American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

LoginLogin with Facebook

Remember me Forgot Password

Be the Cure, Join Today!

  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
A Victory for Improving PE!

Before the beginning of the next school year, New York City parents will know whether or not their child receives adequate physical education. Thanks to you all - our You're the Cure network - the PE Reporting Bill is now law in New York City after nearly 5 years of effort!

Thanks to your advocacy, on October 29th, the City Council voted unanimously in support of the bill.  And fast forward just a few days later... on November 4th, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the PE Reporting bill into law!

Our campaign is not over yet.  We had hoped that the report would include some details related to other quality criteria, such as the description of the curriculum used by each school for their PE programs.  We think parents deserve to know what their kids are being taught, and if the school uses current, evidence-based curriculum. Additionally, when we see the first report due in August (and every August thereafter), we expect there will be additional work ahead to help schools further improve their PE programs.  So rest up because our fight continues!

But for now, let's celebrate our new PE Reporting Law!  Thanks to you, our Council champions, Comptroller Stringer and Mayor de Blasio...our city is taking strong steps in the right direction to help us achieve our mission - quality physical education for every student in New York City!


Read More

Kristin Salvi, New York

My name is Kristin Salvi and I am the newest member of the Government Relations team in New York! I look forward to the opportunity to champion our policy goals related to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.  Coming from doing advocacy work for the New York State Nurses Association, and most recently working for the state of New York, my background includes advocating for public health issues such as the CPR in Schools law, sugary sweetened beverage (SSB) tax bills, childhood obesity prevention programs, and many other important campaigns. I am excited to join with all of you here at the American Heart Association because I value the great work the organization has achieved on tobacco control, the healthy food and active living initiatives, access to care, and many other important public health topics.


As a new staff member of the American Heart Association, I've been learning about our platform, "Life is Why." (To learn more, click here.)  Being a relatively new mom of almost three year old twins, they are my 'why.' I want my kids to grow up in a world where receiving quality physical education in schools in the norm, healthy food is accessible to all regardless of where you live,  everyone has access to quality health care regardless of income, and everyone can live and breathe in a smoke-free environment. Although I may be aiming high, my reason for being so passionate on these issues is to make the world a better place for them. I look forward to working with all of you on all of the good stuff we are planning to do in the future!

Read More

When New Yorkers Can't Eat Healthy Foods...

The first Wednesday in November is National Eating Healthy Day!  It's a great opportunity to take stock of our eating habits, and perhaps do a bit more to feed ourselves and our families healthier foods.  For about 1.7 million New Yorkers, however, that is easier said than done.  More than half of New York's counties are home to neighborhoods without access to healthy foods.  You read that right - 1.7 million New Yorkers, in 32 counties, are burdened with a lack of food markets or corner stores offering fresh, healthy foods.  In honor of the event, help us send a strong message to Governor Cuomo that he should invest in the health and economy of New York.  Click here to take action and send your email to the Governor now!

Help the AHA improve access to healthy foods so every New Yorker has the opportunity to celebrate National Eating Healthy Day!

Read More

Should New York Pursue a Tax on Sugary Drinks?

Hi, everyone!

My name is Pam Bonney and I'm a member of the American Heart Association's Advocacy Committee in New York. I wanted to share my thoughts about a recent editorial from the New York Times (What a Big Tax on Soft Drinks Can Do- 10/19/15).  

Overconsumption of sugary beverages is a global problem and the overdose of sugar consumption in the American diet is a major contributing cause of this country’s alarming rate of obesity. Unfortunately, we exist in a time in which we are drinking most of our calories.

Consuming large quantities of sugary drinks can dramatically increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases. One significant intervention that must be considered is to increase the retail price of sugary drinks. As the Times editors described, Mexico levied a peso per liter tax in 2013, and sales of sugary beverages were reduced by 12 percent when compared with the previous year. 

New York leaders could certainly improve public health by following Mexico’s lead and implement an excise tax on sugary drinks. Such a tax is a necessary tool to motivate healthier beverage selection. Imagine the impact to our health and our economy!

What do you think?  Should New York state implement an excise tax on sugary drinks?

- Pam

Pamela Bonney, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition and Health Consultant, Co-founder, Tried and True Nutrition, Inc.

Read More

Get ready to save more lives NYC!

What a whirlwind it's been!  Last week, our team congregated in (smoke-free!!) New Orleans for a national meeting of AHA government relations staff. We were there to not only congratulate NOLA for banning smoking indoors, but also to dive deeper into the AHA's policy campaigns addressing obesity.

Just as we've done for tobacco control in New York City, we have a tremendous potential to once again lead the nation in the fight against poor diet and lack of physical activity. Our growing rates of chronic disease in New York (see here: demand our renewed energy to curb obesity through strategic policy interventions.

The AHA in NYC is already engaged in a campaign to improve Physical Education in our schools. The PE Reporting Bill has had one hearing and we will be pushing hard to have the full Council and the Mayor to vote and approve the policy. Parents deserve to know what is going on in our kids' schools!  The PE report will help us know exactly how often kids receive physical education, who is teaching it, and what is included in the curriculum.

Additionally, thanks to recent NYU research (found here: we know that we must improve the nutritional content of our kids' meals when they're eating out at restaurants. In addition to the food items discussed in this research, what about the meals served to kids in other family-style restaurants? No matter where our kids eat, if we purchase food off of the 'kids' menu' we should be able to know that those meals are as healthy as possible!

These are both policies that were discussed at length while we were all down in New Orleans.  I can't wait for the work we have ahead! 


Read More

It's a CPR Celebration!

We did it!  After more than 16 years of effort, New York will finally require every student be trained in Hands-Only CPR before graduation! 

Thanks to all of you - our You're the Cure advocates - New York is the 26th state to make this training a requirement for our students.  As a result, our nation's high schools will now be training more than half of our country's graduates every year!  More than 1.5 million kids will soon know what to do if someone's heart stops beating and they need CPR.

High schools all across the state have already received this memo from the NY State Education Department.  However, feel free to share it with your local high school.  Schools are expected to begin training students this year, and we can use your help to make sure every high school is prepared to comply with the law!

This policy would not have been achieved without the tremendous support of so many advocates and partners with the American Heart Association.  This campaign was a long-time coming, and we were thrilled to help celebrate its conclusion with so many core friends!  If you ever need to be in the trenches with a team, this group of advocates - many of whom lost children to cardiac arrest or were rescued when someone knew CPR - set the bar very high!  We are forever grateful for every effort, every story told, every tear shed, in support of this campaign.  Knowing that this law will save lives was motivation unto itself.  But your energy and determination, furthering the legacy of your loved ones, inspired us all to keep going no matter how many times we were told no.  Thanks to you, thanks to the evolution of the science behind CPR, and thanks to many NY lawmakers along the way - CPR in Schools is now the law of the land in New York!

If you weren't able to join us in Albany on the day of the Board of Regents vote - take a look at the photos here:

Read More

New York City Loves our Hearts! Stay Tuned for the Salt Shaker Icon!

New York City is forging new territory in the fight against high blood pressure!  The city's Board of Health officially approved the Sodium Warning Icon policy.  Essentially, if your food has a dangerous level of sodium in it, the restaurant will be required to warn you with a salt shaker icon on the menu.  With nearly 90% of Americans at risk for high blood pressure, we all need to be more mindful about our salty diets.  And it's not the salt we're pouring on ourselves, but the high levels of sodium found in many restaurant meals. There is no reason we should be eating more than 2300 mg in one sitting.  In fact, most of us shouldn't be consuming 2300 mg in an entire day!  Seeing the salt shaker icon can help us make wiser decisions...not to mention the potential for restaurants to wise up and help our hearts by reducing the over-abundance of salt in their meals.

If you haven't done so yet - please text the word 'salt' to 52886 to show your support for this new law!  We can't wait to see the salt shaker icons take their place on our menus.  Thank you NYC for loving our hearts!

Read More

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.

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Read More

[+] Blogs[-] Collapse