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Dr. Mitchell S. Elkind, New York

Dr. Mitchell S. V. Elkind, a member of the American Heart Association’s Board of Directors, is gravely concerned about the high rates of hypertension in New York City.  And he’s pushing the city to do something about it. 

Dr. Elkind recently submitted testimony to the New York City Board of Public Health, supporting the proposal to place a warning icon next to restaurant menu items when food possesses a dangerous level of sodium.

In a recent interview, Dr. Elkind, a neurology and epidemiology professor at Columbia University in New York, stated that “people really have no idea how much salt they’re eating, and many would be shocked to discover they can get their full recommended daily salt intake at a single meal, or even a single dish. We have to educate them every step of the way, instead of just putting out a pamphlet that nobody reads. Educating people at the place where they’re actually eating could make a big difference.”

In his comments to the Board of Health, Dr. Elkind emphasized that dietary salt consumption is one of the most important, modifiable factors that can impact one’s blood pressure. If we reduced our individual salt intake, even slightly, we could prevent as many as 32,000 deaths per year.

In research published in 2012, Dr. Elkind worked with a team of clinicians and epidemiologists to analyze data from a cohort study designed to determine stroke incidence, risk factors, and prognosis in a multiethnic urban population from northern Manhattan.  Their findings underscore the need for public health initiatives, like the proposal in NYC, to reduce the sodium level in our food supply.

Dr. Elkind, as an advocate for the American Heart Association, looks forward to the NYC Board of Health’s vote on the Sodium Warning Icon proposal and its swift implementation this winter.

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New York City and the Battle Against #SneakySalt

The New York City Health Department hopes to shed some light on the sneaky sources of salt in our diets.  Several weeks ago, they proposed a rule that would require chain restaurants to post a warning to patrons when menu items exceed the daily recommended limit of sodium.  And we agree...we should be warned when a single meal could give us more salt than any scientific health expert would recommend. Dangerously high levels of sodium have an impact on our brain and heart-health as it's a leading cause of high blood pressure.  Often called the silent killer, high blood pressure does not have any outward symptoms but can result in stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

The Board of Health hearing on July 29th discussed the merits of the proposal, countered by the restaurant and hospitality industry's concerns that the proposal would be onerous and burdensome.  However, just as the city led the nation almost 9 years ago in the effort to educate consumers about high-caloric foods hidden on our menus, New York once again has the opportunity to shine the spotlight on high-sodium foods.  With close to 80% of Americans' sodium intake coming from packaged or restaurant foods, this measure could go a long way toward empowering all of us to make healthier choices when we're dining out.

Thanks to the many supporters of the city proposal for sharing their enthusiastic endorsement of the policy - including many from the You're the Cure network!  Your voices were heard loud and clear at the hearing.

The Board of Health is now considering all of the comments shared by the public and will make a final determination on the rule at their next meeting in September.  If all goes well, we could see the warning icons being placed on city menus as early as this December!

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Options for CPR and AED Instruction in Schools

Thank you for your interest in training the next generation of lifesavers!  With your leadership, we can save more lives from the dangers of cardiac arrest in New York.  There are several low or no cost options for your school to consider for CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator) instruction.

Low Cost Option #1: CPR in Schools Training Kit™

Need a turnkey educational program to teach CPR with hands-on practice?               

The CPR in Schools Training Kit includes:

  • 10 Mini-Anne® Plus inflatable manikins
  • 10 kneel mats with carry bags
  • 10 practice-while-watching training DVDs (English & Spanish)
  • Hand pump for manikin inflation
  • 2 mesh collection and storage bags
  • Classroom carry bag
  • 50 replacement airways
  • 50 manikin wipes
  • 10 replacement face mask
  • Facilitator Guide
  • Lesson Plan
  • Online resources include: trainer webinar, tracking tool for numbers of students trained, facilitator training record, pre- and post-test, letter to parents, and printable certificate of completion
  • The CPR in Schools Training Kit is an all-in-one educational program for educators, school nurses and student leaders to train groups of students at once in a school setting. In one class period students will learn the core skills of CPR. The kit is reusable and can train hundreds of students.
  • Cost: $625

For more information or to order go to:  www.heart.org/cprinschools

Low Cost Option #2: Hands-Only CPR using the single CPR Anytime kit:

Each single CPR Anytime Kit includes:

  • Mini Anne® CPR Learning Manikin
  • CPR Skills Practice DVD (English & Spanish)
  • Adult CPR & AED Reminder Card
  • Mini Anne® replacement airway
  • Manikin Wipes
  • Cost: $38.50 per kit

CPR Anytime Kits are self-directed programs designed to teach the core skills of CPR in about 22 minutes. This self-directed DVD course teaches the core CPR and AED skills needed to recognize and take action during a cardiac arrest. On average, up to three people can learn from one kit. The kits can be used to train small groups and organizations.

For more information or to order go to:  www.cpranytime.org

No Cost Option #1:  Hands-Only CPR using online tools

  • Using existing school equipment (if school has access to a CPR manikin), students can simulate delivering compressions.
  • Video available at no-cost: http://www.handsonlycpr.org/
  • Hands-Only CPR Questions and Answers: http://www.handsonlycpr.org/faqs
  • Be the Beat is a website for teachers and school administrators that provides free tools and resources to help start and sustain CPR and AED programs in schools. Through this website, teachers can download free tools and resources to teach students the two simple steps to Hands-Only™ CPR.  http://bethebeat.heart.org

No Cost Option #2:  Partner with local EMS

Thanks to local EMS, some schools have received Hands-Only training for students at no cost to the school district.  There are many local ambulance services and other EMS organizations. 

https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/regional.htm

Tips for CPR and AED instruction in the classroom

What should be included in a school CPR training?

♥     Recognition of a possible cardiac arrest and calling 911.

♥     An opportunity for students to practice Hands-Only CPR (compressions).

♥     An awareness of the purpose of an AED and its ease and safety of use.

Suggested Materials (if not using a CPR Kit):

  • YouTube videos
  • CPR manikins  
  • Mats (such as gym mats, garden kneeling mats or yoga mats)
  • AED (Option of bringing students to the school AED)

Prior to class:

  • Inflate manikins.
  • Review any videos that will be used for classroom instruction.
  • Review the instructions provided with your AED (if an AED is available). 
  • If showing students the school AED, check with school officials to see if there is an alarm on the unit.  Some models have an alarm system if opened.
  • Place mat and manikins on the floor, move desks or tables as needed.  Students will kneel to perform compressions.  This is the ideal scenario for quality compression practice.
  • If manikins are placed on desks, students shall stand to perform compressions.

Lesson Plan:

Review why CPR is important:

  • Every hour in the U.S., 38 people will have a sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Sadly, about 90 percent of victims die most likely because they don’t receive timely CPR.
  • A victim’s best chance at survival is receiving bystander CPR until EMTs arrive. 
  • Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates.  

Demonstrate the steps for CPR or show video:

Students are given a demonstration on the steps of Hands-Only CPR.

http://www.handsonlycpr.org/

Students are instructed on AED use.

Divide students into small groups:

Act out the scenario “if someone sees an adult or teen suddenly collapse”. Students can take turns performing compressions.  Remind students to:

  • Check for responsiveness.
  • Call 9-1-1 and tell someone to get the AED.
  • If no signs of life, begin CPR compressions.  Pushing at least 2 inches deep, 100 compressions a minute. 

 To keep students engaged:

  • One student takes the lead and performs compressions. Have students perform 100 compressions in a minute.
  • One student simulates calling 9-1-1.
  • One student simulates going to get an AED if in a public place.

Have music? 

Choose songs that have 100 beats per minute such as “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.  For more song ideas, go to the Spotify list located at www.handsonlycpr.org.  Remind students to “Push Hard and Fast” to save a life.

Other videos:

Hands-Only CPR video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8iU3Mtblho&list=PL7A68846B17049716

Keep the beat, Learn Hands-Only CPR video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjKeTo3c2wM

Ken Jeong AHA Hands-Only video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5hP4DIBCEE

AEDs

What is an AED?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized medical device. An AED can check a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock. An AED can advise when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take.

AEDs are very accurate and easy to use. The AED will walk a person through use and determine if a shock is needed.

Where are they in our school? 

If you do not have an AED simulator, show the students the school’s AED.  Check with your school administration prior to demonstrating AED use with their device.  Remember, some models may have an alarm system if opened.

Discuss with the students how to use it and note many public places have AEDs.  Review the instructions provided with your AED

 In an emergency, you will need to:

  • TURN ON AED
  • Remove clothes from chest and apply pads.
  • Must stand clear of AED while analyzing (if needed push analyze button).
  • If shock is advised, tell everyone to stand clear.
  • Once clear, press shock button. 

Medical Emergency Response Plan

This lesson also presents a good opportunity to review the schools Medical Emergency Response Plan.

 

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My 'Why' - Kayla Bashe

Here's the latest blog post from our summer intern, Kayla Bashe -

During my gap year, I wanted to learn something useful, so I received training in first aid and CPR. Our instructor, a full-time EMT, told us about people whose lives could have been saved if only someone on the scene knew what to do, or about people who arrived at the hospital already dying because they hadn't known they were having a heart attack until it was too late. There was something incredibly empowering about receiving my little cardboard CPR certification card in the mail. I knew if I saw someone having a cardiac emergency, I would know what to do.

There's this saying that if you save someone's life, you save the entire world. Knowing that you're basically capable of doubling an entire world's chance of survival? There's nothing like it.

My father has been involved with the American Heart Association since I was an embryo. For a while, it was just 'That Thing My Dad Did', like watching cheesy comic-book movies or blasting religious techno music. But the more I learned about the AHA, the more I wanted to help. And when I realized I had a few free months during the summer, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Recently, I helped out at the advocacy table at our gigantic, record-setting CPR event in Times Square. We had a huge variety of participants - every type of person from the Naked Cowboy and the owner of Marnie the Dog to a grandmother visiting from Australia and a seven-year-old girl in a Frozen T-shirt. So many of those people will probably go on to teach CPR to others. Some of them might even save lives.

Volunteering at the AHA is basically the gift that keeps on giving. I get to help write press releases that teach people about the signs of a stroke or heart attack and send letters to legislators explaining why CPR should be taught in New York City schools. Everything I do, sitting here at my laptop, ripples out to have an impact I can't even imagine. I guess you could say I 'heart' being involved with this organization.

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Score: Vaping Industry 1 Public Health 0

State Senate adjourns without taking action to stop vaping in workplaces.  

A loophole in state law allows electronic cigarettes to be used where smoking is prohibited.  The American Heart Association joined with numerous public health groups in calling on state lawmakers to close this loophole.  Why are e-cigarettes still allowed in places where you can't smoke?  The short answer is because e-cigarettes didn’t exist when the earlier law was passed.  That's why numerous localities have passed local laws.  We are happy to report the NYS Assembly sided with public health and passed legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Rosenthal, to close this loophole.

Despite the championship of Senator Hannon, the bill's sponsor, the Senate failed to bring the bill for a vote. Given the large support from the public health community, it is disappointing to see some lawmakers heed the advice of the vaping and tobacco industry.

We need more research about the long-term health impact of e-cigarettes. We do know e-cigarettes are dangerous because they target young people, can keep people hooked on nicotine, and threaten to “re-normalize” tobacco use.  Even more disturbing, according to a new report from the CDC, e-cigarette use tripled among U.S. middle and high school students in just one year.

Thank you to everyone that helped move this bill forward in the Assembly.  We will continue to work to close the e-cigarette loophole in the next state session! 

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NYC Council Hearing on the PE Reporting Bill

Welcome another blog post from our summer intern, Kayla Bashe!

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This past week, the American Heart Association participated in a hearing for the PE Reporting bill in front of the NYC Council Committee on Education.

Just before the hearing began, we had a press conference on the steps of City Hall. The AHA and members of our Phys Ed for All coalition spoke about why city students need physical education. We care about kids' health and academic success.  And most schools in NYC aren't meeting the minimum standards for PE that are required by state law.

The American Heart Association was represented by Yuki Courtland, a member of our Advocacy Committee here in New York City.  Yuki had several opportunities throughout the day to address the impact that physical education can have on children's health and habits.

Inside, the City Council members heard from representatives of the NYC Department of Education, who spoke about their concerns in the bill. However, Council Member Dromm, a former teacher and Chair of the Education Committee, pointed out the discrepancies between their comments and the majority of collected research.

In one example from the testimony, an elementary school provided students with only one half-hour PE lesson per week.  And on that day, their teacher always noticed a huge improvement in their concentration and performance.

I learned that one of the biggest roadblocks to giving our city's students appropriate PE is that too many schools are forced to share the same areas, thereby making scheduling difficult. For example, six schools might have to use the same gym. Programs incorporating physical activity into classrooms can help bridge the gap, but to provide an effective solution, parents and advocacy groups need more and better information.

So before you switch off your computer and get moving, exercise your typing skills and make sure your city representatives support the PE reporting bill today!

Take action here:  http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=36879 

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PHONE BLITZ

IT'S TIME TO STOP VAPING IN WORKPLACES!  Time is running out in Albany to close the ecig loophole – yes, electronic cigarettes are allowed where smoking is prohibited! We are working to close this loophole…with just 2 legislative session days left, we need your help!  PHONE BLITZ TO ASSEMBLY AND SENATE LEADERS TODAY!! 

Leaving a message is easy…we do it all the time.  Simply call the numbers below and leave this message:

As a New York State resident, I urge you to pass legislation to include e-cigarettes in the Clean Indoor Air Act.

Senate Majority Leader Flanagan (518) 455-2071

Assembly Speaker Heastie (518) 455-3791

After you leave your message, just send a quick e-mail saying "done"  to julianne.hart@heart.org.

 When calling, you will likely just be asked for your name and hometown.  If you would like, here are other talking points:

  • Bill number is S2202 (FOR THE SENATE) and A5955 (FOR THE ASSEMBLY)
  • Why are e-cigarettes still allowed in places where you can't smoke?  The short answer is because e-cigarettes didn’t exist when the earlier law was passed.
  • What do we know about e-cigarettes?  That's the problem - we don't know enough. We need more research about the long-term health impact of e-cigarettes. 
  • We do know e-cigarettes are dangerous because they target young people, can keep people hooked on nicotine, and threaten to “re-normalize” tobacco use.
  • Even more disturbing, according to a new report from the CDC, e-cigarette use tripled among U.S. middle and high school students in just one year.

Let's close the e-cigarette loophole!  Thanks everyone!

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PE Reporting Bill Makes Progress!

Great news! New York City Council has scheduled a hearing for the PE Reporting Bill!

This long-awaited legislation will help to address a systemic concern in NYC schools - too few of them are meeting the state requirements for physical education.

According to American Heart Association research, the majority of city schools only offer PE one or two days per week in 45-minute sessions, which comes nowhere close to meeting recommended national guidelines.  Students deserve better, especially with their health on the line. That's why the PE Reporting Bill is needed.  It will require the NYC Education Department to disclose information on each school's PE program, allowing parents and groups like the AHA to know which schools may need additional assistance.

For many students, physical education is the best opportunity to pursue physical fitness. It shouldn't matter which school you attend - every student deserves quality PE. Physical education is the best equalizer - instilling a lifelong appreciation for exercise and healthy behavior. But many children are deprived of this valuable learning experience.  It is simply unfair that this inequity is permitted in our city schools!

The American Heart Association believes that healthy hearts are just as important as healthy minds, and we're optimistic that city lawmakers will agree.  Stay tuned for an action alert on this legislation in the next few days!

(This blog post was composed in part by Kayla Bashe, a new volunteer who will be helping the Advocacy Department in NYC this summer.  You'll see her name on our posts here occasionally.  Welcome, Kayla!)

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A New World Record!

The American Heart Association took over Times Square in New York City to set a new Guinness World Record - for the longest running set of consecutive chest compressions in a CPR Relay.  It was a powerful day highlighting the real reasons why CPR training matters.  The designation as a new Guinness World Record required that at least 250 people had to perform quality chest compressions in the relay. In the end, over 700 participated including survivors, clinicians, paramedics, teachers, students, families impacted by sudden cardiac arrest and more! 

The American Heart Association hosted the event in New York City as part of National CPR & AED Awareness Week. Relay participants each took a turn performing at least 60 chest compressions at 100 beats per minute on a single mannequin, with five seconds or less between turns.

Lawrence Phillips, M.D., director of nuclear cardiology at NYU Langone Medical Center and the visionary leader of this event, was No. 250 in the relay, officially setting the world record.  In true New York fashion, we then obliterated the record by achieving 700 total participants!

The AHA also presented its New York Region Heartsaver Hero Awards at the event. The distinguished awards are presented to those who have directly attempted to rescue a victim of cardiac arrest or otherwise helped to strengthen the Chain of Survival.

Congratulations to each of our award winners:

Jim Palmer

Marcy Syms

Patti Kenner

Jerry Kertesz of the Anthem Foundation

KKR & Co., LP

Karen and John Acompora

Joe Mendrick

JJ Pesany

Annette Adamczak

Sue Denis

Consulado General De México en Nueva York

Jody Scopa Goldman

James M. Horowitz, MD

Steve Tannenbaum

Lynne Strong-Shinozaki

Dave Gill

Tommy Watson

Fire Department of New York

Brandon Johnson, MD 

Nicholas Farber, MD

Lawrence M. Phillips, MD

*Photo by Angie Harrison

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Rich Greene, A Stroke Survivor with Heart

On January 14, 2009, Rich got up bright and early as usual -  5:00 a.m.  When he left for work, he felt something was off and thought perhaps it was dehydration. Soon after he had a headache. Then tired. He went to a walk-in clinic and was told it was a migraine.  That night, he began thrashing around. Just 48, Rich was having a stroke.

The  right side of his body was paralyzed.  His mouth was drooping.  At the hospital, doctors were not sure Rich would survive. Now, this stroke hero is sharing his story with others and advocating for the best care for stroke patients.  Recently, Rich traveled to Albany for the first ever Stroke Awareness Advocacy Day at the Capitol.

Rich knows why immediate care is critical for stroke patients - he had to fight to learn how to walk, how to dress himself and how to speak again.  His voice is back - and he's using it to help others.  Rich shared his story with media and lawmakers.  And he urged lawmakers to support legislation that will establish three tiers of stroke centers in New York because all stroke victims deserve the best care.

Now that's a hero! 

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