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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.

Watch a video highlighting the award winners below!

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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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Carol Sterling

Carol Sterling began her time as a volunteer for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in Ponca City, working with Heart Walk. Over the past few years, Carol became involved in the Go Red for Women campaign through the Passion Committee. Her first opportunity to learn about Advocacy happened when she attended her first Go Red Day at the Capitol event in February 2014, where she spoke to her state lawmakers about the importance of CPR training for High School students.
 
Since then, Carol has been an active member of the You’re the Cure network, and participated in many proclamation ceremonies for Stroke and Heart disease awareness. Carol is a Heart Disease survivor, and enjoys sharing her story with lawmakers because she believes it’s important to put a face to heart disease in Oklahoma.
 
Carol will soon head to Washington D.C. for the 2015 You’re the Cure on the Hill Lobby Day and will meet with members of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation on important issues such as funding for the National Institute of Health and School Nutrition. 

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Become the Cure, Join Our Advocacy Team!

Why is Advocacy important to the American Heart Association?

Advocacy connects the American Heart Association’s mission to the issues, opportunities and challenges shaping the health of communities across our country.  Through the creation and implementation of public policy, the promotion of cardiovascular health is transformed into a tangible force that defines and measures our efforts to achieve the American Heart Association’s mission of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

How can I make an impact?

As a member of the You're the Cure Network, we make it easy to become a leader in our advocacy efforts:

  •  Serve on an Advocacy Committee

The American Heart Association is a volunteer driven organization that relies on the experiences and knowledge of volunteers from every walk of life to achieve our mission.  In order to do so, we assemble advocacy committees that help shape policies and provide leadership and support on state and local efforts.  Whether you are a medical professional, business person, teacher, government employee, survivor, family member of a survivor, or just a concerned citizen you can contribute to these efforts in a meaningful way.  

  • Meet with Elected Officials

Throughout the year, American Heart Association staff visits with members of Congress and state legislative members at their local district offices to share the AHA’s legislative priorities.  During these friendly meetings, elected officials learn more about AHA’s community programs and how they can be of support. 

To join in these efforts and share your personal connection with AHA, please contact Erin Hackett, at 303.801.4652 or via email at Erin.Hackett@heart.org.


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We are going mobile!

Text 'YTC2015' to 52886 to begin receiving campaign updates and calls to action via text messages! 

You don't have to be a lobbyist to call on lawmakers - just an advocate passionate about heart and stroke issues. In just a few moments, you can make a huge difference.

We'll make it easy for you to email, phone or even visit your legislators. And we'll keep you informed on the progress you're making as one of the very important voices for the cure.

Together You’re the Cure advocates have succeeded in creating smoke-free communities, placing AEDs in public places, securing funding for medical research, and more through policy change.

Text 'YTC2015' to 52886 today!

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Tania Boughton

Tania Noelle Boughton is Chair of the AHA State Leadership Council for Obesity Prevention, the author of cookbook Eating Light, Done Right, and the founder of “Check the Light Before You Bite!” a healthy eating program in school districts, geared toward helping children make healthier food choices. But first and foremost, Tania is Mom to her two sons.
 
A few years ago, Tania saw what appeared to be a hole in the self-help/cookbook market. As she quickly dropped her baby weight and experienced droves of people at the gym asking how, began to she dig deeper. She realized that while she had made the decision to stop eating emotionally, many of these people had not. Herein lies the groundwork for Eating Light, Done Right: Simply Sinless Recipes from the Single Mom Next Door. Drawing on her experience in the military counseling troops on weight control, she quickly realized that she loved helping people face the demons within. This turning point redirected her life in a positive direction.
 
As a mom, Tania knows how important it is to make eating healthy fun for kids. That’s why she teamed up with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to establish a program called “Check the Light Before You Bite!” to reward kids when they choose healthy food options at school. The program is in full swing with sponsors, teams and professional athletes signing on, however she quickly realized that her work needed to be taken a step further. Rewarding children for writing recipes, essays and making healthier eating decisions was progress, however it wasn't enough. As she traveled further into schools and the underserved areas, she realized that many of these children didn't have the option to eat healthfully, because they had little to no access to grocery stores and healthy food.
 
Tania understood that her journey to improve children’s health would not be complete without being involved in advocacy through You’re the Cure, to engage Texas lawmakers to change policies for the better. Tania came upon a poignant moment this past December when delivering holiday gifts to an elementary school in Dallas. The hallways were lined with children, Pre-K to fifth grade, waiting to go home. Each student was holding an apple or pear, given to them by the cafeteria staff because otherwise the fruit would have spoiled overnight.

Tania was struck by the fact that these apples and pears may be the only fruit, or dinner that the children would have at home that night. This moment was both heartbreaking and motivating, all in one. The Voices for Healthy Kids Texas Campaign, in which Tania is an active participant through her role on the State Leadership Council, will work diligently to change this, so all Texas families can access grocery stores. Tania is passionate about engaging more volunteers in this effort, and the You’re the Cure Texas team thanks her for her dedication!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Thurman Paul

Thurman Paul is like many You’re the Cure Advocates connected to stroke. His father’s uncle suffered a stroke two years ago.  His interest in the Advocacy work of the American Heart Association began with a simple call to action to sign a petition in support of obesity prevention on the community level.

Thurman promptly signed the petition and answered a follow-up email to supporters of the petition asking for those interested in learning more about the American Heart Association’s advocacy work to reply to the email. He did so because he believes finding a cure for heart disease and stroke should be a priority.  Thurman’s first activity as a You’re the Cure Advocate involved a visit to U.S. Senator James Inhofe’s office to advocate for the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The concept of volunteerism and activism is not a new one for Thurman. He recently returned from a service trip to Nicaragua where he taught classes and distributed food and supplies to youth groups.

Thurman has also worked with his mother to visit juvenile centers and visit with youth.   Travel and new experiences are a driving factor in his commitment to service. “Volunteerism is a way for me to give back while being around people,” he said. 

Interested in becoming more involved with the American Heart Association’s fight to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke? Email Brian Bowser at brian.bowser@heart.org to learn more about how you can take action!

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Stroke Bill Considered in the New Mexico Legislature

An important bill that will help stroke patients get faster quality treatment is being considered in the New Mexico Legislature.  We need your help to ask lawmakers to vote YES on SB 81!

Take Action Now!  https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=36384#Ind_ID] 

This bill will allow for the development of emergency medical service protocols related to the care of stroke patients. Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability in our state and is the #5 killer.

The development of these protocols will help to help stroke patients receive quality care in a timely manner and improve outcomes. We strongly endorse this legislation because it will help get stroke patients the fast treatment and quality of care that is so essential.                 

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'Going Nuts' May Help Heart Health

“Going nuts” might actually be heart-healthy, according to the latest study to examine the association of nut and peanut consumption with mortality.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute examined nut and peanut intake and mortality in three separate groups over an average of six years and found lower rates of death, especially from heart disease. The study was published online this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Studies for the last few decades have probed the question of whether and how nut and peanut intake reduces the chances of death from cardiovascular diseases and other illnesses, such as cancer. But the new study’s senior author, Dr. Xiao-Ou Shu, said this most recent investigation is important because it focuses on low-income and racially diverse populations – a group of primarily African-American and low-income people in the United States, two groups of people in Shanghai, China – while the others were mostly among white or wealthier groups.

“The bottom line is peanuts may be able to serve as an alternative for nuts in cardiovascular health,” said Shu, associate director for Global Health at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and professor of medicine in the Division of Epidemiology. “Particularly for people who cannot afford to incorporate tree nuts.”

Peanuts are legumes, not nuts, because they grow in bushes.

Participants included more than 70,000 Americans of African and European descent from the Southern Community Cohort Study, who were mostly low-income and more than 130,000 Chinese from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study and the Shanghai Men’s Health Study.

Peanut consumption was associated with a 17 percent to 21 percent reduction in deaths and a 23 percent to 38 percent decrease in cardiovascular death, across all three racial and ethnic groups, among both genders and among people with low socioeconomic status.

The study measured the estimated nut/peanut intake level during the last year before investigators began tracking survival status for participants and found that the most beneficial amounts for the U.S. population was about 18 grams or 2/3 ounce of nuts and peanuts a day. That’s a small handful.

Interestingly, Shu said, that jibes with the recommendation from the American Heart Association.

Lifestyle guidelines from the AHA and American College of Cardiology specifically include nuts as part of a dietary pattern that is associated with reduced atherosclerotic risk.
The next step, according to Shu, is to continue to follow the three study groups and look into whether there are any biomarkers in the populations that help to measure the nut/peanut intake more accurately, and to investigate nut/peanut intake in association with mortality from other causes, such as specific types of cancer. She said these studies have collected urine and blood samples and will be able to dig deeper into why the nut consumption helps, such as by comparing metabolic profiles of those who eat more peanuts to those eat less within each of the study groups.

“We hope someone will pick up this idea and do a clinical trial to draw some more conclusions,” Shu said.

Nuts and seeds are typically rich in unsaturated fats, magnesium, and copper, with smaller amounts of protein, fiber, and iron. Still here are few points to remember about nut intake:
• Salt. Each 1-ounce serving, about ¼ cup or 4 flat tablespoons, of salted nuts can have as much as 100 to 300 mg of sodium. So it’s important to check the nutrition facts for sodium and look for unsalted, raw or lightly salted brands.
• Portion control. The latest cohort study showed benefits from nut intake for people who ate 2/3 ounce, or about 18 grams, of peanuts a day, on average. That’s about a handful, with about 28 peanuts per ounce.


HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

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