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AHA Volunteer Advocates North Dakota

AHA volunteers, survivors, and partners joined for a Heart Month proclamation at the Capitol with Governor Dalrymple. Advocates thanked Governor Dalrymple, who is in his last year, for his support in developing a stronger cardiac and stroke system.  Because of strong support from the Governor, we are making an impact in North Dakota.  From 2011 to 2012, nationwide, age adjusted death rates decreased significantly for heart disease – 1.8% and 2.6% stroke nationwide.  During the same time period, in North Dakota, age adjusted death rates for heart disease decreased 22.3% and stroke declined 38%.  tPA use for stroke improved from 33% to over 80%. We continue to have much work to do to improve our cardiovascular health in North Dakota, but with strong support from our elected leaders, we know we can continue progress already made.  Many thanks to our Governor! 

Meet AHA's Communications Coordinator, Emily Schnacky!

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What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

My career with the American Heart Association began February 2015 when I joined the team as a communications coordinator. I was quickly introduced to the many issues and policies the American Heart Association is actively working on in the state of Minnesota. Knowing that I could make a difference in the health of the community by sending a simple email to my legislators and spreading the word on social media ignited my passion for advocacy. 

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Strengthening physical education in schools and creating safe routes to combat childhood obesity and encourage a more walkable community. This is so important because not only does physical activity help children thrive academically and socially, but it teaches them healthy habits they can carry into adulthood.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Last year’s Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition lobby day was my first experience meeting with lawmakers at the capitol. I’ll admit, I felt a little intimidated at first, but that quickly changed as the other advocates in my district group were so helpful and passionate about policy change. As a group, we gained support from the lawmakers we met with and left the meetings knowing our voices mattered.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Jogging, hiking, biking, yoga – it’s too difficult to pick a favorite.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Strawberries

Bob Elling is a career paramedic, but has many other “jobs,” including educator, author, and four decades of service as a very passionate American Heart Association volunteer. Bob has served in a number of capacities: Founder’s Affiliate board member, Albany Regional Board of Directors, NYS Advocacy Committee and You’re the Cure network advocate, NYS Emergency Cardiovascular Care committee, Volunteer Leadership Committee, as well as national faculty for Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) and regional faculty for BLS, ACLS and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).

Three of his career highlights have been serving as the Basic Life Support Science Editor during the development of the CPR and ECC Guidelines in 2005, helping lead the successful CPR in Schools Campaign in NYS that requires all high schools students to learn this lifesaving skill, and as the Medical Editor of the Nancy Caroline Emergency Care in the Streets paramedic text. He has authored/edited 48 textbooks and hundreds of videos and magazine articles for EMS providers.

Originally trained as a medic in the Bronx (Jacobi 3), he has served as a paramedic in NYC as well as the Capital District of NY for 40 years. Bob’s “other jobs” include Clinical Instructor for Albany Medical Center, faculty for the paramedic program at Hudson Valley Community College, and part-time medic at the Times Union Center and Whiteface Mountain Medical Services. 

Bob lives in Colonie and Lake Placid, NY where he enjoys biking, running (he’s completed 31 marathons!), skiing, hiking, and writing.