American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
Get Ready to Move PHX!

Phoenix Proposition 104, also known as Move PHX, is a comprehensive transportation plan that will expand light rail and bus services and will improve our streets to the benefit of everyone who drives, walks or bikes around Phoenix. This is a unique opportunity for Phoenix to integrate health considerations within community expansion designs to improve Phoenix’s walkability and bike-ability, but Prop 104 needs your vote!

If you haven’t yet, register to vote here or find your voting location here.

If you are interested in voting early, answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.  To find early voting locations, please visit here

In summary, Move PHX (Prop 104) will do the following:

  • Pave 1,080 miles of new bike lanes and improve existing bike infrastructure
  • Pave 135 miles of new sidewalks
  • Triple the number of miles covered by light rail
  • Create more shaded structures at bus stops and Park-and-Ride locations
  • Extend hours of operation for public transportation systems like bus service and Dial-A-Ride service and RAPID service
  • Fund up to $240 million on new roads, upgraded bridges, and place 2,000 new street lights on existing roads

 For more details, please visit here.

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Gearing Up to Go Back to School?

August in Arizona brings several things.  Heat, monsoons, and back to school! 

As our children are gearing up to head back into the classroom, it may be time for your homework. Here are a few questions to consider: Do you know if your local school is participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program?  Do they offer healthy snacks before school and afterschool?  Do they have a local wellness policy? 

Since our children spend the majority of their time in the classroom and at schools, the AHA/ASA believe these are critical questions parents should be asking to ensure our schools to create a healthy environment for our children to establish healthy habits for the rest of their lives. 

The Arizona Department of Education has developed nutritional standards to provide a model of healthy living practices for schools.  More information can be found here.

Nationally, the AHA is working towards full implementation of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA), which address the School Lunch and Breakfast program and have increased the amount of fruits and vegetables that our children are exposed to.  Due to the HHFKA, our students are eating 16% more vegetables and 23% more fruit.  To support our advocacy efforts visit here.

If you have questions about your local schools policies, or want to get involved, please contact Nicole Olmstead or Josh Brown.

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Advocate Spotlight: Joshua Levy

Hey! My name is Joshua Levy and I am an advocacy intern for the American Heart Association--Greater Bay Area!

                Currently, I am a student attending the University of California, Berkeley pursuing a degree in Physics. But don’t let the degree fool you. Although I am interested in the sciences, my true passion lays in helping others and making sure that we all have the potential to live healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.

                I chose to intern for the American Heart Association because of my background in sports, exercise, community outreach and my desire to work in the Public Health in the future. I have been a coach for the Special Olympics for five years and have been coaching youth basketball for one year. These programs, amongst a lot of self-education on these issues, helped me realize that many people did not have equal access to a healthy lifestyle. I witnessed first-hand that some of my players who came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds did not have as much access to physical activities as those who came from more affluent backgrounds. Although this concept was not new to me, it cemented my firm belief in the overarching value of public health and providing everyone with the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle.

                Sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets, as well as neighborhood environmental factors are causing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease to proliferate around the nation, especially in youth. As an athlete, this trend has greatly concerned me as my extensive experience in athletics has made me realize the benefits that one gets from staying active. Furthermore, I believe in the proverbial phrase: “better body, better mind”. Not only do I believe that physical activity results in a healthier body, my research at the AHA supports that there are many cognitive benefits that one can get from staying active.

                So that is exactly my aim this summer working for the American Heart Association: I want to help provide kids the opportunity for equal access to Physical Education. I am working on advocating to local school districts to provide regular and quality Physical Education for their elementary school students. I am digging into the heart of this issue to find out how we can work with school districts so that all kids have the opportunity to grow up learning healthy habits needed to sustain lifelong healthy lifestyles.

                Once again, I am very pleased to be working for the American Heart Association this summer. I hope that my time here will provide me with the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the community and the tools with which to influence change later on in life.

                Together, we can make a difference in the community. All it takes is one heart at a time!

Joshua Levy

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Be CPR Smart this Summer

The temperatures are rising in Arizona, and along with it comes lazy days in the pool.  It’s this time of year that we are especially reminded how important it is to know how to respond in an emergency cardiac event.  4 out of 5 cardiac emergencies occur outside of a hospital setting, and roughly only 10% of victims survive the event.  But immediate application of Hands-Only CPR can double or triple survival rates.

Hands Only CPR takes only 2 minutes to learn, and has only 2 steps.  1) Call 9-1-1 and 2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest at 100 beats per minute.  This is the same as the rhythm in the popular song by the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive.” 

Each year, in Arizona around 5,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest and primarily because they did not get timely bystander CPR.  Why not take two minutes this summer to learn Hands Only CPR? The life you save may be the life of someone you love.

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Test Your Knowledge of Sodium

Take our quiz to find out if you relationship with sodium and salt needs couples therapy!  Click here for the quiz.

You may be asking yourself: What’s the big deal about sodium? How does it affect my heart health?

Sodium is a mineral that’s essential for life. It’s regulated in the body by your kidneys, and it helps control your body’s fluid balance. It also helps send nerve impulses and affects muscle function.

When there’s extra sodium in your bloodstream, it pulls water into your blood vessels, increasing the total volume of blood inside. With more blood flowing through, blood pressure increases. It’s like turning up the water supply to a garden hose — the pressure in the hose increases as more water is blasted through it. Over time, high blood pressure may overstretch or injure the blood vessel walls and speed the build-up of gunky plaque that can block blood flow. The added pressure also tires out the heart by forcing it to work harder to pump blood through the body.

Here’s the scoop on high blood pressure, also known as the “silent killer” because its symptoms are not always obvious:

  • It’s one of the major risk factors for heart disease, the No. 1 killer worldwide.
  • 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.

Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, eating less sodium can help blunt the rise in blood pressure that occurs with age, and reduce your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and even headaches. The extra water in your body can also lead to bloating and weight gain. No wonder the American Heart Association wants you to change your relationship with salt!

Kids aren’t immune to the heartbreak of too much sodium either. Nearly 80 percent of 1-3 year olds and more than 90 percent of 4-18 year-olds in the U.S. get too much sodium, and this can start increasing their risk of high blood pressure when they are as young as 1 year old. Kids who have high-sodium diets are about 40 percent more likely to have elevated blood pressure than kids with lower-sodium diets. This puts them at higher risk for heart disease when they get older.

- See more at:

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Heart Saver Spotlight: Skylar Berry

Every year there are almost 424,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States, and of this figure an estimated 10,200 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen to children.  Sadly, only 10% of victims who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting survive, largely in part because many victims do not receive timely CPR or AED application. 

Do you know CPR? If not, please take two minutes to learn the basics of Hands-Only CPR.

Skylar Berry can attest to the importance of knowing CPR.  In the summer, Skylar and her friends were at a birthday party and one of the attendees was found floating at the bottom of the pool, seemingly lifeless.  Thankfully, Skylar recognized that her classmate was not joking and not breathing and helped pull him from the pool. She checked his pulse, and then realized CPR might be the last resort to reviving her classmate.  Because of her immediate actions, her classmate survived and was back to life as normal within a few days. 

Thankfully Skylar learned CPR techniques in Fire Camp hosted by the Sacramento Metro Fire Department a few weeks prior to the incident.  “I am so glad I learned CPR because it helped save my friend’s life,” said Berry. “It was scary but I was calm and remembered the training I received. I just shouted to the adults to Call 9-1-1 and immediately started doing CPR after we pulled him from the pool.”

Unfortunately, 70% of Americans feel helpless to act during an emergency cardiac situations and only 32% of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR, which largely attributes to low survival rates.

To view the full story, please visit here.

Studies show that teaching students lifesaving skills of CPR techniques in school will empower our youth and put thousands of lifesavers in our community.  Keeping this in mind, Skylar now teaches groups of students at her elementary school Hands-only CPR because she knows that emergency situations can happen at any time and she wants to do her part to put more lifesavers on the streets of her community.

Thank you Skylar for being a Heart Saver and for going above the call of duty to empower your classmates to learn Hands-Only CPR!

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Federal Lobby Day: Step Up to the Plate

Recently, Greater Phoenix Division Board Member Dr. Adriana Perez, attended the American Heart Association’s Federal Lobby Day.  The theme for this event was “Step Up to the Plate.”  Dr. Perez, along with our Government Relations Director, Nicole Olmstead, met with staff from both Senator Flake and Senator McCain’s Office, as well as staff from Representative Sinema and Salmon’s Office.  The highlight of the trip was the meeting with Representative Raul Grijalva. 

Dr. Perez advocated on behalf of the AHA for increased support of NIH Research funding, especially around heart disease and stroke research, and also emphasized the need to reauthorize the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act in its entirety.  During the event, Ms. Olmstead, Dr. Perez and the other nearly 400 volunteers enjoyed a heart healthy school lunch to support how easy and tasty it is to stick to the school lunch guidelines.  Dr. Perez was a strong voice for the needs of all Arizonans and we would like to thank her for her support.

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Lobby Day MVPs in the Spotlight

There were SO many amazing stories surrounding this year’s Hill Day that it was hard to narrow down our annual lobby day award winners. Not a bad problem to have! Please join us in congratulating these You’re the Cure MVPs, and then learn more about their stories in this video.


  • Science Advocate of the year – Dr. David Yu-Yiao Huang: Dr. Huang has been involved with AHA advocacy since 2003. From submitting expert written testimony and attending in-district meetings, to speaking before lawmakers, his passion for policy and his belief in the positive change policy can achieve has contributed significantly to big wins in North Carolina.
  • Volunteer Advocate of the Year – Theresa Conejo: Theresa has been one of the key proponents of Pennsylvania’s comprehensive smoke-free law. Last year, she signed a smoke-free op-ed which was picked up by major news outlets across the state. She also aggressively advocated for the proposed Clean Indoor Law. In addition, she recruits new You’re the Cure advocates at every opportunity. In fact, just recently, she signed up an additional 35 volunteers to join her in Pennsylvania’s smoke-free fight.
  • Survivor Advocate of the Year – Jim Bischoff: Jim’s own struggle with heart disease, as well as his experience with his son-in-law’s stroke, gives him a unique perspective to share during state and federal lobby days and meetings with lawmakers. His family history inspired him to provide leadership on stroke systems of care legislation. He also dedicates his time to tobacco issues, and attends in-district meetings with his lawmaker to discuss both of these important issues.
  • Youth Advocate of the Year – Cassidy Collins: Cassidy uses her story as a congenital heart survivor to illustrate the importance of AHA’s policy issues. At the age of 16, her resume is already quite impressive – she’s met with U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to advocate for tobacco control funding; she has been a top fundraiser for the Roanoke Heart Walk for two years; and she has applied to work as a youth advocate for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Check out a video highlighting our award winners below.

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How to Keep the Winning Game Going

You're the Cure on the Hill isn’t the only opportunity to connect with members of Congress! As their constituents, you have the power and the RIGHT to tell them at any time to step up to the plate on the heart and stroke issues you care about most.

Here are some tips for getting your lawmaker off the bench and into the game:


  • Follow them on social media and send them messages on issues you care about.
  • Sign up for their e-newsletters on their websites. This is a great way to learn about events where you can meet the lawmakers in person and stay informed.
  • Work with your local AHA advocacy staff to schedule an in-district meeting. Members of Congress come home throughout the year on recess breaks, so they use this time to meet with constituents back in the district. Take advantage of their time at home and schedule a meeting to discuss the heart and stroke issues that matter to you and your family.
  • Most importantly, take action year round. Watch your inbox for calls to action from You’re the Cure and continue engaging your lawmaker through emails, phone calls and tagging them in your social media posts.

We had a real impact this week, but we need to keep the momentum going. Let's keep reminding our members of Congress that they need to step up for heart health all year round!

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May is American Stroke Month

Anyone can have a stroke and everyone should be ready.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke and every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke. That is why The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is inviting all Americans to become Stroke Heroes by learning and sharing the warning signs of stroke, F.A.ST. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Recognizing and responding to a stroke emergency immediately can lead to quick stroke treatment and may even save a life. Be ready!

Here is how you can participate in American Stroke Month

  • Share the F.A.S.T. acronym with your friends, family and loved ones throughout American Stroke Month.
  • Share our F.A.S.T. Quiz to test your stroke knowledge.
  • Download our free Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. mobile app to prepare you in case of a stroke emergency and to have easy access.

Go to to learn more about how you can get involved.




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