American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
Update: Healthy Vending in Albuquerque

We are working in Albuquerque, with City Councilmen Pat Davis and Brad Winters, to pass and implement an ordinance that would allow for healthier foods to be sold in vending machines in all city owned buildings.  These improvements create a healthier environment for city employees, citizen-visitors and participants in city programs. 

Healthy food standards can benefit Albuquerque in many ways, including:

  • Demonstrating a commitment to addressing obesity
  • Increasing access to healthier food options
  • Increasing the accessibility of fruit and vegetable choices
  • Decreasing daily sodium intake
  • Decreasing empty calorie consumption
  • Decreasing added sugar intake
  • Increasing dietary fiber sources
  • Assisting to help reduce the economic burden of obesity
  • Leading from the top in making healthy food choices

We applaud these two councilmen for leading this effort in making the healthy choice the easy choice for city employees and residents.  We will continue to update you as the ordinance progresses, and hope that you can lend your voice to the effort.  

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AHA President Says: The Science is Clear on Sodium Reduction

Check this out! In a new video, the President of the AHA, Dr. Mark Creager, explains that the science behind sodium reduction is clear. He says that robust evidence has linked excess sodium intake with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. And, he points out that you can do something about it: join AHA’s efforts to demand change in the amounts of sodium in our food supply.

“Nearly 80 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods” says AHA president Dr. Mark Creager. The video shows the 6 foods that contribute the most salt to the American diet: breads & rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches."

To see the video, head over to our Sodium Breakup blog!

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Meet Jessica Westerman

Please meet Jessica Westerman, an amazing American Heart Association advocate that commits time and passion to support the Advocacy Team in our Little Rock, Arkansas office.  Most recently as a resident of Bryant, Jessica has been helping on our Smoke-Free Bryant campaign. 

Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music

Hobbies: Spending time with family & friends, traveling, watching & attending Razorback football games

Kids: Addison (daughter-8 )and Mackenzie (daughter-4)

Pets: Mollie (Maltipoo) and Lindsay (Pekingese pug mix)

Two celebrities I’d like to have dinner with: Julie Andrews & Kenny Chesney


Why is advocating with the AHA important to you?

”Advocating with the American Heart Association is very important to me, because heart disease and stroke have affected my family. My mom had a stroke in 2009 and thankfully fully recovered. My maternal grandmother died after having a stroke and my maternal grandfather had heart disease for 35+ years before he passed away.

Another reason I’m so passionate about volunteering with AHA is that I was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. Tetralogy of Fallot consists of four abnormalities of the heart; such as a hole in the septum, narrowing of the pulmonary valve, a thick right ventricle and an overriding aorta. I had surgery to correct these abnormalities at birth and 1 year old. I am blessed to be healthy today and haven’t had a valve replacement yet.

I used to be self-conscious about my scar from my open heart surgeries. But, I learned over the years to be proud of that scar. It shows that I am a survivor and it gives me the opportunity to tell my story and bring about awareness of Tetralogy of Fallot. I love volunteering with the American Heart Association and feel like I’m helping make a difference to bring about awareness of heart disease and stroke.”

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The healthy difference a month can make

March is Nutrition Month, and a perfect time to get more involved with the AHA’s ongoing efforts to promote science-based food and nutrition programs that help reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Every day, we’re seeing new initiatives: to make fruits and vegetables more affordable; to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened beverages that our kids are drinking; and of course, to ensure students are getting the healthiest school meals possible, all with the same goal: to help families across the country lead the healthiest lives they possibly can.

It’s also a great opportunity to lower your sodium intake. The average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day – more than twice the AHA-recommended amount. Excessive sodium consumption has been shown to lead to elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Visit for tips on to lower your intake and to get heart-healthy recipes.

However you choose to celebrate, Nutrition Month gives us all the chance to take control of our diets; to recommit to eating fresh, healthy foods; and to remember all month long that you’re the cure.

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A generation of lifesavers for New Mexico!

Last week in New Mexico, Governor Susana Martinez signed House Bill 104 and Senate Bill 1 into law.  These bills add CPR to the health class requirements for all students in New Mexico.  Now that this legislation has passed ,all students in New Mexico will receive hands on, psychomotor skills based CPR training prior to high school graduation.  

By training high school students in CPR and first aid, we are equipping approximately 100,000 New Mexico residents with the skills to save lives over the next five years, creating new generations of lifesavers in New Mexico!

Thank you to Governor Martinez for signing the bills and to Representative McMillan and Senator Sanchez for carrying the bills through the legislative process in New Mexico!

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Meet Christa Coleman

We're pleased to introduce you to You're the Cure Advocate, Christa Coleman, from Lonsdale, Arkansas.

Christa recently attended our Go Red For Women Survivor Gallery Unveiling at the Arkansas State Capitol. Her family had spent the past week at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) with her daughter, Adyson, after she had open-heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect (CHD). Their support team of parents and ACH staff shared with them that an American Heart Association event was taking place across the street at the Capitol where survivors, just like Adyson, were being honored. Christa and her husband made their way over to the Capitol where they were moved by the many stories of survival and the large group of supporters present. Shortly after the event, Christa felt that the AHA was the right place for her to share her passion for advocacy with others. We are now thankful to have Christa as a volunteer, and most recently worked with her at an event in her hometown to spread awareness about the public policy efforts of the American Heart Association in Arkansas.

A huge thank you to the Coleman Family for being so amazing! For this volunteer spotlight we would like to share a photo Christa and Krista Thornton. They both supported AHA advocacy outreach efforts on Saturday, February 27th at Saline Memorial Hospital's The Beat Goes On 5K.  The second photo is Christa's daughter, Adyson.

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Albuquerque turns Civic Plaza RED!

Heart disease and stroke claim the lives of 1 in 3 women. For more than 10 years, the American Heart Association has sponsored National Wear Red Day® to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women. Women, men, and local businesses of Albuquerque were invited to participate in National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 5, 2016. 

Local supporters of the Go Red movement met at Civic Plaza for the annual Wear Red Day rally, which included presentations from Mayor Richard Berry, longtime advocate for the American Heart Association, and others. National Wear Red Day is presented locally by the Albuquerque Goes Red sponsor, Lovelace Health Systems.

A huge thank you to all of our supporters for joining us to make this photo spectacular! Wear red, be proud, be loud. #ABQGoRed

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Advocating for Heart Day at New Mexico State Capitol

On Tuesday, February 2nd in Santa Fe the American Heart Association held a successful Advocating for Heart Day. Advocates braved the snow to participate in a morning advocate training in preparation for the day. During the training, volunteers learned about our legislative priorities and received an update on grassroots activities.

Next, we made our way to the New Mexico State Capitol and down to the House chambers where advocates were able to speak with many legislators and give thanks to those that have been champions and supporters of the AHA. Resolutions were read in both the House and Senate chambers during the day. In the Senate, several lawmakers stood to show support and share the impact of heart disease on their families and constituents. Advocates made afternoon office visits to their elected officials where support was secured for AHA policy priorities for 2016. To end the day the group made their way to a private meet and greet with Governor Susan Martinez.

A huge thank you to all of our advocates that joined us for this event!

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Meet Dr. Abinash Achrekar

Dr. Abinash Achrekar has been a volunteer for the American Heart Association for quite some time. He got involved because of his dedication to helping raise awareness around the prevention and treatment of heart disease. For the past three years he has served on the Albuquerque Executive board, and he currently serves as the board President.

In 2015, Dr. Achrekar and his wife dove a little deeper into their volunteer roles and decided to chair the heart ball, a heavy lift for any Volunteer. That summer, Dr. Achrekar and the board also spearheaded an effort to begin figuring out how New Mexico could be the 28th state to add CPR as a requirement for graduation from high school. He decided this was something that he was passionate enough about to try and move at a policy level, even though there had been some challenges around this issue for quite some time within the state of New Mexico. Dr. Achrekar has been involved in multiple meetings focused on CPR in schools at both the Albuquerque and state level, and has offered his expertise as a cardiologist to the effort for the past 9 months. He is excited and hopeful that 2016 will be the year that CPR becomes a graduation requirement in New Mexico for high school students, helping to prepare thousands of graduates with the knowledge and skills to save a life.

Dr. Achrekar has been committed to advocating for AHA because most cardiovascular disease is preventable, whether through policy, programs or best practices. He is committed to a New Mexico free of cardiovascular disease, and he truly believes that a collected well informed voice is the way to achieve that goal.

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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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