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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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Junk Food in Oregon Schools

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that Oregon has been leading the way in improving school food since 2007.  That was the year that Oregon passed a law restricting junk food in schools, and also launched our nationally-recognized Farm to School and School Garden program. 

But now, seven years later, junk food is still being marketed at Oregon schools. There’s something wrong with this picture.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, junk food companies spent $2 billion in one year marketing to kids.  Ads targeting children promoting sugar-sweetened beverages and unhealthy foods undermine everyone’s efforts to promote healthy options and to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.  That’s why the American Heart Association is working to pass a law eliminating the junk food marketing in Oregon schools.

It’s simple: If foods don’t pass Oregon’s nutrition standards for what can be SOLD in schools, they shouldn’t be MARKETED in schools, either.

Now we have a chance to get junk food marketing out of schools here in Oregon—and I am asking for your help. We need stories and pictures of junk food marketing in Oregon schools… and the school year is about to end

So I am asking for your last-minute help.

Will you send me a DESCRIPTION or a PICTURE of junk food marketing at your school?  Please say WHERE and WHEN the picture or story is from

Email your stories and photos to

(If you do not have kids in school or if you don’t work at a school, please help us out by forwarding this message to a few friends or relatives who do!)

What does junk food marketing in schools look like? Here are a few ways it happens in schools:

-          Ads on vending machines, scoreboards, banners, book covers, and athletic uniforms

-          Benefit nights at fast food restaurants

-          Fundraiser sale items like cookie dough, pizza and doughnuts

-          Channel One TV

-          Donated classroom materials, such as math or reading worksheets

-          Pizza or junk food coupons as awards

-          Box top programs

And of course, there are other ways too, so I appreciate you sharing what you see in your school.

Thank you in advance for your help, in the form of stories, descriptions, or pictures. 

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Grateful for Grace: Volunteering for Healthier Kids

We have a lot of work to do over the next few months and it’s only with the help of volunteers that we’ll be able to accomplish our goals for a healthier and safer Oregon. I wanted to introduce you to one of those important people, Grace Clark, our newest advocacy volunteer.

Grace is working as a Research and Outreach Coordinator on two of our obesity prevention campaigns: Junk Food Marketing (banning it in schools, that is) and Safe Routes to Schools (ensuring kids have safe, active ways of getting to school). Both of these efforts are part of AHA’s national initiative, Voices for Healthy Kids.

Grace comes to Oregon by way of the University of New Mexico, with a BS in Nutrition/Dietetics. She is currently a dietary aide at a rehab and specialty care hospital. Grace is excited to gain experience advocating for policy and would like to become a Registered Dietician. New to Oregon, she is happy to be here and loving the greenery.

Here’s what Grace wanted to share with you about why she cares about ensuring everyone has a chance to make healthy lifestyle choices:

“When I started school at the University of New Mexico I didn’t know what I wanted to study. Because I had always been involved in the theaters in my schools and community, it seemed like the logical next step to get involved in theatre in college. Long story short, I did not like the theater program at UNM and was in great need of a change.

“During this time I had started to develop certain health issues that caused me to pay very close attention to what I ate, this lead me to become fascinated by food and how it can make/break your body. Plus, I started dating a chef, so it was a natural progression for my life to become centered on food. After taking my first formal nutrition course I discovered that there was an actual major called Nutrition/Dietetics, and the rest is history!

“I officially became a Nutrition/Dietetics major and the deeper I got into the program the more passionate I became about reaching out and helping others, especially those who may be unable to help themselves. I am still unsure about my exact path, but through this opportunity with the AHA I am discovering a whole new way to fulfill my passion. I am excited about working with everyone and look forward to where this opportunity will take me!”

Feel free to send Grace a note of welcome, or to let her know if you’d like to get involved on either of these campaigns:

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Sheila Ramerman - A Caregiver at the Heart of It All

Sheila Ramerman, Oregon

Survivors of stroke can face enormous challenges as they recover and rehabilitate—physical, mental and emotional. And by their side are their loved ones, who care for them through it all. A stroke survivor’s family is often the most important source of long-term support during recovery and rehabilitation.

With National Stroke Month upon us, I wanted to take a moment to recognize those special caregivers. Sheila Ramerman’s story of caring for her husband, Jack, is one that is all too often untold. And their story isn’t over—it’s one they continue to live every day in Eugene, Oregon. 

In 2008, Jack suffered an ischemic stroke on the right side of his brain. He was just shy of 61.

Immediately, Shelia had to take over all of the household chores and financial responsibilities. During the three months that Jack was in the hospital and in-patient rehab, Sheila had to make some major life changes, drastically limiting her work hours. Even after Jack returned home, for the next two to three years, Sheila was only able to work about half as much as she had before.

The financial burden for families of stroke survivors can be immense and ongoing. Sheila and Jack emptied a retirement savings account to pay for caregivers, so Sheila could work even part-time to pay for continuing outpatient therapy for him, and to qualify for Medicaid assistance. And while Medicaid now pays for his caregivers based on the level of his disability and picks up what Jack’s health insurance does not, Sheila still faces much of the responsibility of daily family life on her own. She is responsible for all of their finances as well as scheduling Jack’s appointments, keeping track of his medications, scheduling his caregivers, and more.

“Everybody thinks of the physical effects of a stroke—the things that are readily visible—but not of the emotional or cognitive effects that can result, depending on the kind of stroke,” Sheila says. “I know I certainly didn't have any knowledge of these ‘invisible’ effects.  I think that's something that needs a lot more publicity and education because those are the effects that make recovery so much harder.”

To provide greater support to caregivers for stroke survivors in your life, we have a set of resources and a network to help.  

Here in Oregon, the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association is working to prevent stroke, while also working to ensure that victims have access to the best stroke care possible. Through our advocacy work, we educate decision makers, provide expert opinions, and share evidence-based research as we advocate for policies that will do just that. Read more about our latest Oregon victory on stroke here (insert link to the other newsletter article on SB 375).

Our sincerest thanks to Sheila for her courage as a caregiver and in sharing her story. Too many stories just like Sheila and Jack’s never get shared, but we’re working to change that. Please let us know if you have a story to share with us—you can share it right here on You’re the Cure.

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The State of Stroke in Oregon

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

This May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and in Oregon, where stroke is the No. 1 preventable cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death, I wanted to share our exciting progress on this issue.

Stroke in Oregon

More than 86,000 people in Oregon have had a stroke. A stroke is essentially an attack on the brain and is a true emergency. There is a phrase amongst stroke providers that ‘time = brain’. With every second lost during or after a stroke, brain function is lost. Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, taking appropriate action, and getting the best care as quickly as possible are all essential steps for a patient’s survival and recovery.

Unfortunately, Oregon stroke death rates have historically been higher than the national average. What does stroke in Oregon look like?

  • In 2011, nearly 2,000 Oregonians died from stroke.
  • There were nearly 8,000 stroke hospitalizations in 2011 with an average medical cost of $32,723 and a total medical cost of more than $250 million.
  • Stroke disproportionally affects lower-income individuals. Additionally, incident of stroke and death rates are consistently higher among African Americans, American Indians, and Latinos.
  • Smokers are 40 percent more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers.

The realities of stroke are an enormous challenge for families and individuals in Oregon. Survivors like Gordon remind us that fighting stroke begins with all of us—just knowing how to spot one can make all the difference in the life of a victim. (If you don’t know F.A.S.T., please take a moment today to learn it and share it with others.)

A Recent Victory at the State Capitol

At the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association, we are working to prevent stroke, while also working to ensure that victims of stroke have access to the best care possible. Through our advocacy work, we educate decision makers, like those in the State Capitol; provide expert opinions, like those of Dr. Ted Lowenkopf, a Stroke Neurologist and Medical Director of the Providence Stroke Center; and share evidence-based research.

Last year, we celebrated a major victory when we successfully championed and passed Senate Bill 375 in the Oregon Legislature. This bill established a statewide Stroke Care Committee and Stroke Data Collections System.

The newly established committee will be responsible for analyzing data collected by the state to help inform stroke providers on best practices for stroke care and advise the Oregon Public Health Division on treating and preventing strokes.

As the newly established Stroke Care Committee comes together this spring, we look forward to a life-saving collaboration that will help Oregonians across the state prevent and fight stroke

Your Help is Key

Moving forward, help from our You’re the Cure advocates will be just as important as ever.

Share your story and expertise - From survivors and caregiviers to stroke providers and community leaders, it’s going to take all of us speaking up to continue this important work. If you would like to get involved in our work to advocate for stroke prevention and care, please contact me at

Know how F.A.S.T. - If you don’t know how to spot a stroke, please learn F.A.S.T. here—it just takes a minute. And don’t forget to share with people you know this month. You can also download the free F.A.S.T. app below:







With you by our side, we can prevent death and disability from stroke in Oregon.

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Take Control of Your Health

Did you know high blood pressure has also been called the “silent killer”? That’s because its symptoms are not always obvious, making the need for regular check-ups important.  As we recognize High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, here are the facts:

• High blood pressure (aka: hypertension) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

• It’s the leading risk factor of women’s deaths in the U.S., and the second leading risk factor for death for men.

• One-third of American adults have high blood pressure. And 90 percent of American adults are expected to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes.

• More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic black adults have high blood pressure. Not only is high blood pressure more prevalent in blacks than whites, but it also develops earlier in life.
• Despite popular belief, teens, children and even babies can have high blood pressure. As with adults, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce or prevent the harmful consequences of this disease.

Now that you know the facts, what can you do to take control? The answer is a “lifestyle prescription” that can prevent and manage high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle includes exercise, stress management, and eating a healthy diet, especially by reducing the sodium you eat. To learn more about taking control of you blood pressure, be sure to visit our online toolkit!

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A Hands-On Advocate - Josh Moore

Josh Moore is saving lives, and he wants to make sure you know how to as well. A firefighter paramedic with the Eugene and Springfield Fire Department, Josh’s leadership in the community and in the State Capitol will put thousands of new lifesavers on the streets.

Josh, who has worked in Oregon as a professional firefighter paramedic for 13 years, is the program creator and coordinator of ACT: C3. This community-wide program is aimed at improving survival rates from cardiac arrest. It focuses on the five links in the chain of survival identified by the AHA.

“I named it ACT: C3 because I want people to take action,” Josh said.

Mobilizing students from the University of Oregon and local high school students to teach Hands-Only CPR to middle school students, Josh is demonstrating that big things can be accomplished with collaboration. Last year, thanks to the program, over 3,000 local citizens learned “Hands-Only CPR,” including every middle school student in Springfield. This year he’s up to more of the same. The creation of ACT: C3 earned Josh a Class II Commendation Medal from Eugene Springfield Fire.

Josh knows firsthand how easy it is to train students in Hands-Only CPR –it takes less time to learn than watching a TV sitcom. And he knows how important this is for all of Oregon: Requiring students to learn Hands-Only CPR would equip 40,000 new Oregonians every year to save the life of a loved one or a stranger. That’s why he has brought his experience and passion to AHA’s CPR in Schools campaign.

Josh serves on the Oregon CPR Advocacy Committee that works to advance efforts to teach more Oregonians CPR. At the State Capitol, Josh has met with legislators alongside young adults to advocate for a bill that would ensure students learned Hands-Only CPR before graduating. His voice as a community leader and a professional in emergency cardiac care is invaluable.

Most notably, Josh has a contagious passion for making Oregon a safer place to live. His willingness to generously give his time and enthusiasm to make that happen will have a profound impact for years to come.

At the American Heart Association, we can’t thank Josh enough. Perhaps the best way to show our appreciation is to encourage you to join Josh in advocating for CPR in Schools. As Josh will tell you, it takes everyone in a community to save more lives.

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