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New York City Leaders Support Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund

On a cold, drizzly spring afternoon, city leaders joined advocates on the steps of City Hall to rally for the state to replenish the fund that helps to address food deserts in New York.  The weather wasn't going to stop us!  Thanks to Council Members Crowley and Levin, and advocates from The Food Trust, Make the Road New York, City Harvest and of course the American Heart Association, the elected leaders in Albany heard us loud and clear!  The state must invest wisely and support healthy food access.

The Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund was established 3 years ago with a $10 million investment by the state.  Those dollars were immediately leveraged to create an approximately $30 million pot of funding for prospective business owners to build new markets in the neighborhoods that need it most.  Thanks to this fund, more than 15 projects have been approved, bringing healthier food to all New Yorkers.  To learn more about our rally in NYC in support of the Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund, click here:

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Roosevelt Island Supports Community CPR Training!

Thanks to advocates Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, Sharon Williams and a great group of volunteers, Roosevelt Island is quickly becoming the safest place to be if you suffer a cardiac arrest!  Lynne and Sharon have helped implement a community training program that prepares New Yorkers to use hands-only CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the case that someone's heart stops beating.  More than 300 people have been trained in these life-saving skills as a result of their efforts! 

To learn more information, or to find out about future training dates, visit this link:

We hope that the high school on Roosevelt Island soon starts to train students as well so they can be designated CPR Smart like Port Richmond High School was last week.  If Lynne and Sharon have their way, everyone in this vibrant slice of Manhattan will soon be prepared to help save a life! 

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Thank you, Council Member Crowley!

Following up on the recent introduction of our PE Reporting bill in New York City, Council Member Crowley took to the TV to help advocate for her proposal.  Check out the link here:

Thank you, Council Member Crowley, for sharing our message and promoting the need for improved physical education in NYC!

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Making Progress on PE in NYC

New York City Council has joined our fight to improve Physical Education in New York City!

At their Stated Meeting on February 12th, legislation was introduced that will help to improve the transparency of how schools are (or are not) complying with the state's PE requirements. The Council's introduction will create a reporting mechanism whereby a school will have to share the framework of their PE program, and that information will be provided publicly to parents, advocates and groups like the American Heart Association.  This data can help us gain a better understanding regarding the obstacles faced on the way to compliance with state law.

You may remember that the AHA's Advocacy Committee coordinated a research project a couple of years ago, in an effort to clarify the status of PE in our city's schools.  The survey looked at how often PE was offered to students, the length of time for each class, as well as other indicators of a quality PE curriculum.  You can review the report here:

Our research was referenced heavily throughout the press event that announced the legislation.  In fact, this graphic showing our results was displayed to highlight the inequity that exists among neighborhoods regarding PE compliance:

Our concern is long as schools are allowed to ignore the state laws regarding PE, this disparity will persist.  Without quality PE, a student cannot be guaranteed an opportunity to embrace the value of sustained, physical activity which is pivotal for long-term cardiovascular health.  If we truly want to address health equity in NYC, then physical education must be a priority for every school!

Thanks to Council Members Crowley, Rosenthal, Johnson and Dromm for their early support of this pivotal issue. With their help, we will achieve our goal...#PE4All

If you haven't already done so, please take action via this link (and please share it widely with all New Yorkers!)  We need your help to gain more Council sponsors in the weeks ahead:

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Advocate, Pam Bonney, Testifies at NYC Board of Health Hearing

Today, the American Heart Association presented testimony to the New York City Board of Health encouraging improvements for the quality of child care facilities in our city. We are truly passionate about obesity prevention in our youngest New Yorkers, and our comments focused on the impact of nutrition and physical activity standards as effective ways to promote health.  Thanks to Pamela Bonney, AHA Advocacy Committee member and registered dietician, who spoke on behalf of our organization and provided an excellent voice for our mission.

Learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle should be taught at a young age. We know obesity is a problem...obesity and excess weight cause health concerns such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Because 69% of all US adults are either overweight or obese, it is absolutely necessary that our city’s children learn healthy behaviors now in order to eventually improve our city's health.

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Icy Conditions Freezes 911 Response in NYC

As New Yorkers, we are all familiar with the harsh effects of winter months.  And we’re typically equipped to roll with the punches. However, when our city was hit with a severe winter storm on Sunday, heavy rains and freezing temperatures caused black ice conditions with troubling consequences.

With numerous pile-ups and crashes throughout the city, NYC EMS required the help of over 30 crews from  Nassau and Westchester counties and New Jersey to assist in their efforts; this still was not enough.

That morning, from about 8 am until 10 am, there was reportedly a backlog of 600 emergency calls. At 2:30 pm, 200 calls were still on hold. Despite significant planning and training, mishaps can still be expected to occur. You’ve heard this from the AHA before, but it bears repeating, it’s important that we focus on increasing the number of people who are ready to act when an emergency strikes and calling 911 is not enough. In these situations, every minute matters, and bystander intervention saves lives. Through the CPR in Schools policy, we can ensure that our students have the tools necessary to keep a victim alive until help arrives, regardless of the weather conditions. By supporting the implementation of this policy, you are allowing our city’s students to stop being witnesses and start becoming life-savers.

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A Holiday Gift from the FDNY!

The Fire Department of New York announced that they are dedicating resources to help train 5000 high school students in the lifesaving skill of hands-only CPR! While the FDNY isn't funded to train every student, their support of the CPR in Schools movement is a huge boost to the effort.  As the city and state consider the next steps for the CPR in Schools policy, having the FDNY devote such a significant level of time, funding and energy to the cause is pivotal.  Thank you to the city for prioritizing the FDNY's CPR Unit to help train the next generation of lifesavers!

To learn more about the program, follow this link:

Consider sharing the link with your local high school!  And make sure you take action on the alert to share our gratitude with the city leadership for their support!

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What to do when 911 Goes Down?

New York City reportedly escaped unscathed last month when our 30-year-old 911 system went down for about 2 hours. Subject to much scrutiny, the city's emergency system went silent causing responders to use a back-up system that relied on pen, paper and extra staff. All reports seem to indicate that of the several hundred calls received by 911 during that time, none were life-threatening and any delays were deemed 'minor.' While technology must serve as the backbone to our emergency response plan, we should congratulate the city for having a back-up plan in place. But what if an emergency had been life-threatening? What if someone you knew collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest - when every minute matters? A delay in response would not have seemed so minor then. This is one of a million reasons why we should implement the CPR in Schools policy! It's not enough to just call 911. All of us need to know what to do to keep a victim alive until the ambulance arrives. Our students must be prepared to be life-savers!

To learn more about the 911 story, follow this link:

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Dr. Sohah Iqbal, New York City

Dr. Sohah Iqbal is the current president of the American Heart Association Young Professionals, an Interventional Cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, and a staunch advocate for CPR education in our city's high schools.

Dr. Iqbal poignantly shares the story of two of her own patients who both presented with a cardiac arrest at their gyms. Both were under that age of 50, both were generally active but mildly overweight. Neither patient smoked nor saw a doctor regularly. Both were brought to the hospital by EMTs where Dr Iqbal was able to open up the blocked arteries to stop the damage to the heart. However, this is where the similarities stopped. One of the patients left the hospital alive a few weeks later and the other never woke up from the coma after his cardiac arrest, even though his heart was fixed. The difference is that the patient that lived had CPR initiated right away by another person working out at the gym while the other did not. He had to wait until EMTa arrived to start CPR, and by then it was too late.

Dr. Iqbal loves her job but the hardest thing is knowing the most crucial minutes happen before she ever sees the patient. Knowing that more New Yorkers need to learn how to do CPR so she can save more lives as a cardiologist, she is asking Commissioner John King of the NY State Education Department to recommend this curriculum standard for every high school across the state!

Photo: Dr. Iqbal at the Statehouse in Albany for the AHA's CPR Rally (June 2014).



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Did you hear the news re: NYC schools?

Mayor Bill de Blasio made a revolutionary statement today which addressed long-promised reforms regarding schools in NYC. Even though these reforms include a serious financial investment and the expansion of the school day for a significant number of schools, it misses the opportunity to prioritize the implementation of the state physical education. We know that physical activity affects not only long-term health, but also academic performance. If you review the American Heart Association's own Survey Report on Physical Education in New York City (January 2013) the two most prevalent obstacles for schools to comply with the state standards for PE were lack of space and lack of time. That's why we believe these new reforms are a great chance to highlight the need to improve PE compliance in NYC schools - for our children's health and academic success!

For more information about the Mayor's proposal, follow this link:

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