American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Heart Felt Heart Stone and Legislative Reception

A young volunteer whose life was saved by numerous community members when she suffered multiple cardiac arrests during and after an Essex swim meet is now giving back to help others.

Payton Jones of Vergennes will be honored at the American Heart Association's Legislative Reception from 4:30-6pm on April 10th at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Payton has created Hopeful Heart Stones that she sells to raise money for the American Heart Association and get Vermonters to cherish the heart and life they have.

Each stone comes with the following message:

Little Hearts Hold Big Hopes

"This Hopeful Heart Stone is for you to carry
in your pocket or purse as a reminder to cherish
each day and to be thankful for all of the things
in your life. When things get tough, remember to
reach inside your heart and look for hope to pull you through."

Come to our reception, support our advocacy priorities, meet Payton, and pick up a stone. It'll help your heart and others!


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Get moving Vermont and take some tips from a Vermont Olympian!

If you missed National Walking Day on April 2nd, don't fret. You can still get out and move! 

Come hear Vermont Olympian Andy Newell speak at our legislative reception April 10th at 4:30-6pm at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Newell is a country skier who will talk about his recent experience in Sochi and the importance of physical activity.

Then check out some of the following events that are happening in Vermont and are to get you moving and be healthy.

And Vermonters NEED to get moving! Over 58% of VT adults and nearly 27% of our kids are overweight or obese. One in six Vermont adults didn’t participate in any physical activity last month! And only 13% of Vermont middle school students participated in physical education class every day.

That’s why we’re pushing for legislation to increase PE in schools and offer all Vermonters more places to move, play and exercise. Help us with our advocacy efforts by speaking with your legislators. And help your health by participating in one of the events below:

May 7: Vermont Walk and Roll to School Day and Intergenerational Walk

May 7: National Bike School Day

May 12-16 2014: Way to Go! Week 

Get your clean commute on by walking, biking or car-pooling to school. More info on these events can be found at

September 27th: The American Heart Walk at Oakledge Park in Burlington. Click here to sign up for a walk team today!

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Vermont Superhero Tommy Watson and Governor Kunin

As National Superhero Day, April 28th draws near, we're sending a big "shout-out" to Tommy Watson. Tommy worked with the American Heart Association two years ago to pass legislation requiring Hands-only CPR to be taught in health classes in Vermont schools. And, like the Energizer Bunny, this super kid keeps on going and going and going! Tommy has now trained over 1,300 people this life-saving skill.

Tommy is pictured here teaching former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin Hands-only CPR at the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Luncheon in January. Governor Kunin, by the way, was one of Vermont's first Go Red Leading Ladies helping us spread the word about women and heart disease.

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We need your help in fighting obesity!

We need your help in our effort to provide Vermonters more places to recreate. Legislation which would give schools protection from liability to open their facilities to the community for recreational use has stalled. Though we had some amazing testimony from supporters before the House Education Committee recently, the committee needs to hear from more Vermonters who want this legislation and schools whose concerns over liability may be preventing them from opening their doors to the community.

Here are some key facts. Please write letters to your local papers about this important issue!

  • This legislation provides schools with a tool to open more recreational facilities to Vermonters and help Vermont reduce increasing obesity rates.
  • It would remove barriers and perceived barriers for schools to open their buildings and grounds to the community for recreational purposes.
  • Vermont schools want to be a community resource and have noted liability as one of their top concerns with opening their facilities to the public for recreation.
  • Vermont wouldn’t be alone in addressing this issue – At least 13 states have passed legislation that meets AHA standards. 6 others are working to strengthen their laws.

We can help to address this by opening our schools’ facilities and grounds to communities for recreational activities and giving them the resources to do it by:

  • Providing access to recreational facilities is critical for helping people be more active.
  • School facilities can be an excellent resource for recreation and exercise where there is limited availability or private options are too expensive.
  • Research shows that people who are able to easily access recreational facilities exercise 38% more than those without easy access.
  • Having access to parks and recreational facilities is associated with lower body mass index among children and increased physical activity among adults.
  • Vermont data shows there are significant disparities in access to parks and recreational facilities across Vermont.
  • Franklin County, has a rate of 4 recreational facilities per 100,000 people. It also has a high rate of physical inactive adults – 25% get no physical activity and 29% are obese.
  • In comparison, Washington County has a rate of 18 recreational facilities per 100,000 people. Rates of physical inactivity and adult obesity are comparatively lower --18% of adults get no physical activity and 22% of adults are obese.
  • Providing schools liability protection to open their facilities to the public for recreation will help to level the playing field.
  • Schools can offer a variety of safe facilities, including running tracks, pools, gymnasiums, fitness rooms, and playgrounds for Vermonters of all ages to use at little or no cost.

Click on the link below to take action on our alert:

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Volunteer Ed Adrian Argues for Shared Use Legislation

Burlington Attorney Ed Adrian rallied behind the American Heart Association's effort to pass legislation providing schools with greater liability protection to open their buildings to the community for recreational purposes. Ed testified before the House Education Committee this month telling committee members its not unusual for Vermont to pass legislation providing immunity to a certain group when it benefits the greater good, especially for health. He noted that while some schools may incur costs related to increased use of their facilities, Vermonters overall could benefit from decreased health care spending as we reduce reduce obesity rates via increased physical activity.

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Vermont principals support community use of schools - but are also concerned about liability

The American Heart Association supports legislation providing Vermont schools with greater protection from liability to encourage schools to open their buildings and grounds to the public for recreational use during non-school hours. Research shows people are 38% more likely to exercise when they have parks or creational facilities nearby.

93 Vermont principals who responded to our survey on the issue between October and January supported community recreational use of schools and liability was their greatest concern. See the survey results below. 


Are you in general supportive of community use of your recreation facilities and grounds during non-school hours as a way of providing an opportunity for your community to live a healthy lifestyle?

 Yes – 98.89%

No – 3.33%

Please prioritize what concerns you may have from the list below regarding allowing school building and grounds use after hours? 

  •  Incurring unplanned costs as a result of others using the building – 14.13%
  • Liability for the school if someone is hurt – 27.17%
  • Supervision – 26.09%
  • Damage to the school building – 5.43%
  • Alcohol or drug use on the school premises – 1.09%
  • Safety of users – 9.78%
  • Condition building is left following the activity – 7.61%
  • Disruption of the regular school schedule – 2.17%
  • I don't think about any of these – 6.52%

Please let us know if your school is concerned about this issue. Email

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Tobacco trust fund is needed

Fifty years after the surgeon general first told Americans that smoking causes disease and death, the American Heart Association and other public health advocacy groups have announced bold new goals to end the tobacco epidemic for good, including reducing adult tobacco use to 10 percent.

As the president-elect of the Vermont board of the American Heart Association, and as a nurse, I support these goals and want to urge the Legislature and administration to restore the tobacco trust fund.

This funding is sorely needed or the tobacco control program will be at risk. The trust fund is nearly empty, and we’ll soon lose $10 million to $14 million in tobacco settlement dollars that Vermont has been receiving annually for its role in the settlement with the tobacco industry.

We need to make a long-term and serious commitment to reduce tobacco use in Vermont — providing help for smokers to quit and messaging that will prevent kids from ever taking up the deadly habit. Reinvesting in the tobacco trust fund will help meet the goal of legislators who created the fund in 1999 to ensure we could fight tobacco for years to come.

With smoking costing $233 million in health care spending each year — $72 million of which is Medicaid expenditures directly related to smoking — developing a long-term plan to ensure the health of Vermont’s tobacco control program is a must.

I think it’s more than a coincidence that Vermont’s $8 million settlement with R.J. Reynolds for the company’s deceptive advertising of its Eclipse cigarette happened when it did. This money shouldn’t be looked at as gravy to patch budget holes, but instead should be placed in the trust fund to uphold the promise we made to smokers that we would help them quit and provide the resources to do it.

Julie Morse



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Vermont legislative session begins!

January 7th kicked off the first day of Vermont's legislative session.  Our work to pass legislation fighting heart disease and stroke kicks into full gear.

  • AHA legislative reception – A reminder that our legislative reception will be held February 5th from 4:30-5:30pm at the Cedar Creek Room at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier.  Wine an appetizers will be served and we will focus on two of our advocacy issues: shared use legislation that allows schools greater liability protection to open their facilities to the public for recreational activity during non-school hours and funding for the tobacco trust fund and tobacco program.  Please come and talk with your legislators and support our priorities. RSVP to if you haven’t or know other volunteers who would like to attend.

  • Session begins with some good news on SSB  tax– Governor Shumlin addressed both health committees this morning for the first time regarding health care reform efforts. The Governor promoted his Single Payer Health Care proposal. During the questioning by committee members, Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas noted that the Governor was opposed to a sugar sweetened beverage tax as a health care financing measure last session. But the Governor responded that “everything is fair game and everything is on the table.” So, let’s keep pushing. Photo of Governor commenting is attached.


  •  Tobacco $ should go to tobacco trust fund -- With under $2 million left in its balance (which is expected to be used up this year), the tobacco trust fund needs to be restored for the long-term health of Vermont’s Tobacco Control Program and we’ll be pushing lawmakers to do just that. It was announced this week that Vermont will be receiving $8.3 million in civil penalties from RJ Reynolds for false claims about its Eclipse cigarette. We will be urging the legislature and Administration to place at least a portion of these funds into the tobacco trust fund.


  • Welcome two new AHA advocacy committee members – Doctors Patrick Hohl and John Hughes!  Patrick Hohl DO, MPH, is Chief Medical Resident at the University of Vermont / Fletcher Allen Health Care. John Hughes is a longtime anti-tobacco advocate, physician and researcher at UVM who has previously chaired Vermont’s Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board.

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Where did 2013 go?

Wow! Where did 2013 go? As we celebrate all we did this year, I find myself once again thinking about New Year resolutions.  The perennial favorites are there….eat better, get more exercise, save more money…but these goals are all centered on making my life better.  What if for 2014 we all put more focus on our community goals. Goals that will make life better not just for us, but for our communities as a whole

How about…

  • CPR as a Graduation Requirement
  • Policies fighting Childhood Obesity
  • Pulse Ox Screening for Every Newborn
  • Quality Daily Physical Education for all Students
  • Better Systems of Stroke Care
  • Improved AED Access

That’s just a few. We all live in different places and will have different goals, but we can make them all come true together.

Thank you for all that you do as a You’re the Cure advocate.  Without you we would never be making the progress we are against heart disease and stroke.

And I am excited to see what we can accomplish as a team in 2014!

Heart Disease and Stroke. You’re the Cure.

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