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Lobby Day MVPs in the Spotlight

There were SO many amazing stories surrounding this year’s Hill Day that it was hard to narrow down our annual lobby day award winners. Not a bad problem to have! Please join us in congratulating these You’re the Cure MVPs, and then learn more about their stories in this video.

 

  • Science Advocate of the year – Dr. David Yu-Yiao Huang: Dr. Huang has been involved with AHA advocacy since 2003. From submitting expert written testimony and attending in-district meetings, to speaking before lawmakers, his passion for policy and his belief in the positive change policy can achieve has contributed significantly to big wins in North Carolina.
  • Volunteer Advocate of the Year – Theresa Conejo: Theresa has been one of the key proponents of Pennsylvania’s comprehensive smoke-free law. Last year, she signed a smoke-free op-ed which was picked up by major news outlets across the state. She also aggressively advocated for the proposed Clean Indoor Law. In addition, she recruits new You’re the Cure advocates at every opportunity. In fact, just recently, she signed up an additional 35 volunteers to join her in Pennsylvania’s smoke-free fight.
  • Survivor Advocate of the Year – Jim Bischoff: Jim’s own struggle with heart disease, as well as his experience with his son-in-law’s stroke, gives him a unique perspective to share during state and federal lobby days and meetings with lawmakers. His family history inspired him to provide leadership on stroke systems of care legislation. He also dedicates his time to tobacco issues, and attends in-district meetings with his lawmaker to discuss both of these important issues.
  • Youth Advocate of the Year – Cassidy Collins: Cassidy uses her story as a congenital heart survivor to illustrate the importance of AHA’s policy issues. At the age of 16, her resume is already quite impressive – she’s met with U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to advocate for tobacco control funding; she has been a top fundraiser for the Roanoke Heart Walk for two years; and she has applied to work as a youth advocate for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Check out a video below highlighting the award winners!

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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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Evidence Shows Stroke System Working on Hemorrhagic Strokes

Check out this great article from the AHA / ASA Newsroom, our Stroke System work is so focused around ischemic stroke (because it’s more common), but the evidence is starting to show that the same approach improves outcomes for hemorrhagic strokes too.

People with hemorrhagic strokes (brain bleeds) are more likely to survive if they are treated at a comprehensive stroke center, according to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Hemorrhagic strokes, which account for about 13 percent of all strokes, are caused when a weakened blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds in the surrounding brain.  Comprehensive stroke centers typically have the specialists and trained personnel to deal with patients with these ruptures or other types of bleeding in the brain.  They also can provide neurological intensive care and 24-hour access to neurosurgery.  The American Heart Association, in conjunction with the Joint Commission, accredits Comprehensive Stroke Centers that meet standards to treat the most complex stroke cases.

" Clinicians, especially emergency-room physicians, need to be aware of the severity and potential implications of hemorrhagic stroke and try to transfer patients to the hospital most capable of providing the full complement of care.  When a person is diagnosed with a hemorrhagic stroke, loved-ones should ask about the possibility of a transfer, " said James S. McKinney, M.D., lead author and assistant professor of neurology at the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Continue reading here

 

 

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Dr. Steven Kopecky - Letter to the Editor

Dr. Steven Kopecky's letter to the editor was published in the Rochester paper today, check it out!

I appreciate that Sen. Carla Nelson represents the residents of Senate District 26 so well, especially on important health issues such as reducing the harmful effects of tobacco.

Sen. Nelson has a solid track record of championing policies that reduce youth smoking. She was a chief author on a bill that closed a tax loophole on the sale of little cigars that are cheap and are sold in kid-friendly flavors. She authored legislation to increase the tobacco tax in Minnesota — "the most effective tool we have at reducing youth smoking rates." Most recently, Sen. Nelson spoke out in opposition to a bill that would obliterate the tax on premium cigars.

Yet, tobacco still kills 5,100 Minnesotans every year, and the tobacco companies continue to spend millions to lure kids and nonsmokers to pick up the deadly habit.  See full article here

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AHA Board Member Debra Rectenwald's Letter to the Editor

AHA-Twin Cities board member Debra Rectenwald writes in a letter to the editor in Sunday’s Pioneer Press that Minnesota lawmakers have the unique opportunity this session to lay the groundwork for a modern transportation system by including "greater investment in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure…" ‪#FundBikePedinMN   Check out the letter below!

3M: bicycle friendly

I am proud that my company, 3M, is one of the 58 Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Minnesota. As part of our culture of wellness, I encourage my colleagues to walk and bike to promote camaraderie among our team and overall health. We know that people who are more physically active have fewer health problems, greater productivity and can help us reduce health care costs, which have grown sharply.

However, more must be done in our communities to make it safer to walk and bike. With just weeks left in the Legislature's session, lawmakers have a unique opportunity this year to chart a new course and lay the groundwork for a modern transportation system -- one that provides real transportation choices. I support greater investment in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure throughout our communities to make walking and biking more accessible for my colleagues and all Minnesotans. I truly hope the Legislature feels the same.

Debra Rectenwald, Inver Grove Heights

The writer is vice president and general manager of the Abrasive Systems Division at 3M and a board member of the American Heart Association-Twin Cities.

 

See it online here

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Upper Midwest Obesity Rates Trimmed by Minnesota!

Check out this press release from the Minnesota Department of Health! Way to go Minnesota!

Minnesota has outperformed nearby states by being the only one of its neighbors to bend the curve on obesity rates, according to a recent MDH analysis of CDC data.

Minnesota’s adult obesity rates have held constant since 2008, while rates continued climbing nationally and in nearby states. Minnesota was the only state in the region, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa, to succeed at bringing its obesity rate below 26 percent. Minnesota’s rates have stayed below 26 percent since 2010, while according to the most recent 2013 CDC data, neighboring states have seen their rates climb to the range of 29 to 31 percent.

In addition, the number of Minnesotans at a healthy weight in 2013 has increased by more than 60,000 compared with 2010. This is more than 11 percent higher than the U.S. as a whole. By keeping obesity rates flat in Minnesota, MDH estimates savings of $265 million in statewide obesity-related medical expenses incurred as of 2013.  Continue reading here

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MN Advocates Testify on AHA Issues at the Capitol

Last week was full of hearings up at the Capitol and State Office Building! We want to thank ALL of our volunteers who testified on our issues. Check it out below:

The House Transportation Finance Committee released their omnibus transportation finance bill on Tuesday. We lined up 4 testifiers to focus on a narrative about bike/walk investment that stressed the business case and need for investment in Greater MN. Peter Grasse (3M Employees Bicycle User Group), Patrick Hollister (Active Living Planner, PartnerSHIP4Health), Dawn Moen (Program Specialist, BLEND-CentraCare Health Foundation), Dorian Grilley (Executive Director, Bicycle Alliance of MN).

Patrick Hollister (right) and Peter Grasse  (below) testified  at the MN House Transportation Committee hearing about the economic and social benefits that walkable/bikeable communities bring to Greater MN and the need for infrastructure in the suburbs to support bicycling as a real choice to get to and from work. ‪#‎FundBikePedinMN‬ ‪#‎mnleg

Dawn Moen (below), testified in the MN House Transportation Committee, thanking the committee for their support of Safe Routes to School and advocating for more state investment in active transportation.

 

 

 

The Physical Education bill was heard in the Senate Education Budget Division on Thur. April 8th and in the House Education Finance Committee on Friday April 10th. Matt Johnson, PE teacher at Hassan Elementary School in Rogers (main picture and below), testified on our bill to ensure all MN students get a quality physical education. He opened by asking the committee members to stand up and move around to get some blood flow to the brain.

 

The bill will be laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus education bill. Thank you, Rep. Bob Dettmer, for being a tremendous lead author and champion for PE!

Dr. Russell Luepker, a longtime AHA volunteer (below) testified against the proposed tax relief for premium cigars in the Senate Tax Committee on Wed. April 8th. He did a fantastic job, as always, standing up against reducing the hard won tobacco tax increase we achieved in 2013. Check out this interesting article in the Star Tribune covering the hearing: “Cigar tax cut considered at Capitol, but anti-smoking activists push back”

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