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Meet the New Government Relations Director

My name is Dan Giungi and I’m the new Director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association in Connecticut. Some of you may have already received my action alerts, but I’m looking forward to meeting you as we work together to ensure Connecticut’s elected officials are committed to protecting public health and eliminating health disparities.

Before coming to work with the American Heart Association, I worked as a lobbyist with a government relations firm and I’ve been involved in Connecticut politics for a number of years. I’m a Connecticut native and I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Hartford, where I double majored in Political Science and Philosophy.

I’m looking forward to meeting you all and working with you to make sure Connecticut residents stay healthy and have access to the quality care that they need.

Dan

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Students in Connecticut Will Learn CPR before they Graduate

Thanks to our advocates hard work and dedication Governor Malloy signed a bill on June 23rd requiring all schools to include CPR as part of the health and safety curriculum. Connecticut students will now have direct access to sensible and affordable training that will equip them with the lifesaving skills necessary to administer CPR if they encounter someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. So far, 23 states across the country have passed laws requiring every high school student to be CPR-trained before graduation, and it’s paying off. Graduates from just one school in Long Island, N.Y., have saved 16 lives since being trained. Congratulations on making Connecticut the 24rd state to require CPR training before graduation. I’m proud of all your hard work and you should be too.

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Summer Health Tips

The arrival of summer means days at the pool, family barbeques, picnics, sports and other outdoor activities. Below are a few tips that you can use this summer to keep your whole family happy and healthy.

 

 

Staying active in the summer months

  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and even after physical activity.
  • Protect your family from the sun.
  • Try to avoid intense physical activity during the hottest parts of the day (between noon to 3pm).
  • Dress for the heat.
  • Head indoors when the heat becomes unbearable. There are plenty of indoor activities that can keep you active on the hottest days.

Heart-Healthy Cookout Ideas

  • Go fish!
  • Make a better burger by purchasing leaner meat and adding delicious veggies.
  • Replace your traditional greasy fries with some heart healthy baked fries.
  • Veggie kabobs are a fun and healthy addition to your family barbeque.
  • Try grilled corn on the cob.

Healthy Road Trip

  • Make “rest breaks” active.
  • Pack healthy snacks to avoid the unhealthy foods at rest stops along your way.
  • Pack to play to continue your regular physical activity.
  • Reach for water instead of being tempted by sugary drinks.

Summer Snack Ideas

  • Homemade freezer fruit pops are an easy and fun treat for the whole family.
  • Keep your veggies cool and crisp during the summer months and they becoming a refreshing treat.
  • Fruit smoothies area a healthy way to cool yourself down on a hot summer day.
  • Mix up your own trail mix to take on all of your summer adventures.
  • Just slice and serve all the delicious fruits that are in season during the summer months.

 

Read more about these tips and other getting healthy tips over at www.heart.org/GettingHealthy 

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We Are One Step Closer to Creating a Generation of Lifesavers in CT!

We have made it to the final step to requiring all students in Connecticut to know CPR before the graduate! The Senate and the House both passed the bill in late May and now it goes to the Governor! Your advocacy has truly made a difference!  Effective CPR training takes less than the amount of time to watch a typical 30 minute TV sitcom.  We can help add hundreds of trained rescuers across the State every few years by training all middle and high school students. Those students will be ready, willing and able to act and save lives for years to come, if they witness an emergency within their community. We are excited to ensure that the Governor signs this critical lifesaving legislation. If you want to reach out and help, please email me at Allyson.perron@heart.org and we can give you everything you need!

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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 StrokeAssociation.org/StrokeMonth to learn more about how you can get involved.

 

 

 

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Making Schools Nutritional Safe Zones

The Committee on Children recently voted in support of legislation ensuring the food marketing that is shown in schools is aligned with the National School Lunch Program. The American Heart Association believes if schools cannot serve a particular unhealthy food item in school the food industry should not be allowed to market the unhealthy food item to students in school. This legislation is building upon the achievements the State of Connecticut has made in making sure our school children are offered healthy foods in schools and that students are learning lifelong lessons on the importance of eating healthy. School aged children are already being bombarded by the food industry to consume unhealthy foods in aggressive marketing campaigns. This legislation will reinforce the efforts by the American Heart Association to make the schools nutritional safe zones.

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Public Health Passes CPR in Schools

The Public Health Committee recently voted out a bill requiring high school students learn Hands-Only CPR and AED awareness before graduating. There was overwhelming support for the legislation and committee members spoke glowingly about the bill during the comment period before the vote. This was a great victory for the American Heart Association volunteers who testified at the Public Hearing. The Bill has picked number of cosponsors since the public hearing, currently the number stands at thirteen, including newly elected State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. The next step for the bill is a vote in the Education Committee. American Heart Association volunteers have been reaching out to to the members on the Education Committee to ensure the CPR in Schools Bill successfully moves out of the committee. There are currently 21 states that require high school students learn CPR before graduating, and Connecticut is on track to become the 22nd state to have students learn the lifesaving skill.

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Sugary Drink Tax Passes Legislative First Hurdle

The General Assembly’s Committee on Children voted on a bill that would place a 1 cent per ounce excise tax on sugary drinks and use the dollars raised to fund childhood obesity prevention initiatives.

Sugary drinks are staples of today’s American diet.  These beverages are inexpensive, abundant, high in calories, and deliver little or no nutrition. They are heavily marketed, especially to children.  

More than any other food category, scientific studies have shown that consumption of sugary drinks contributes to poor diet, and risk for obesity, diabetes and a number of other serious health problems.

A sugary drink excise tax coupled with childhood obesity prevention funding are critical strategies that could reduce childhood obesity rates and improve the health of not only children, but the health of Connecticut’s residents who are overweight or obese.

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AHA Advocates Testify At CPR in Schools Public Hearing.

American Heart Association (AHA) volunteers from around the state traveled to Hartford to testify at the Connecticut Public Health Committee hearing to support a bill requiring Connecticut high school students learn hands-only CPR prior to graduation.

Seven volunteers attended, including Leigh Pechillo, a mother from Southington; Valerie Cassidy, registered nurse and paramedic from Norwich; and Norwalk High School senior Mahika Jhangiani.

Pechillo told the Public Health Committee members how she survived a massive heart attack only because of the fast actions of her husband who performed CPR on her after her daughter found her on the bathroom floor. 

Cassidy, who teaches Hands-Only CPR to freshman students at Hartford Public High School’s Nursing Academy, told the committee members that her goal is to train 150 students and she hoped the committee would support Senate Bill 684 requiring all high school students receive CPR training.

“I was glad to take a day to testify in Hartford for this life-saving legislation. We are all part of the Chain of Survival when it comes to cardiac arrest. Connecticut will be a safer place to live when we pass this bill,” said Cassidy.

Norwalk High School senior Mahika Jhangiani also testified at the hearing. Jhangiani has been giving CPR trainings at several Norwalk schools as part of her high school independent study project.

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