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Save the Date: Arkansas Advocate Summit

We can’t wait to share more details with you, but for now we want to get an upcoming event on your calendar so that you don’t miss this exciting opportunity. We are excited to announce our first Arkansas Advocate Summit, to be held on Saturday, May 21st from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the American Heart Association Office in Little Rock.


The summit will provide an opportunity for advocates from across Arkansas to come together for an educational and inspirational event where you will learn more about how YOU can make a difference in grassroots advocacy and passing heart-healthy policies in our state!

More information coming soon!

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Meet Jessica Westerman

Please meet Jessica Westerman, an amazing American Heart Association advocate that commits time and passion to support the Advocacy Team in our Little Rock, Arkansas office.  Most recently as a resident of Bryant, Jessica has been helping on our Smoke-Free Bryant campaign. 

Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music

Hobbies: Spending time with family & friends, traveling, watching & attending Razorback football games

Kids: Addison (daughter-8 )and Mackenzie (daughter-4)

Pets: Mollie (Maltipoo) and Lindsay (Pekingese pug mix)

Two celebrities I’d like to have dinner with: Julie Andrews & Kenny Chesney

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Why is advocating with the AHA important to you?

”Advocating with the American Heart Association is very important to me, because heart disease and stroke have affected my family. My mom had a stroke in 2009 and thankfully fully recovered. My maternal grandmother died after having a stroke and my maternal grandfather had heart disease for 35+ years before he passed away.

Another reason I’m so passionate about volunteering with AHA is that I was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. Tetralogy of Fallot consists of four abnormalities of the heart; such as a hole in the septum, narrowing of the pulmonary valve, a thick right ventricle and an overriding aorta. I had surgery to correct these abnormalities at birth and 1 year old. I am blessed to be healthy today and haven’t had a valve replacement yet.

I used to be self-conscious about my scar from my open heart surgeries. But, I learned over the years to be proud of that scar. It shows that I am a survivor and it gives me the opportunity to tell my story and bring about awareness of Tetralogy of Fallot. I love volunteering with the American Heart Association and feel like I’m helping make a difference to bring about awareness of heart disease and stroke.”

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Arkansas Works Passes: Still has obstacles

Governor Asa Hutchinson called for a special legislative session last week to vote on his Private Option reform plan titled “Arkansas Works”. Arkansas Works builds upon the success of the Private Option, while creating reforms such as work incentives and improving program integrity. Arkansas Works passed, but will now need to be funded during the fiscal session that begins on Wednesday, April 13th. The American Heart Association has always been a strong advocate for access to affordable health care. We will continue to advocate for funding Arkansas Works, and keep you updated on the progress. We hope that you will continue to raise your voice throughout this process.

Click here to show your support for affordable access to healthcare.

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SmokeFree Little Rock Needs YOU!

SmokeFree Little Rock is continuing its work to make all indoor workplaces free of secondhand smoke, but we need YOU!  The coalition is working to engage partners throughout the community and grow our grassroots support of the campaign in order to create a healthier Little Rock for everyone!   It’s not too late to get involved and make a difference!  

Please contact Matt Henry at Matt.Henry@heart.org for more information.

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Central AR Heart Walk is calling!

We have an exciting volunteer opportunity coming up in your backyard, and we would love to have you there!

On Saturday, May 14th, the American Heart Association will host the Central Arkansas Heart Walk on the North Shore of Riverwalk Park in North Little Rock. Volunteer opportunities are available between 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. We will be at the event promoting the mission of the AHA, and we'd be honored to have volunteers there to help us do this! You can make a difference for this important effort.

Mark your calendar today and please contact Allison Hogue at 501-707-6593 or Allison.Hogue@heart.org to volunteer!

We hope to see you there!

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Meet Christa Coleman

We're pleased to introduce you to You're the Cure Advocate, Christa Coleman, from Lonsdale, Arkansas.

Christa recently attended our Go Red For Women Survivor Gallery Unveiling at the Arkansas State Capitol. Her family had spent the past week at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) with her daughter, Adyson, after she had open-heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect (CHD). Their support team of parents and ACH staff shared with them that an American Heart Association event was taking place across the street at the Capitol where survivors, just like Adyson, were being honored. Christa and her husband made their way over to the Capitol where they were moved by the many stories of survival and the large group of supporters present. Shortly after the event, Christa felt that the AHA was the right place for her to share her passion for advocacy with others. We are now thankful to have Christa as a volunteer, and most recently worked with her at an event in her hometown to spread awareness about the public policy efforts of the American Heart Association in Arkansas.

A huge thank you to the Coleman Family for being so amazing! For this volunteer spotlight we would like to share a photo Christa and Krista Thornton. They both supported AHA advocacy outreach efforts on Saturday, February 27th at Saline Memorial Hospital's The Beat Goes On 5K.  The second photo is Christa's daughter, Adyson.

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Bryant Goes Red for Heart Health!

On Tuesday, February 2nd, while joined by advocates and staff of the American Heart Association, Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs proclaimed Friday, February 5th as National Wear Red Day in Bryant.  “By increasing awareness, speaking up about heart disease, and empowering women to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease, we can save thousands of lives each year,” Dabbs said.

Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year, killing approximately one every 80 seconds. With the help of education and action, this number can be reduced. In the proclamation, Dabbs encouraged women to ask a doctor to check their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose; choose a healthy lifestyle by stopping smoking, losing weight, being physically active and eating healthy; advocate for more women-related research and education; educate the rest of their family about making healthy food choices and the importance of staying active; and donate time or money to the cause to show support. 

Thank you, Mayor Dabbs, for supporting the American Heart Association and the Go Red For Women campaign!

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Advocates Lunch & Learn with Lawmakers

On Thursday, February 4th, the American Heart Association Advocacy Team hosted a Lunch & Learn event at the Arkansas State Capitol. State Representative Laurie Rushing and Representative Karilyn Brown both spoke about heart and stroke awareness. They also encouraged advocates attending the event get involved in the political process and speak out in support of heart healthy policies. The AHA Advocacy Team shared brief summaries of policy platforms and grassroots activities for 2016. Attendees were inspired to get more involved and make a difference in the health of Arkansans.

To learn more about the advocacy work of the American Heart Association in Arkansas please contact Allison Hogue at Allison.Hogue@heart.org or 501-707-6593.

You can also join our You’re The Cure network HERE: YoureTheCure.org

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Meet Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight

"Since I was a young girl, I have been concerned with the dangers of secondhand smoke.  As a life-long asthma sufferer, I personally knew how harmful secondhand smoke was to my health and when I discovered the dangers for all people, I became a passionate advocate.  In 2002, while working on my Master of Public Health degree, I had the opportunity to join the Lexington-Fayette County Kentucky smoke-free campaign.  I remember testifying to the city council, writing letters to the editor and educating all those who would listen about the dangers of secondhand smoke.  In 2009, I was asked to be part of the Smoke-free Kentucky Leadership team focused on promoting a comprehensive state-wide policy.  I served in this capacity until 2013 when I moved to Little Rock, AR.  I am a native of Batesville, AR and one of the things I asked frequently upon coming back to Arkansas was "when are we going to strengthen our current smoke-free law to become comprehensive?"  I am honored to currently be serving as chair of the SmokeFree Little Rock Campaign and look forward to the day when all people who live, work and play in Little Rock and every other community in Arkansas, Kentucky, the United States and the world are protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke! "

Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight lives in Little Rock and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, where she serves as a Co-Investigator for the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, Co-Principal Investigator for a new Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection project; and Co-Investigator for an NCI grant focused on an HPV vaccination environmental scan. She is also a facilitator/strategic planner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s coordinated chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts, and leads their cancer control leadership team. She facilitated regional forums and provided support in strategic planning for Kentucky’s Changing this Generation project. She also facilitated the development of the Texas Cancer Plan and Future Directions workgroups for the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

Her areas of expertise include partnership sustainability, program development, group facilitation, epidemiology, evaluation and policy, systems and environmental change efforts. Her current focus areas relate to the Affordable Care Act and Cancer & Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.
Dr. Knight has her BA in Communications from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and DrPH in Health Services Management from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.

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You're Invited: Advocate for Heart at the Capitol!

We’re kicking off National Wear Red Day with a gathering of advocates and survivors at the Arkansas State Capitol where the 2016 Go Red For Women Survivor Gallery will be unveiled.  Please join us on Thursday, February 4th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for a moving celebration of the Arkansas women that have come together to share their stories of survival.  

After the event we invite you to join us just a few steps away in Room 207 for a brief AHA Advocacy Lunch & Learn to hear about the policy efforts of the American Heart Association and how YOU are the key to advancing those campaigns!  We look forward to seeing you at the Capitol, and would love to save a place for you!  Please click here to RSVP. 

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