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Mass DOT Funds Complete Streets Program

We are excited to announce, after a few years of hard work, that Mass DOT will be making use of $12.5 million of transportation-dedicated funds to implement a new Complete Streets program to support cities and towns in the design and construction of roadways that accommodate all users and modes. The Complete Streets program will provide funding for both design and construction, which will allow us to both support those communities that may be challenged to provide design funds and help to create a pipeline of Complete Streets projects that will further our goals for providing more and better mobility options across the Commonwealth. Thanks to our dedicated advocates and partners who have been working to fund projects that that focuses on communities and roadway users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit so we could provide an opportunity for active transit for all, this funding will now make this a reality.

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Together to End Stroke

On May 7th we had over 40 stroke survivors, caregivers and advocates come together at the State House to advocate for a stroke system of care.

Someone struck by stroke should be sent to a hospital that can ensure that properly trained staff, equipment and neurological services are there to treat them.  Quick and attentive care of a stroke victim is the key to determining the quality of the rest of their life. Stroke is the nation's No. 5 killer and a leading cause of long-term disability. It is estimated that 6.6 million Americans 20 and older have had a stroke. Someone in the U.S. has a stroke about once every 40 seconds. About 795,000 people have a stroke every year.  In a study of patients who had experienced a stroke, someone other than the patient made the decision to seek treatment in 66% of the cases, or every two in three.  80% of strokes can be prevented,  by reducing high blood pressure, quitting smoking and participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity. A major advancement in the treatment of ischemic stroke was approved by the FDA in 1996—a clot dissolving drug called tPA. tPA can significantly reduce the debilitating effects of stroke if administered as soon as possible within up to 4.5 hours of symptom onset. However, only 3-5% of victims receive this lifesaving treatment. Patients who receive tPA within 90 minutes of symptom onset are almost three times as likely to have favorable outcomes three months after a stroke than those who do not receive tPA. The development of “stroke systems of care”, including the establishment of a primary stroke center, can significantly increase the proportion of patients who receive improved stroke care. Patients admitted to primary stroke centers were more likely to receive thrombolytic therapy and had lower 30-day mortality rates when compared with patients admitted to non-designated hospitals. 

The outcome of Stroke in large part on how and when the patient is treated. And the sooner, the better, since reducing the time between emergency department arrival and IV thrombolysis improves each patient’s odds of a good outcome. The American Stroke Association, is working to prevent stroke and improve the quality of care that stroke patients receive by supporting the development and implementation of stroke systems of care.

 

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Support for Critical Heart and Stroke Funding

The Senate finished up their budget at the end of May and we were able to be very successful thanks to our advocates!  

  • We secured $500,000 in funding for stroke prevention and awareness
  • We secured language around creating a stroke system of care
  • We increased the excise tax on flavored cigars to 210% of wholesale (parity with the tax on other tobacco products)
  • We secured up to $4 million of additional revenues to the tobacco prevention and cessation program. 
  • We secured language that allows the MA Office of Business Development to expend funds on the Food Trust Program.
  • We secured $250,000 for the Mass in Motion program to maintain its current funding level.
  • Unfortunately despite a tough fight by our sponsor we were not able to secure funding for CPR.

We still have more to go in the process to ensure that these critical priorities. I look forward to continue working with you on these initiatives throughout the conference committee process so that we will continue to improve the ideal cardiovascular health of all our residents!

 

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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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Healthy Food, Local Jobs, Strong Communities

The American Heart and American Stroke Association was excited to partner with MA Public Health Association as part of the Voices for Healthy Kids Healthy Food Financing Campaign for the “Healthy Food, Local Jobs, Strong Communities” which took place on Tuesday March 31st. The briefing helped provide some education on how our state could benefit from the successful implementation of the Massachusetts Food Trust Program, which was established by the legislature as part of the 2014 Environmental Bond Bill. The briefing featured leaders from across the country who have established similar successful programs and have benefitted from these program, including Sajan Philip of the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund and Dwayne Boudreax of Circle Food Store in New Orleans.

 

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Kick Butts Day

The 84 Movement took to the State House on March 18th as a part of the 20th annual Kick Butts Day. This national day of youth activism mobilized the highest number of Massachusetts youth groups in The 84 Movement’s history.

The day began with an opening session in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House, where youth rallied together and generated excitement about the day ahead. Geared up and ready to go, the youth marched across the Boston Common with bright signs and loud voices chanting “We are The 84, Big Tobacco out the door!” and “Youth youth youth, shout out the truth!”. They sent the message to Boston passersby know that they were headed back into the Massachusetts State House to tell their legislators that Big Tobacco targets youth.

The messages Chapters delivered to their legislators centered around tobacco industry’s marketing tactics: making their products cheap, sweet, and easy to get. Youth explained that the FDA does not regulate e-cigarettes and a significant portion of the state lacks regulations to create a minimum purchase age for e-cigarettes. They also educated their legislators as to the lack of regulation around e-cigarettes in the workplace, wide-ranging flavors of e-cigarettes, and the sale of cigars and cigarillos for under a dollar. Statewide Leaders shared personal stories, legislators shared powerful testimony and commitment to the issue, and we all walked away with a sense of excitement and purpose.

This year’s Kick Butts Day was rich with unparalleled energy, excitement, and enthusiasm for fighting the tobacco industry and for educating MA legislators on their role in that fight. Numerous legislators and public health leaders spoke of their personal connections to this issue and publicly recognized the tremendous work of The 84’s youth. Also present to acknowledge The 84’s accomplishments and hard work was CVS, who removed all tobacco products from their shelves last year in hopes of holding true to their mission of being a wellness retailer.

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New Legislative Leadership in Massachusetts

We have new Committee Chairs named and now hundreds of bills can be assigned to their committees. We will have a lot of our issues in Public Health, Education, Health Care Finance and Judiciary Committee. If you have any personal relationships with these newly named chairs, please let us know. Your voice and relationship can help us move our priorities forward!

Public Health Committee

Jason M. Lewis

Senate Chair

Jennifer L. Flanagan

Senate Vice Chair

Kate Hogan

House Chair

Ruth B. Balser

House Vice Chair

 

Education Committee

Sonia Chang-Diaz

Senate Chair

Patricia D. Jehlen

Senate Vice Chair

Alice Hanlon Peisch

House Chair

Danielle W. Gregoire

House Vice Chair

 

Health Care Financing Committee

James T. Welch

Senate Chair

Mark C. Montigny

Senate Vice Chair

Jeffrey Sánchez

House Chair

Lori A. Ehrlich

House Vice Chair

 

Judiciary Committee

William N. Brownsberger

Senate Chair

John F. Keenan

Senate Vice Chair

John V. Fernandes

House Chair

Claire D. Cronin

House Vice Chair

 

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Be a CPR SMART champion! Be Heroic in the Commonwealth!

Help build the next generation of lifesavers through working with your local high school to include CPR training into a currently required course that reaches all students. You can help by signing up with AHA as a champion for working with an area school(s).  allyson.perron@heart.org. Others champions may want to work with you.  Allyson Perron will help coordinate our champion teams.

To be a champion you just need to:

  • Reach out to school administration leadership or a local school board member.  Note that you are an AHA CPR SMART champion and would like to work with them to have the school achieve recognition as a CPR SMART school.
  • Work with the school to determine:
    • Have they already included CPR in a course required for graduation (non-elective course)
    • If they are not already training their students, would they consider passing a policy to require hands-only CPR as a graduation requirement
    • To decide a CPR training structure that best meets their needs, schools are encouraged to work with local ambulance, fire, hospitals, CPR training sites or Regional Education Associations for a solution that works best.  AHA staff available to assist with questions – allyson.perron@heart.org
    • Working with your school contact, ask the school to pursue CPR SMART recognition through board discussion and recognition of the inclusion of the training in an established course that will reach every student moving forward – such as freshman PE or other required course/grade level.
    • Support school submission for recognition as a CPR SMART school

 Your work could be the difference for someone in need of by-stander CPR and in building our next generation of lifesavers in your community!

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Rhonda Hall, Massachusetts

Eight years ago, Rhonda Hall was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and soon after that, she was diagnosed with diabetes. In just one day, she became a four shot-a-day diabetic and had high cholesterol and hypertension as well. Rhonda explained that it was an extremely tough time, but despite the challenges she eventually started working out every day and joined an organization to help her get her eating habits back on the right track. Rhonda has now lost 100 pounds over the past year and because of her lifestyle change, she is no longer an insulin-dependent or medicine-dependent diabetic. She has cut her hypertension and high cholesterol medicine in half and is doing everything that she can to let people know that they can do it too. “Many people in my family are diabetic and when we talk about our family history, we think that that’s the end of the story, and it doesn’t have to be,” explained Hall. "I don’t care what my history says, because my history says I should still be on 4 shots a day, but my determination says no more.” Rhonda was named a 2014-2015 National Go Red Real Woman. Rhonda continues to share her story and helps let all women know that through simple changes, everybody has an opportunity to get healthy.

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