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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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New Year. New Ideas. New Location.

Resolve to join us as we work together to create a healthier community for all! The SmokeFree Little Rock Coalition meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, January 14th from 5:15-6:30 p.m. at Vino’s in Little Rock. You can find more information and RSVP at the following link: http://p2a.co/iTC5nGC.

If you have questions regarding the coalition or upcoming meeting please feel free to contact Matt Henry at matt.henry@heart.org or 501-954-6581.

Join the conversation to create a healthier community today! #SmokeFreeLR

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Meet Dr. Brian Eble, Our Heart Hero

Name: Dr. Brian Eble

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Profession: Pediatric Cardiologist, Arkansas Children’s Hospital

AHA Role: President of the Central Arkansas AHA Board

Dr. Brian Eble was a key player in efforts to ensure that Arkansas newborns are screened for critical congenital heart defects. By using a test called pulse oximetry, doctors can detect low oxygen levels in the blood, which is a significant indicator of heart issues in babies. Pulse Ox testing was signed into law in Arkansas by Governor Mike Beebe in April 2013. In addition, Dr. Eble traveled with a group of Arkansas advocates to Washington, D.C. in May 2015 and stepped up to the plate for healthy school lunches and medical research funding. Our advocates made the views, passions and needs of Arkansas constituents known to their lawmakers in new and compelling ways. In his true to character form, Dr. Eble presented a red lunch tray to each Arkansas Member of Congress on Capitol Hill visits to leave behind a tangible reminder of our federal advocacy priorities.

The AHA Sweetheart Program has also benefited from Dr. Eble’s volunteerism. The Sweetheart program is a fundraiser for the Central Arkansas Heart Ball. It is designed to teach young women about heart disease and stroke. This year, the Sweethearts received a history lesson about major strides in the field of cardiology from Dr. Eble. He talked about the first heart catheter, heart bypass, and echocardiograms.

Most recently, Dr. Eble supported our AHA Advocacy Team in a Sip & Chat event at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where staff and physicians were engaged on the topic of SmokeFree Little Rock over hot chocolate and coffee. The event provided our staff with the opportunity to recruit grassroots support for the campaign to create a healthier city by making all public indoor work areas smoke free.

**Photo courtesy of April Zamora

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Get Social With Your Members of Congress

Will you be on Facebook or Twitter today? Your Members of Congress and their staff will be, and it's a good place to reach them according to a report released in October by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF).

The CMF report, #SocialCongress, says Congressional offices are listening to social media chatter and it takes relatively few posts or comments to get their attention. That's good news for us!

So, how can you use the Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline to get the attention of lawmakers and help pass heart healthy policies?

  • Follow your members of Congress, as well as state and local elected officials on Twitter. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ their pages on Facebook.
  • Tweet about our health policy issues, tagging the appropriate legislators by using the @ sign and their Twitter handle. For example: I’m from Pennsylvania, so I’d tag my U.S. Senators by including @SenBobCasey & @SenToomey in my tweet.
  • If they allow it, you can post about our issues directly on the Facebook pages of elected officials. Frequently, that feature is disabled but you are able to comment on their posts. According to #SocialCongress, Congressional offices typically monitor those comments for a limited period of time. Your best bet is to comment within the first 24 hours after a post.
  • Rally your friends and family members to tweet, post or comment about an issue on a single ‘day of action’. CMF’s survey data shows just 30 or fewer comments can be enough to make a legislative office pay attention.
  • Be sure to use the campaign hashtag if one has been created by your advocacy staff partners. The #hashtag allows all the relevant posts to be woven together to tell our story, and makes your post searchable by others interested in the issue.    

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Show Me Love: Bartender Appreciation Day

On Friday, December 4, we thanked our local bar staff by visiting smoke-free workplaces in Little Rock to recognize Bartender Appreciation Day.  It was our way of saying “thank you” to businesses that provide smoke-free workplaces for the hospitality staff in our city. Currently, bars are not required to be smoke-free in our state, putting bartenders at greater risk for heart diseases and stroke caused by secondhand smoke exposure.  We took to the town to “Show Me LOVE” as the buttons we left behind promoted!  Show your support for our city’s hospitality staff today by signing the Change.org petition for Smoke Free Little Rock and Smoke Free Fayetteville.  A smoke-free ordinance will protect all workers from exposure to secondhand smoke. 

SmokeFree Little Rock petition: https://www.change.org/p/smokefreelr

SmokeFree Fayetteville petition: https://www.change.org/p/smokefreefay

Do you know a restaurant or bar employee who has been impacted by secondhand smoke in the workplace and would be willing to share their story? If so, please email Allison Hogue at Allison.Hogue@heart.org.

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Why Amanda Advocates

We're so excited for you to meet Amanda Denton, one of our newest advocates and Dallas Grassroots Action Team members! Amanda lives in North Texas and has an amazing story. Get to know her and learn of her motivation to volunteer with You're the Cure. Welcome, Amanda!

Name: Amanda Denton

Occupation: Disabled

How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association: Only about a month.

Why do you advocate to build healthier communities, free of heart disease and stroke: My story is very long, so I'll try to shorten it as much as I possibly can.

In August 2011, at around 2am and only being 25 years old, I started to suffer a massive heart attack. The heart attack was caused by a 100% blood clot blockage in the LAD. Other than that, there is no explanation as to what caused that blood clot. All blood work was negative as to having something passed down to me. My cardiologist said that my heart attack is actually known as the "Widow Maker," and that it's a miracle that I'm still alive.

Fast forward 4 years. July 2015. I get admitted to the hospital due to extreme edema. The day after being admitted, I get an Echo Scan done, which showed a great deal of fluid around my heart. My cardiologist then told me that I'd have to go into emergency surgery to have a pacemaker put in.

All of this (and more) is why heart health is so important, and why more people need to be more educated about it.

What is something in your life that you love: I love my family to pieces, my cat, my ghost hunting team, photography…

What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off: I love researching. Mostly historical things that have taken place. Usually in the 1800's-early 1900's.

What excited you most about the North Texas Advocate Summit: I really enjoyed meeting everyone, and hearing everyone's stories. It's really amazing how strong people are around others with similar experiences, which is exactly how I felt. I also very much enjoyed the amount of information that the speakers gave.

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Big News to Create a Smaller Arkansas

Governor Hutchinson has released a plan designed to help combat the troubling obesity problem we are facing in our state.


Please take a minute to thank Governor Asa Hutchinson for his plan to combat obesity across Arkansas.

"Healthy Active Arkansas" is a 10-year plan designed to improve the health of all Arkansans by making it easier to make healthy food choices and be more active.

The plan includes nine focus areas, ranging from strong nutrition standards to promoting healthy workplaces. Making changes in the workplace, where many adults spend much of their day, is an important way to help people live healthier lives. Providing healthy food options in state government facilities can foster better eating habits and support the cardiovascular and overall health of public employees and visitors to those facilities.

Please click here to ask lawmakers to show support for healthy options in state workplaces, parks, and other public property! 

 

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We're Feeling Grateful

As AHA Advocacy staff, we get to work alongside the most remarkable volunteers- like YOU! We get to see lives improved and lives saved as a result of the work we’ve done together, and for that, we're grateful.

As You’re the Cure volunteers, you share personal stories of loved ones lost too soon, of survival, or of triumph over heart disease or stroke- all because you know your stories will make a difference in someone else’s life. It is often those stories that convince lawmakers to pass the policies making our communities healthier.

Because of you, more babies are being screened with Pulse Ox and having their heart defects corrected before it’s too late. Because of you, people in communities around the country have been saved by students who learned CPR in school. Because of you, people are getting better stroke care, families have safe places for active play, fewer people are smoking, and kids are eating healthier food at school.  The impact you’re making is incredible, and our communities are better places- because of you.

You make us cry. You share your joy. You inspire us. You amaze us. And we’re just so grateful for all you do.

We’re including YOU as we count our blessings this month, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!   

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Mozart: Good for the Heart?

For centuries, listeners of classical music have remarked about its uplifting and inspirational nature. Now, however, researchers in Greece say it might have a measurable effect on cardiovascular health. In reporting initial findings earlier this year in the journal Atherosclerosis, Charalambos Vlachopoulos of the Athens Medical School reported that subjects who listening to music saw decreases in aortic stiffness and wave reflections, and that classical music listeners saw the greatest effects.

“This is the first study, to the best of our knowledge, to demonstrate that music, both classical and rock, decreases aortic stiffness and wave reflections,” wrote the researchers. In the case of this study, effects on aortic stiffness lasted as long as music was playing, and effects on wave reflections extended beyond, even as much as 30 minutes after the music was stopped. Both are causes of high blood pressure and increased strain on the heart.

While the study was quite small and more research is required to determine the overall effects that music might have on cardiovascular health, it is an intriguing first look at a new avenue for improving health by simply pressing “play.”

**Above article was written by Chris Willuhn, Advocacy Aide.

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Meet Catalina Berry, Our You're the Cure Champion

This month our Advocate Spotlight features Catalina Berry, a You're the Cure advocate and Grassroots Action Team Member. Catalina has been raising her voice in support of healthy living. With her dynamic personality and passion for traveling and fitness, it has been a pleasure getting to know Catalina. It's advocates like Catalina who help us affect change in communities throughout the state. Read below to learn more about You're the Cure Champion! 

Name: Catalina Berry

Occupation: Outreach Coordinator for Seton Health Plan Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program

How long have your been volunteering with the American Heart Association:  I have been involved for 5 years but I've been more involved in the past 6 months.

Why do you advocate for heart: I like giving back to the community in general but American Heart Association has a deeper meaning for me because my daddy suffered and fortunately survived a massive heart attack in 2005. 

What is something in your life that you love: So many things! My family, exercising, giving back, friends, food! I love everything! :)

What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off: spend time with my family or workout 

What excites you most about advocating on local campaigns? Having my voice be heard and be able to make an impact on issues that are so important. As a Latina I want to help be a voice for a community that may not always be heard. 

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