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Maine Goes Red!

Friday, February 5th we celebrate national Go Red for Women day.  I love this day.  It is really great to go from one event to another and see everyone sporting their red.  I am looking forward to educating the people who I encounter about the risks of cardiovascular disease to the women they love.

I plan to start the day by providing my yoga class with some red dress pins.  Then it is off to Portland for a press conference with the new mayor.  My husband’s cousin, a Maine College of Art student, will be volunteering as Ticker at the event, so I will be sure to post pictures.

The legislature is not in session on Friday, but after the press conference, I will be headed to a meeting with a Senator and some American Heart Association volunteers to discuss ways to ensure Maine accepts the federal funds available to provide Maine women (and men) with access to affordable health care. 

We will be discussing the bad news, that heart disease is the number one killer of women—killing more women that all forms of cancer combined—approximately one woman every minute.  However, we will also be celebrating that over the past decade, cardiovascular disease in women has decrease by more than 30% with 285 fewer women dying per day.  Better access to health care will drop those numbers even further.

I hope you enjoy Go Red for Women day too.  I also hope you post pictures of yourself looking fabulous in red.  Remember to use the hashtag: #MaineGoesRed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Governor Cuomo's 2016 budget proposal doesn't do enough!

On January 13, Governor Cuomo laid out his 2016 agenda in a combined State of the State and budget address in Albany.  

While my colleague Martha and I sat in the Convention Center and anxiously waited to hear how Governor Cuomo would be supporting programs that protect New Yorkers from heart disease and stroke, we were disappointed to find out that there was nothing included in the executive budget that would aid healthy food access or CPR in Schools support.

The Governor and the state legislature share the responsibility for how New York organizes its budget. It is critical that the final budget include funding for health-related programs we know will save our state money by improving the health of all New Yorkers.

Help us tell Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders to invest in the American Heart Association budget priorities!

Click here for more information about the New York Healthy Food and Healthy Communities fund.

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Your Advocacy Team is Hitting the Road in 2016!

Mark your calendars to join us in 2016!  The North Carolina AHA Government Relations Team: Betsy Vetter, Sarah Jacobson and Kim Chidester will be traveling across the state (from Asheville to Wilmington!) to offer 5 in-person Advocacy Training Sessions.

In these workshops, we will offer education on our 2016 policy issues, an advocacy coaching session with a fun twist, and training on how to interact with your lawmakers.

Choose the workshop(s) you’d like to attend:

[Triangle] February 9th, 2016 from 11:30am – 1:30pm at AHA Offices [3131 RDU Center Drive, Morrisville]
[Charlotte] February 10th, 2016 from 5pm – 7pm at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church [517 Baldwin Avenue, Charlotte]
[Asheville] March 24, 2016 from 5pm – 7pm at Mission Health, Biltmore Park [First floor Community Room, 310 Long Shoals Rd, Arden, 28704]
[Wilmington] April 13, 2016 from 11:30 to 1:30p: Location to be finalized

In these workshops, we will be offering an issues-training around the following policy initiatives:

  • Healthy Corner Store Initiative
  • Closing the Coverage Gap
  • Tobacco use prevention and cessation programs
  • Issue in the pipeline: Active Transportation

We hope that you will save the date that works the best for you to join us in person, and be sure to watch your email over the next few weeks for reminders about these trainings. If you would like to join, please RSVP to Kim Chidester.

Also, we will be offering another opportunity to engage alongside us as we meet directly with your lawmakers!  Please mark your calendar to join us on May 10 as we prepare for our 2016 NC Lobby Day!

See you soon, North Carolina!

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We Are Making Things Happen in South Carolina!

We are excited to kick off 2016 in South Carolina!  This year, session is expected to be eventful and productive.  Please check out our legislative priorities below.  We hope you will join us as we continue our exciting and life-saving work in the Palmetto State!

CPR Training in Schools
Require Hands-Only CPR training as part of the already required health education class for high school students.  Right now, less than 11% of people suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survive, and training a new class of young citizens in CPR every year can change this frightening statistic. 

We’ll also be working to: 

  • Require schools to implement the beverage and snack guidelines in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Interim Final Rule Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools.
  • Fully fund the Stroke Systems of Care Act of 2011 setting up a statewide stroke registry. Data analysis from the registry will ensure stroke patients receive the best available care for their condition.
  • Require Medicaid to cover cessation services for current tobacco users including both counseling and pharmacotherapy with no or minimal cost sharing.

Also, please be sure to watch your email for upcoming opportunities to join us in 2016!  Kim Chidester, your Grassroots Director, will be traveling across the state (from Columbia to Charleston!) to offer 3 in-person Advocacy Training Sessions.  As these dates and locations are set, we will be sure to let you know so you can mark your calendars.

Thanks for being by our side!  We couldn’t do this without you. You’re the Cure advocates work to support and advocate for public policies that will help improve the cardiovascular health of Americans and reduce deaths by coronary heart disease and stroke.   If our voice is loud enough this session, we can impact the lives of South Carolinians for many years to come! 

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Neal Reynolds

Neal Reynolds, Maryland

Neal Reynolds was never an active advocate until his passion for telemedicine collided with a policy opportunity. As a physician who has spent a lot of time over the years working in hospital intensive care units, he has unique insight into how policy change for telemedicine would save lives. "It's very powerful to work at this level, where you can push for legislation that would change entire systems of care for maximum impact. I am excited about broadening the scope of telemedicine through public policy opportunities, bringing treatment to people who might not otherwise receive it."

Neal (center top in photo) says he was initially intimidated by the legislative process, but AHA staff helped him with what to do and how to approach legislators. When asked how he would counsel other You're the Cure members to prepare themselves for a higher level of advocacy, he offered these words of advice: 

  • Realize you don't have to be afraid of it. Swallow any discomfort, do your homework and you'll do fine.
  • Find someone who knows the ropes, like I did with AHA's Government Relations Director in Maryland, and let them guide you. 
  • Be honest and sincere. Share the passion you have for the issue and make it personal when you talk about it.

Neal wrote letters and provided written testimony to help legislators understand the importance of the telemedicine bills. "The legislators wanted my input, even asked what they could do to help! I wish I'd known about this avenue for change years ago."

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A New Year in Connecticut

The legislature is getting ready to go back to work and I am excited about all the great policies we are going to be working on. We have made great progress on ensuring that our schools aren’t serving unhealthy foods, so why are they allowed to advertise them in schools? We think that schools should not allow the marketing of unhealthy foods that do not meet Connecticut’s school nutrition standards. We also think we have an opportunity to provide healthy food and beverages in vending machines in all state owned and operated buildings.

We also have an opportunity to secure much needed funding to ensure that we are able to construct bikeways and walkways, provide for safe routes to schools and provide incentives to schools that promote shared use of school facilities. We also believe that we can improve the quality of care provided to the residents of Connecticut by creating a stroke system of care. We look forward to working with you to ensure that we are improving the lives of Connecticut residents.

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Investing in Good Health

Now that we have a full team in place to help lead the AHA's advocacy in Albany, we are full steam ahead!  This past week, Kristin, Martha and Robin met with key staff members from Governor Cuomo's office who are helping to craft his focus for the upcoming state budget.  With so many important initiatives to consider by the administration, the AHA is working hard to elevate the need to invest public dollars in areas where there is the best possible opportunity to improve New Yorkers' health.

As you no doubt have seen, our topmost priority this year is to reinstate New York's focus on healthy food retail.  In the past, the state's support has resulted in 20 new food markets, all built in neighborhoods that needed them the most.  Our work is not yet done - 32 of New York's 62 counties still have significant burdens regarding access to healthy foods.  To learn more about our proposed solution, and to send a message to Governor Cuomo and other state leaders, please visit the Action Center and make sure you respond to the posted alert!

Our meeting with the Governor's office also covered top priorities addressing chronic disease in the state budget such as diabetes prevention, controlling hypertension, and improving tobacco control.  A new request for the AHA this year is to ask for devoted funds to support schools who would like to implement a more robust CPR training program for students.  Making sure that the CPR in Schools law is fully implemented, and encouraging schools to go beyond the basic training, is something we can all get behind!

As the Governor's executive budget proposal is due in just a few weeks, please continue to respond to any action alerts you find in your inbox!  It's important that our state leaders hear from us often in order to keep our requests top of mind.  Stay tuned for updates as budget discussion continues!

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Minnesota You're the Cure Advocacy Summit - 2015

Last month we held the 2nd Annual You're the Cure Advocacy Summit in Minnesota for our insider advocates!

Our insiders started the day introducing themselves and painting their favorite fruit or vegetable.

 

 

 

The theme of the summit this year was "INSPIRED." Throughout the day advocates told us how they are inspired through the training and projects provided.

One of the new things brough to this year's summit was THE LEGISLATIVE GAMES, where advocates split into two teams and set up how the legislative process is run on game boards. At the end of the game, Annie threw in a wild card at them, one was what happens if your bill doesn't get signed by the Governor? Adovcates then had to show more ways that they reach the Governor and get them to sign, run a social media campaign, get petition cards signed, etc.

See more pictures from this year's summit HERE

Want to be a YTC Insider and be at next year’s summit? Start taking action at www.yourethecure.org and move up in ranks!

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