serve this as a side salad to a meal or warm in microwave and use as a filling for tacos!

For nutrition facts and links to more healthy recipes, visit:

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Do You Know How to do Hands-Only CPR?

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

Last week was National CPR Awareness Week and there’s one important thing you can do to save more lives this month.  

Too few Oregonians know how simple it is to learn and perform Hands-Only CPR—but with your help, we can change that.

Would you share this video PSA about Hands-Only CPR on Facebook? Educating your friends and family members is one of the best ways to spread the word.

You can copy and paste this message into your Facebook status: 

WOULD YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO? Last week was National CPR Awareness Week and every Oregonian should know Hands-Only CPR. Step 1: Call 9-1-1. Step 2: Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives. You could save the life of a loved one or a stranger. Watch this video and please share. #HandsOnlyCPR #OregonCPRweek -

Unfortunately, 90% of people that suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital don’t survive, and most people don’t know what to do in those emergency situations. But every Oregonian can learn Hands-Only CPR in a few short minutes, and be equipped to save the life of a loved one or a stranger.

That’s why we’re working right now to make Hands-Only CPR a requirement for all Oregon high school students. Doing so would put 45,000 new lifesavers into our communities every year.

If you’re not a Facebook user, you can still help! Just send out the message in an email to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.

I’d love to hear from you—so please send me a note to let me know you’ve shared this important message and why it matters to you. You can email me at, or just click reply to this email.

Thanks so much for your help.

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