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Take the You're the Cure Advocate Survey

2015 was a great year for You're the Cure advocates and the many policy efforts that you work on. We have big plans for 2016, and we want to hear from you and what you want to see in the future for You're the Cure.

So take the survey now and let your voice be heard.

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Meet Our New Team Member

My name is Jim Williams, and I am your new CT Director of Government Relations. I’m very excited to hit the ground running during the legislative session, which began Wednesday. For the past 10 years I worked as the Government Relations Director for the CT State Dental Association. I have also worked for a Hartford lobbying firm and spent 8 years in the Marine Corps.

The 2016 legislative session is called a “short” session and ends on May 4th, which means things will happen very quickly. As you may have heard, we have three main legislative priorities this year.

·         Proposing a tax on sugary soft drinks

·         Expanding healthy food choices on state property

·         Reducing unhealthy food and beverage marketing in schools

As we progress through the session, I will keep you informed every step of the way. The biggest asset we have is you, our advocate. Your state representative and state senator sincerely like to hear from their constituents on issues that are important to them.

I look forward to working with you and want you to know that I am always available should you have any questions. Thank you in advance for your efforts on behalf of the American Heart Association and helping to advance our legislative priorities.





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Help Us Stop Our Schools from Marketing Unhealthy Foods to Our Kids!

Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, 88% of Connecticut school districts are successfully serving healthy meals that meet strong nutrition standards. However, the food industry is still allowed to market unhealthy products in our schools. This sends a mixed message to our students. It is also counterproductive to creating the culture of health our students need to be successful. Let’s stop sending our students mixed messages.  

Connecticut students are already bombarded everyday outside of school with advertisements through social media, television, radio, and print that encourage them to consume unhealthy foods and beverages. The average Connecticut student in grades K-12 will spend 900 hours in school each year. That’s an additional 900 hours they will be exposed to marketing tactics that encourage them to consume unhealthy foods and beverages.  

The food industry is taking advantage of our students and treating them as a captive audience.  We look forward to working with you to ensure our schools provide our students with the culture of health they need to be successful.



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A New Year in Connecticut

The legislature is getting ready to go back to work and I am excited about all the great policies we are going to be working on. We have made great progress on ensuring that our schools aren’t serving unhealthy foods, so why are they allowed to advertise them in schools? We think that schools should not allow the marketing of unhealthy foods that do not meet Connecticut’s school nutrition standards. We also think we have an opportunity to provide healthy food and beverages in vending machines in all state owned and operated buildings.

We also have an opportunity to secure much needed funding to ensure that we are able to construct bikeways and walkways, provide for safe routes to schools and provide incentives to schools that promote shared use of school facilities. We also believe that we can improve the quality of care provided to the residents of Connecticut by creating a stroke system of care. We look forward to working with you to ensure that we are improving the lives of Connecticut residents.

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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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Thank you...

Now that we are officially in the throes of the holidays, I wanted to stop and take a moment to thank you. Many lives throughout Connecticut and across the country have been saved thanks to your passion, commitment and action on important health issues. Because of advocates like YOU, countless families are thankful to be spending the holidays together.

I would like to express my gratitude for all that you do to support the American Heart Association every day. The actions you and your fellow You're the Cure advocates take promote heart health in Connecticut and beyond, and help improve care for patients with heart disease and stroke. Many people are alive today and will be spending the holiday with their families because dedicated volunteers like YOU are passionate about advocating for change.  

Please make sure to take some time to celebrate the difference that you make in the world.

 

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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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Safer Streets for Connecticut...

We are pleased to announce that we have received confirmation that the American Heart Association secured a $9.8 million appropriation of bonded funds to support bike and pedestrian transportation projects. These dollars will help CT residents have access to safer bike and pedestrian transportation opportunities. I want to thank you, our You're the Cure advocates, for helping us secure this funding and continuing to help us keep Connecticut heart healthy.

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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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Charles Wira MD, Connecticut

We’re fortunate to have Dr. Charles Wira as the Chairman of our Stroke Task Force. Dr. Wira brings a wealth of knowledge to the group that will help them produce the best recommendations possible for improving stroke systems of care in Connecticut.

Dr. Wira is board certified in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. His scholarly pursuits are related to cardiac arrest, sepsis and stroke. In stroke, he is a site co-investigator on NIH funded studies evaluating albumin and induced hypothermia in ischemic stroke patients, and industry funded trials evaluating extended windows for novel thrombolytics. He is a lead investigator on several stroke system studies funded by the AHA/ASA and the first Emergency Physician to serve as Chair of the Northeast Cerebrovascular Consortium (NECC, the northeast AHA/ASA region).

Dr. Wira is also extensively involved in teaching medical students and residents. He is a faculty advisor to several residents for their scholarly projects and has served as thesis advisor to a number of medical students.

We are fortunate to have Dr. Wira leading our task force and look forward to working with him the other task force members to make sure our stroke systems of care in Connecticut are as strong as possible.

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