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Knowing Which Medical Products Are Best for Each Person -- It Just Makes Sense

Check out American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown's latest Huffington Post blog post about the need to address health disparities in clinical trials.  

"Turn on your television at any point during the day or night and you will likely run across an ad for a prescription drug, along with a disclaimer about possible side effects. It seems only logical that those side effects are a possibility for anyone who takes the medicine, regardless of gender, race or age.

Unfortunately, that logic is wrong.

Studies of drugs and medical devices do not always report what effects these treatments may have on women, minorities or the elderly. Worse yet, those effects are not always investigated, as members of those populations are often underrepresented in trials -- despite the fact gender, race and age makes people more prone to certain diseases."  Read the full article on the Huff Post Healthy Living Blog. 

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Spring Has Sprung and So Has Budget Season!

It’s that time of year again.  While we wait for the cherry blossoms to bloom in Washington, D.C., budget discussions are heating up between the White House and Capitol Hill. 

On March 4th, the President released his budget proposal for 2015 and now Members of Congress are working to establish their funding priorities to begin the appropriations process and eventually pass a budget.  And that’s where you come in! 

With tight economic times, we need to continue to make the case for heart disease and stroke research and prevention funding that helps drive innovation, cuts health care costs, improves the health of our workforce, protects the health of our youngest generations, and saves lives.  Basically, your lawmakers need to hear from you that the fight against our nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers, heart disease and stroke, must be prioritized. 

In addition to funding that would help communities support walking, biking, and recreation, and funding for nutrition programs that would improve access to healthy food and nutrition education, the President’s budget included two key issues that deserve a special note:

  • On the positive side, the budget included a public health ‘win-win’ by proposing an increase to the federal tobacco tax, which would help curb youth smoking rates, to pay for efforts to improve early childhood education, which includes nutrition and physical education for our youngest Americans. 
  • On the negative side, the budget proposed near level funding for the National Institutes of Health, which is disappointing for research-advocates who are continuing to push our nation’s lawmakers to restore significant cuts to the NIH that took place last spring.  As our AHA President Dr. Mariell Jessup said in a statement, “With a meager 1 percent increase over last year, President Obama’s proposed budget for the National Institutes of Health is utterly inadequate.”

But the President’s budget proposal isn’t the end of these decisions.  The work now shifts to Members of Congress to consider these proposals, set their priorities, and negotiate to pass a final budget.  In fact, right now, our legislators are submitting their funding priorities to leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and we need your help to speak-up for heart disease and stroke research!  Will you take two minutes to send a quick message to Congress?  

Without us speaking up- loud and clear- for important funding increases to the NIH, we will see progress and innovation in the way we prevent, diagnose, and treat heart disease and stroke slip backward.  From the jobs it creates to the lives it saves, medical research must be made a priority in the U.S..  Speak-up today! 

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An Update from Albany

CPR trainings: AHA recently held a second CPR training day at the state Capitol where lawmakers, staff and visitors could receive free hands-only CPR training.  Did you know Idaho recently became the 13th state to pass CPR in Schools legislation?  Don’t all students in New York deserve the same?  Send a message to lawmakers today to let them know it is time to make CPR in Schools a reality in NYS:  http://www.supportcprinschools.org/

Brianna’s Law passes NYS Assembly:  Legislation to ensure all police officers are certified in CPR every two years passed the NYS Assembly.   American Heart Association volunteers participated in a press conference with the bill sponsors to urge passage of the bill.

Budget: Budget negotiations are in full swing.  Volunteers from the AHA will be headed to Albany to tell lawmakers to make obesity prevention and tobacco control a top priority!   Here’s the next step: Both houses will introduce their one house proposals and then meet for public conference committees.  The state budget is due April 1.

Stroke: In addition, AHA promoted stroke awareness at the Capitol by distributing materials to increase awareness of the warning signs and risk factors for stroke. The materials were available to the public and lawmakers.

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AHA Frustrated by President’s NIH Budget

American Heart Association President Mariell Jessup, M.D., issued the following comment today on President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015:

“With a meager 1 percent increase over last year, President Obama’s proposed budget for the National Institutes of Health is utterly inadequate. Especially when you consider that the NIH has lost more than 20 percent of its purchasing power over the past decade due to medical research inflation. What is basically flat funding will keep the NIH on a downward spiral that will further jeopardize research progress.

Without sufficient investment in research, cures for prevalent and costly diseases such as heart disease and stroke will be delayed. This is particularly troubling because as our nation’s population ages, nearly 44 percent of the public is likely to face some form of cardiovascular disease by 2030 – a disturbing projection. Now is not the time to hold back on the NIH funding needed to support lifesaving medical discoveries.

What’s even more of a concern is that flat funding comes at a time of heightened scientific opportunity. Other countries have figured out that economic growth is tied to innovation and are increasing their investment in scientific research. Russia is planning a 65 percent increase, while China’s funding has grown 26 percent and India has boosted its research budget by double digits.

While we appreciate the president’s gesture to provide supplemental funding to NIH through the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, there is almost no chance Congress will approve the additional support this year. As the annual budget process moves forward, the American Heart Association will continue to advocate for federal funding that will restore the remainder of the sequester cuts and provide for at least modest growth of the NIH’s budget.”

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NYS Legislative session off and running...

State legislators have returned to Albany... and there has been of flurry of activity in the first month back.  Here's what's happening now:

Governor's Budget - 16.2% of adults across the state still smoke.  And 8.5 million adult New Yorkers are considered overweight or obese.  At a time when NYS needs to make obesity prevention and tobacco control a priority, we are concerned that the Executive Budget calls for consolidation of funding for some public health programs - making it difficult to determine the real funding amounts.  It's time to restore transparency - and make tobacco control and obesity prevention a top priority.

CPR in School legislation - Why is it so important to keep pushing for CPR in Schools?  Nearly 400,000 people suffer an out of hospital sudden cardiac arrest each year - and only about 10% survive.  We're happy to report a new bill has been introduced by Senator Mark Grisanti.  While this means we must go back and ask all Senators to sponsor the new bill, we are confident that with strong grassroots supports that we will have a long list of sponsors soon.  AHA continues to highlight schools with successful CPR programs. 

AEDs in Golf courses - Legislation to ensure golf courses are equipped with AEDs is moving quickly thru the Assembly.  The legislation has passed two committees and is currently waiting for a full vote from the Assembly.

Food Marketing to kids - Are food companies targeting unhealthy, high-calorie items to kids?  Are your kids tempted by the shiny toy?  How about letting kids keep the toy and serving a healthier meal at the same time?  Legislation calling for nutrition standards for meals marketed to kids (with a toy or similar incentive) has passed the Assembly Health Committee and is now before the codes committee.

Want to know what you can do to get CPR in Schools passed or how to promote our policy agenda?  Contact: julianne.hart@heart.org

 

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You're Invited!

Throughout American Heart Month, you've helped raise awareness about heart disease in women by wearing red and speaking up about the risk factors we face.  But just how much progress is being made in the fight against our nation's No. 1 killer of women?  To answer that question and more, join us for the 4th Annual State of Women's Heart Health webinar on Wednesday, February 19th at 5:00 pm EST (4:00 pm CST)! 

This LIVE, virtual discussion will feature some of our nation's leading health experts, including Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Director Dr. Gary Gibbons, so come with your questions ready.

To participate, RSVP today!

Do you have friends who may be interested in joining too?  Share this invitation and the registration link (http://bit.ly/1igJnZp) on Facebook! 

 

 

 

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The day has arrived...pulse ox law goes into effect!

American Heart Association volunteers across the state are celebrating the day a critical newborn screening test officially went into effect. For nearly a year, advocates met with their legislators, hosted a press conference, and wrote letters to get the Pulse Ox bill passed and signed into law. Gov. Cuomo signed the law last August and January 27th marks the day it takes effect statewide. The Pulse Oximetry test will be given to every newborn before discharge from the hospital. It is a simple and non-invasive test that measures the level of oxygen in the blood stream. A low level can be an indication of a congenital heart defect, the most common kind of birth defect. Nearly 1 in 100 infants born each year have a congenital heart defect. Pulse oximetry screening is estimated to help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects.

Celebrate with the many families that fought for this law and watch their triumph here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiGXruD5qsQ&list=UUPkvs3GgnM_pGRS42EKFw2g&feature=c4-overview

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NIH Budget Disappointing, Says American Heart Association

Washington, D.C., Jan. 14, 2014 — American Heart Association President Mariell Jessup, M.D., made the following comments today on the FY 2014 federal budget legislation: 

“For months, the American Heart Association has been pressing federal lawmakers to reverse the enormously destructive sequester cuts imposed on the National Institutes of Health. We were disappointed to find out that the new omnibus budget bill does not fully restore these funds.

As a result, the treatments and cures many Americans so desperately need are likely to be delayed – perhaps indefinitely. These cuts have and will continue to pose a serious threat to the extraordinary progress we have made in the fight against heart disease and stroke. We strongly urge Congress to stop placing promising research at risk and increase federal support for the NIH.”

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Patti Mahoney, New Hampshire

December 10th is such an important date to me and my family. Not only was my daughter, Kelly, born on that date, but six hours after her birth… I went into cardiac failure.

After being rushed in to the Intensive Care Unit and placed on 100% life support, my doctors diagnosed me with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy along with ventricular tachycardia. For life saving measures, my cardiologist decided that I needed an automated internal cardioveter device (AICD) implanted. This device has saved my life quite a few times, as my rate went up to 221 and 320 bpm.

It’s been 11 years now and at a recent visit with my cardiologist, it was determined that we should move forward with placing my name on a transplant list for a heart.

The future holds no guarantees for me; however, technology is ever changing. My hopes are that a new innovative solution will arise in the coming years for people suffering with many types of heart disease. In the meantime, I plan on exercising, maintaining a healthy life style, advocating for AHA and raising awareness for the importance of organ donations.

The American Heart Association provides so much for people surviving with heart disease from grants provided for important research to prolong an individual's life. If it wasn't for the continued research the AHA provides, the statistics for mortality rates for heart disease patients would be outrageous. In order to give those individuals a chance of a healthier life style, AHA must continue to provide the education and grants needed to explore many avenues for extending one's life to the best of their ability.

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E-Cigarettes to Be Included in NYC's Smoke Free Air Act!

After a whirlwind effort, New York City Council followed the lead of numerous other states and municipalities on Thursday by expanding the restrictions found in the Smoke Free Air Act.  Beginning in 120 days after enacted, you will no longer be permitted to use electronic cigarettes in the locations covered by our 10-year-old law.   E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine by inhaling a vaporized liquid. The devices often mimic conventional cigarettes in appearance and functionality - and that was the compelling motivation for the American Heart Association to support their inclusion in our clean indoor air law.

While the science is still evolving on the health impact of using these devices, and the content of what is emitted when the user exhales, the AHA is greatly concerned about how these devices could weaken the enforcement of our no-smoking policy. These devices are currently unregulated due to the e-cigarette's reticence to be overseen by the FDA as a cessation tool. As a result, we cannot be certain how these devices are manufactured, marketed or used. The AHA strongly encourages the FDA to regulate these devices as tobacco products. However, until that time, it is appropriate and reasonable for e-cigarettes to be included in clean indoor air laws.

We are thankful for the Council's leadership to help approve this policy. This was bill was passed at a final marathon meeting of this Council session. We expect the Mayor will sign the bill into law before he leaves office on December 31st.

Thanks to all of you - our You're the Cure advocates - for helping to convince our Council Members that this was a prudent step to protect our law.  With a vote of 43-8, I would say they heard you loud and clear!

 

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