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Does Your Voice Matter? Proof It Does!

American Heart Association Ambassador and long-time You’re the Cure advocate, Kimberly Goodloe, attends as many events as possible at the Georgia Capitol to advocate for the wide variety of policies that improve heart health.

Early in January, You're the Cure advocates in Georgia received an alert welcoming their legislators back to the State Capitol for the start of the legislative session. Shortly thereafter, Kimberly attended a Day at the Capitol that focused on advocating for the funding of rural hospitals. She was able to meet with her senator, who is brand new to the legislature. He immediately remembered her name from the alert she sent, and she was able to share both the advocacy message of the day and her own personal survivor story with her senator.

A few weeks later, Kimberly attended the National Wear Red Day event at the State Capitol and once again met with senator. She thanked him for his support of raising awareness of heart disease in women. He remembered her from both the action alert and her visit, and recounted her survivor story.

So if you ever wonder if your voice is truly heard, the answer is YES! And alerts are only one way to have communication with your lawmakers. Most of them now have Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and Instagram accounts. These also are important media from which you can share your advocacy efforts!

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The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 Livestream

Join us for this exclusive virtual event where top designers and celebrities demonstrate their support for women's heart health during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Heart disease is not just a man's disease. Each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. We can change that--80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Help break barriers against heart disease and stroke by joining us for the Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 live online at GoRedForWomen.org/RedDressCollection on Thursday, February 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern. See you there!

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Stephanie Dempsey, Blairsville

Stephanie Dempsey, an American Heart Association volunteer from Blairsville, Georgia, who testified before the Senate Finance Committee in July about the devastating toll of heart disease on her and her family, has died. She was 44.

Dempsey was diagnosed with hereditary coronary artery disease at age 21. She had quadruple bypass surgery at 30, and later had another bypass. Along the way, Dempsey — who also dealt with lupus, a seizure disorder and arthritis — lost her job, her home and so much more.

Dempsey told lawmakers that the strain caused by her chronic health conditions also ruined her marriage and that she had no choice but to move in with her parents. They became her caregivers, often driving her to appointments several hours away.

To read the entire article on our beloved volunteer advocate, click here.

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Meet the New Surgeon General

Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December to serve as the next surgeon general of the United States. The surgeon general is America’s top public health official, and his responsibilities range from managing disease to promoting prevention and a healthy start for our kids.

At 37, Vivek Murthy is the youngest person and the first Indian-American to hold the post of Surgeon General.

Since this position was created in 1871, just 18 people have held the job. Dr. Murthy, the 19th, replaces an Acting Surgeon General who has filled the role since 2013. Dr. Murthy’s confirmation was delayed for nearly a year due to political issues, but in that time he received the endorsement of more than 100 public health groups, including the American Heart Association.

Dr. Murthy has both business and medical degrees from his studies at Harvard and Yale. He completed his residency at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he most recently served as an attending physician. He has created and led organizations to support comprehensive healthcare reform, to improve clinical trials so new drugs can be made available more quickly and safely, and to combat HIV/AIDS.

His resume is remarkable, and we look forward to working closely with Dr. Murthy to improve the health of all Americans.

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Georgia Secures Win for Tobacco Cessation Coverage for Medicaid

On November 14, 2014, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) approved the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Medicaid State Plan Amendment (SPA) 13-026 that expands tobacco cessation coverage to all adults, includes private counseling coverage, covers cessation products as identified by the U.S. Preventive Services Guidelines, and has minimal cost-sharing. The SPA retroactively went into effect to January 1, 2014.

This expansion will save lives and money in Georgia. Each year, smoking claims approximately 443,000 lives prematurely and costs the U.S. economy more than $301 billion. In Georgia alone, 42% of the Medicaid population smokes and the state Medicaid program incurs $372 million per year in tobacco-related health care costs, according to the CDC.

To garner this win, the American Heart Association partnered with several organizations, namely the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society - Cancer Action Network, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Community Health. The AHA also worked closely with Medicaid officials through the arduous CMS approval process to provide them with best practices and current data. What in theory could be a 90-day approval process ended up taking 11 months. Upon approval of the SPA, You’re the Cure advocates thanked Clyde Reese, Commissioner for the Georgia DCH, via email.

Thank you to Georgia You’re the Cure advocates for supporting this very important advancement in reducing tobacco use in Georgia!

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You're the Cure Year End Successes, Let's Celebrate!
It was another banner year for You’re the Cure advocates championing heart and stroke policy change across the country. Year end is a time to look back at what we achieved in states, think ahead to the work still to do, and celebrate the power of volunteers.
 
What did we accomplish last year?
 
 
Below are just three of many victories that made 2014 so successful.  

 

  • 35 states now have laws protecting our littlest hearts. Pulse oximetry, a simple detection screening for heart defects gives newborns a chance to survive thanks to early detection.
  • We reached a major milestone in ensuring all students learn CPR before graduating from high school. Now more than 1 million students, in 20 states, will graduate each year with this lifesaving skill.
  • 6 states increased funding for heart disease and stroke prevention programs.

 

Want to see more accomplishments? Check out the video below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These are just a few highlights and for the full story be sure to check out the state by state wrap-up online. We couldn’t achieve these great accomplishments without the power of YOU our advocates. Your work to educate lawmakers, recruit family and friends, and share your story and expertise are what makes change happen. So from your AHA staff partners a big, Thank You!
 
P.S. – You can help inspire others to join the movement by sharing our accomplishments highlight video.

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You're the Cure on the Road: Macon, GA

On November 12, 2014, the American Heart Association hosted an advocacy training at the Coliseum Northside Hospital in Macon, Georgia for new and veteran volunteers.

Approximately 15 volunteers attended, varying in age and background, but unified in their passion about building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Everyone shared their personal advocacy story and remained engaged over the course of lunch as they learned about the 2014 legislative outcomes and what is coming down the pipeline in 2015. Folks inquired about policy priorities, providing suggestions to help our cause and overall goals. 

Thank you to the volunteers who attended, the staff who helped organize the training, and Coliseum Northside for hosting us.

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Coach Chip Malone, Georgia

Coach Narleski "Chip" Malone, GA

My story begins on a college campus as the youngest grandson of Dr. James H. White, Founder and first President of Mississippi Valley State University located in Itta Bena, MS.  I was a typical, fun-loving boy surrounded by a great family and friends, a good student, and later received a full scholarship to play football at Jackson State University in Jackson, MS with several players that went on to become NFL greats.  After a knee injury in the Mississippi High School All-Star game ended my football career, I decided to coach athletics instead.  During my 32-year career in the school system, I had some successes, taught many promising students, and began to teach next generation family members.   Those challenging and fulfilling years provided for my wife of 30 years (Cynthia) and our beautiful young ladies (Lauriel and Crystal).  We are Chip’n Away @ Heart Disease and this is why.

In 1997, a new mandate issued by the board of education required that not only student athletes, but coaches would ha ve to get a physical exam.   To my surprise, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and heart concerns that would be treated with a couple pills.  “You may be a candidate for a heart transplant.”  Now, you know I didn’t want to hear that!  In total denial, I looked at my physician and said “Okay doc, anything else because practice starts at four o’clock today.”  He couldn’t possibly be talking about me, right?  I continued to work as an educator/coach keeping a strenuous schedule of teaching, maintaining four playing fields, conducting practices and coaching games ending most evenings at 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. for several years.  I worked hard, was not prone to illnesses, and shared in raising my family, also athletes, on a healthy diet and exercise regimen.  So, where did all this come from?  I found myself under the watchful care of my doctor who said, “If you want to live, stop smoking.”  I did -- that day.   Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, meaning my heart was less able to pump blood throughout my body, I continued to work until retirement in June, 2009. 

From my initial diagnosis, until one year after retiring - June, 2010, something went terribly wrong.  Because of a virus that attacked both ventricles of my heart, I became a statistic due to heart disease and had a heart transplant after being on a life-sustaining device. I spent many days and nights in local hospitals until being referred to Emory St. Joseph’s in Atlanta where I spent fifty days.  Cynthia never left my side.  At this point, I was struggling to breathe with congestive heart failure; I had a pacemaker and underwent dialysis for five months because of my weak heart. A machine used for the first time ever at the hospital, the BiVAD (BiVentricular Assist Device), pumped blood throughout my body which revived my failing organs and allowed me to be put on the heart transplant waiting list.  My surgeon informed me that I could only be on this new device four weeks.  “What then,” I asked.  “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said.

What did I think about while on the waiting list?  My family.  Mostly, I prayed.  What did my wife and I talk about?  Meeting our grandchildren and not taking anything for granted.  Going into the third week, “the call” came and a nurse excitedly, ran into the room saying, “Mr. Malone, we have a potential heart for you!”  Two families were impacted 1:10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 3, 2010; both the donor family and my own.  The gift of life came in three weeks – yes, three weeks.  In the Foreword of my book, A Second Chance, one of the physicians wrote, “He is a miracle of modern technology.  His story is really one of the triumphs of the human spirit and faith.”

I am passionate about being a volunteer with the American Heart Association because I don’t want what happened to me, to have to happen to anybody.  To honor my donor, we are advocating heart health and educating others on preventive measures in various communities, and I am returning to high schools educating students on obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  My wife and I visit churches and are invited to present to civic organizations.  Since my transplant four years ago, I mentor and volunteer my time having reached approximately 30,000 people.  Birthed from these efforts is a non-profit organization called Chip’n Away @ Heart Disease whose mission is to give back through outreach programs that direct public attention to heart disease.

Find me on Facebook:  Coach Narleski “Chip” Malone

Website:  www.coachchipmalone.com

Twitter:  Coach_Chip113

- Written by Coach Narleski “Chip” Malone

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Rethink Your Drink!

The American Heart Association is calling on companies and consumers to "Rethink Your Drink". 

Over the past 30 years, Americans have steadily consumed more and more added sugars in their diets. The primary source of added sugars in Americans’ diets has been identified as sugar-sweetened beverages (beverages that have added sugar) such as soda, sports drinks, sweetened waters and teas, energy drinks, and fruit drinks.

In recent years research has made the connection between sugar-sweetened beverages and the rising rates of obesity, overall healthcare costs and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, blood pressure and diabetes. Decreasing the amount of added sugars in our diet cuts calories, which can result in weight control and improved heart health.

A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 130 calories and 8 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association suggests consuming:

  • Water (plain)
  • Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk; if flavored, no more than 130 calories/8 fl. oz.
  • 100% fruit juice (no more than 120 calories per 8 fl. oz. with no added sugars/sweeteners (excludes non-nutritive sweeteners):
    • No more than 120 calories per 8 fl. oz. (preferred portion size)
    • No more than 150 calories per 10 fl. oz.
    • No more than 180 calories per 12 fl. oz.
    • Other Beverages-No more than 10 calories per serving

Learn how to improve beverage offerings as well as meals and snacks by checking out the AHA Food & Beverage Guidelines and sharing these guidelines at your workplaces. Ask your company to review these guidelines and make your workplaces healthier!

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Georgia, Have You Taken the Sodium Pledge?

America’s relationship with salt is putting us at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. To better understand and limit your sodium intake, join the American Heart Association’s campaign called “I Love You Salt, But You’re Breaking My Heart.”  The site features a fun video, blog, sodium quiz, infographics, and links to lower-sodium recipes.  It’s time to break up with excess salt. 

Take the pledge to reduce your sodium intake now at www.heart.org/sodium

 

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