American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Learn about heart-health issues
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We're Excited About Mayor Hancock's Transportation Vision!

Bicycling and healthy heart advocates are so excited about Mayor Hancock's vision for a walking and biking friendly city!

Click here to support his vision for $7.1 million in active living proposals in the city budget.

The proposal includes:

  • Funding for a one full-time planner to head a "citywide, strategic approach to pedestrian infrastructure."
  • $2.2. million for Denver Moves, a plan to make the city truly bikeable.
  • Seven full-time employees dedicated to installing bike-ped infrastructure.
  • $1 million to create the initial design for bus rapid transit on East Colfax Avenue.
  • Funding to create a citywide transit plan.
  • Funding for two neighborhood traffic calming plans.
  • $320,000 for "enhanced multimodal crosswalks" on Speer Street and in other areas of the city.
  • $200,000 to study turning 21st Street near Coors Field into a "festival street" - an active public realm which includes expanded streetscapes, pedestrian seating areas, bike corrals, special event areas, etc.

Tell Mayor Hancock how excited you are about a heart healthy transportation future!

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Board of Health and Preventing Obesity in Colorado

Nearly 17% of children in the U.S. ages 2-19 are obese, and another 15% are overweight. Childhood obesity disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority populations. An estimated 43 million preschool aged children are overweight or obese, a 60% increase from 1990, and Colorado has one of the fastest growing childhood obesity rates in the nation.  

We can't let this continue. Send a letter to State Board of Human Services in SUPPORT of standards that ensure physical activity, limited screen time and basic nutrition standards at licensed childcare centers.  

CLICK HERE to send an email to the State Board of Human Services!

Child care providers should meet minimum, uniform standards in nutrition, physical activity and screen time limitations. Doing so will help contribute to reducing our growing childhood obesity rates, and set Colorado children on a path to living healthy lives. 

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Volunteers Gather to Mobilize in Denver

On October 23rd, advocates gathered for the Denver's Grassroots Action Team meeting and discussed how the AHA can mobilize volunteers for legislative action in the state of Colorado.

Thanks to the committed efforts of GAT Chairs Jaime Cabrera and Gerri Falco we began to mobilize the Denver community. We thanked both the Mayor and Governor for recent efforts to improve biking and walking infrastructure, participated in an advocacy training, and planned ways that the GAT could join with the State Advocacy Committee in the fight against heart disease and stroke.

The team also spoke with Senator Michael Bennet’s staff about nutrition standards for school lunches in September. The team hopes to keep the issue of healthy and active living front of mind for both the Governor of Colorado and the Mayor of Denver.

Click here to thank Mayor Hancock for his plan to expand opportunities for active living in Denver!

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Bicyclists have a lot to look for forward to in Colorado

Bicyclists have a lot to look for forward to in Colorado. Governor Hickenlooper wants to make Colorado “the best state for biking” over the next four years and he plans to spend $100 million to make this happen. If everything goes according to plan, there will be further development of the bike/pedestrian infrastructure and trail connectivity.  In addition, the Safe Routes to school program will be grown and sustained.

At the local level, the City and County of Denver are currently looking for feasible options to make the Broadway/Lincoln area a safer place for all travelers. Enhanced bicycle facilities, transit lanes, and pedestrian places will be the focus of the 3 alternatives that a project team will put together. Mayor Hancock's budget will be going to the City Council over the next month.

The AHA recommends getting the equivalent of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity per week, and regular cycling is a great way to reach this goal. It helps to improve your heart and brain health, and reduce stress levels. So, let’s make these plans a reality! Share your support and let your local leaders know that pedestrian friendly streets and safer routes to school should be a priority in your community.

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You're the Cure Advocate Pkaye Washington is Selected as National Spokesperson for Go Red for Women!

Longtime You're the Cure advocate and Grassroots Action Team Chair, Pkaye Washington, was selected as a member of this year's “Real Women,” national spokespeople for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement. These nine women from across the country will share their personal stories and encourage women to take a proactive role in their health by knowing their family history and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, yet it’s 80 percent preventable. One risk factor that cannot be prevented is family history. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 95.7 percent of study respondents considered knowledge of family history important to their personal health. The startling truth, though, is that only 36.9 percent reported actively collecting health information from their relatives.

“I’m living proof that knowledge is power,” said Pkaye Washington. “By knowing your family history and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit, you could be taking action today that could save your life tomorrow.”

Washington, who lives in Austin, Texas, has been living with heart disease for more than two decades. She was diagnosed with Class II heart failure in 1992, following what she thought was a bout of the flu. She’d gone to the hospital after realizing she was consistently short of breath.

It was a startling revelation for Washington, then 36, whose mother had been diagnosed with advanced heart failure and would soon need a heart transplant. Her grandmother had died from fluid around the heart when her mother was only four years old. Shock gave way to depression, followed by a resolve to make changes.

Washington now encourages women to empower themselves when it comes to their health, and to seek support from others. For the past 2 years she has supported the American Heart Association by serving as a spokesperson and an advocate for the You’re the Cure network.  She became involved with the organization when she was crowned Ms. Texas Classic and the American Heart Association was her chosen non-profit.  Currently, Washington volunteers her time as the Chair for our Austin Grassroots Action Team, where she has helped build healthier lives and communities by being a part of successful efforts to pass both state and local heart health policies. She has also been an advocate for our You’re the Cure on the Hill, traveling to Washington DC to meet with her members of Congress.
Pkaye’s story shares one common thread with the other 8 national spokeswomen– knowing your family history is important and discussing it with a health care professional is key to taking steps to prevent heart disease and stroke.

About Go Red For Women
Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association's national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women – more than all cancers combined. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Women who Go Red live healthier lives. For more than a decade Go Red For Women has fought for equal health opportunity for women. We proudly wear red, share our stories of survival and advocate for more research and swifter action for women's heart and brain health. Our future is focused on changing the culture to make it easier for women and their families to live healthier lives. When it comes to beating heart disease and stroke, it’s time to put our hearts into it.  Take action at

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Sing to End Stroke

One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs. What if singing a song could help people recognize a stroke and give someone the power to save a life?

On World Stroke Day, October 29th, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is using music to help people remember the common warning signs of stroke, F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Why learn the F.A.S.T song? The quicker you recognize the stroke warning signs and call 9-1-1 for stroke, the better the chances of recovery. 

Here is how you can participate:

So get your vocal cords ready and let's sing to end stroke!


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Physical Education Changes Lives, Improves Academic Scores

According to the Surgeon General, engaging in consistent physical activity is an important step to improving individual health. Physical activity not only strengthens bones and muscles, but also reduces stress and depression, and makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight.  For the heart, substantial benefits from regular physical activity include lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.

As such, the American Heart Association supports efforts to require 150 minutes per week of physical education in elementary schools and 225 minutes per week of physical education in middle school. Making sure all children have access to physical education is an important step in reducing childhood obesity and giving young Americans the tools to fight heart disease.

40 states have requirements on elementary schools to provide physical education instruction. 39 states require middle school physical education, and 43 states have high school requirements. In all, 46 states have physical education requirements at various grade levels.

Physical education not only makes kids more active, but also helps kids thrive academically. According to a study published by the American Heart Association, physical education is an integral part of developing the “whole” child and has shown to have positive impacts on cognitive abilities, tobacco avoidance, reductions in depression and anxiety, and test scores.

95% of parents believe physical education should be part of a school curriculum for all students in grades K-12.

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Volunteers Urge Their Elected Officials: “Step Up to the Plate!”

Volunteers for the American Heart Association and constituents in Albuquerque, NM, Denver and Fort Collins, CO, Jackson, Casper and Cheyenne, WY, urged their elected officials to “Step Up to the Plate” for Healthy School Meals. In December 2010, the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) was passed and signed to update the national nutrition standards for school meals. Now, 100% of schools in Colorado and New Mexico, and 99% in Wyoming, have stepped up to the plate and rejected meals loaded with salt, fat, and sugar.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 represents a major step forward in our nation’s effort to provide children with healthy and nutritious food in schools. Over 31 million children receive meals through the school lunch program, and many children receive most of their meals at school. With one out of every three children in America now considered overweight or obese, schools often are on the front lines in combating childhood obesity and improving children’s overall health.


The HHFKA has several noteworthy provisions:


  • Strengthened local wellness policies by creating more accountability and better implementation.


  • Gave USDA the authority to establish national nutrition standards for all foods sold on the school campus throughout the school day.


  • Provided additional funding to schools who meet the new guidelines.


  • Created Smart Snacks standards, which states that all snack foods outside the meal programs meet nutrition standards.


Together, volunteer advocates are working across the country to reach out their representatives. This reauthorization presents an important opportunity to show how the new programs more effectively address the nutritional needs of children.


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Dr. Goff Squares Off with Unhealthy Food


David Goff, MD, PhD, FAHA, FACP, stays busy doing his part to build healthier lives and communities. Serving as the Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, he has sat on committees with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine. But when he’s looking to make impacts in his community, he also looks to the American Heart Association.


“Volunteering with the American Heart Association has been a wonderful way for me to be involved in adopting good health policy in our state. The Heart Association has great resources that enable the board and volunteers to maximize their time,” said Dr. Goff. “I feel like my time is well used and I’ve had a very positive experience.”


Working with Whitney Bell-Haggard, Denver’s Senior Community Health Director, Dr. Goff is squaring off against unhealthy food in schools. By providing healthier options through nutrition standards for food and beverages served in our schools, the AHA hopes to decrease trans-fat and sugar intake, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and make the healthy choice the easy choice for children across Colorado.


“These are foods that schools have agreed to make available that are not part of the federal food program like lunches or breakfast. For instance, vending machines. These are major sources of nutrition and schools are where kids get many of their calories,” said Dr. Goff “The food we offer children in schools is critical to their health because these are major sources of nutrition.”


For Dr. Goff, public health is a calling. His 20 years of research, teaching, administration, community outreach and advocacy have earned him opportunities to serve as a prominent public health expert in Colorado and throughout the country. His drive to fight stroke and heart disease is personal too.


“My Family is Why. My father had a stroke when he was a young man. He spent the last 11 years of his life in a wheel chair,” said Dr. Goff. “My kids never knew the robust man that I knew. So when I say my family is why, I want my grandchildren and children to have a different experience. Through population health, we are improving the lives of all Americans. That’s a mission that is so compelling for me.”

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Meet Your New Grassroots Advocacy Director

With $50 in their pockets and hope, my parents brought my sister and I from India to the United States when we were young. 4 years later, after studying at a Red Rocks Community College at night and working minimum wage jobs, they bought a house, two cars and 'a white picket fence'. Our story is like millions of others, a story of creating life, a future, from nothing but a dream. The immigrant’s life truly is art in its purest form. In that same vein, for the last 5 years I’ve been working on creating a strong, diverse advocacy and communications portfolio. With my background in health policy in Colorado, I'm eager to start making impacts at the American Heart Association.

For the last two years, I’ve worked as the Communications and Public Policy Director of the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP). As a registered professional lobbyist advocating and monitoring over 80 bills at the Colorado State Legislature, I was the in-house government relations manager for 2,200 Family Physicians giving care to 2 million Coloradans. I monitored all health related bills in Colorado and Washington DC, wrote messaging for editorials, designed all CAFP materials for events, and organized physicians for legislative action at the Colorado State Legislature and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

I started my advocacy career working for Majority Leader and State Representative Crisanta Duran at the Colorado State Legislature. Soon after, I became the Communications Director for Daniel Kagan for HD3 – the largest house race in Colorado history. For the 2013 legislative session, I served as a communications fellow for Senator Mike Johnston and supported his efforts to pass SB213, a bill to change the school finance structure in Colorado. During my time at the State Legislature, I supported the mission and visions of my elected official offices with policy and communications like press releases, website support, writing and editing newsletters, and developing factsheets. 

I graduated two years ago from the University of Denver with a cum laude honors degree in Economics and Communications. At DU, I was the Managing Editor of the DU Clarion – a 47 employee staffed newspaper, ranking 13th for overall quality in the nation by peers. I created the DU Clarion website, managed a large budget and worked with colleagues to deliver a 36 page paper. I copyedited every article and wrote many of the major and minor pieces.

I serve on the Board of Directors for health advocacy organizations across the Denver metro area. I am active in the community and aim to serve

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