American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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State Advocacy Committee News Update

On November 21, the North Carolina American Heart Association Advocacy Coordinating Committee met to celebrate achievements, bestow advocacy honors and discuss policy priorities. The committee had much to celebrate this year including the passage of stroke center designation rules, advancement of the healthy corner store initiative legislation, and significant progress in local communities for healthy vending and tobacco control policies.

During the meeting, the committee recognized three individuals for their advocacy efforts that help advance the AHA mission.


  • The 2015 NC AHA Heart of a Friend Award was presented to Senator Don Davis for his leadership to advance HB 250/SB 296 Healthy Food Small Retailer/Corner Store Act.
  • The 2015 NC AHA Heart of a Champion Award was presented to Drexdal Pratt, Director of Health Service Regulation for his work for more than a decade to promote high impact policies that save lives including the Good Samaritan laws, stroke and STEMI transport protocols, stroke center designation, and pulse oximetry screening.
  • The 2015 Dr. Robert Blackburn Award for Advocacy Excellence was presented to Valerie King for her strong leadership in You’re the Cure.

This meeting also provided time to recognize the 2014-2016 Committee for their service and install the 2016-2018 NC AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee. Juddson Rupp and Yolanda Dickerson will co-chair the committee for the next term. The committee works closely with AHA staff partners to provide strategic leadership for the NC AHA advocacy program and coordinates You’re the Cure activities including state lobby day.

Committee members spent time discussing the top priorities for 2016. Efforts will continue to advance HB 250/SB 296 with full funding to create a statewide healthy corner store initiative. In addition, You’re the Cure will be working to expand affordable health insurance to those caught in the coverage gap with no other options available to them. Locally efforts will continue to promote healthy vending policies local governments to ensure employees have access to healthy food choices while at work.

If you are interested in learning more about the NC AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee, please contact Betsy Vetter.

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Join Us at the Capitol on Feb 2nd for 2016 WV Advocacy Day!

February is quickly approaching, which makes today the perfect time to register and make plans to join us for WV Advocacy Day: You're the Cure at the Capitol on February 2nd. Join others from across the Mountain State as we meet with lawmakers in support of heart-health policies, like protecting WV's local smoke-free regulations.

As you may know, during the 2015 WV Legislative Session, several bills were introduced that would roll back smoke-free laws in your favorite venues that have been smoke-free for years. We anticipate that there will be more attempts in the 2016 session and we need your voice!

Simply register today, make plans to join us on February 2nd and we'll take care of the rest!

What: American Heart Association WV Advocacy Day

When: February 2, 2016, 8:30 am - 1 pm

Where: State Capitol, Charleston, WV

Take a moment now to register, and then watch your inbox for more details as the date approaches.

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Davidson County World Stroke Day Proclamation

On Oct. 20, 2015, the Davidson County Metro Council proclaimed October 29, World Stroke Day!

World Stroke Day, established by the World Stroke Organization in 2006, is observed worldwide on October 29 to underscore the serious nature and high rates of stroke, raise awareness of the prevention and treatment of the condition, and ensure better care and support for survivors. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association supports World Stroke Day by educating Americans about the stroke warning signs and the importance of taking action immediately. While stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and leading cause of disability in the U.S., many Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern.

World Stroke Day will play a crucial role in Tennessee during the 2016 legislative session. This year, the American Heart Association will work to get Stroke Designation legislation passed to create a stroke system of care in the state. Timely access to a hospital that has the systems in place to provide specialized stroke care can often make the difference between life and death, or between ability and disability.

To learn more about stroke, please visit

Pictured left to right: Councilman Dave Rosenberg, Kiersten Brown Espaillat, APN-BC, Stroke Coordinator at Vanderbilt, and Newt Williams, volunteer.

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Big News to Create a Smaller Arkansas

Governor Hutchinson has released a plan designed to help combat the troubling obesity problem we are facing in our state.

Please take a minute to thank Governor Asa Hutchinson for his plan to combat obesity across Arkansas.

"Healthy Active Arkansas" is a 10-year plan designed to improve the health of all Arkansans by making it easier to make healthy food choices and be more active.

The plan includes nine focus areas, ranging from strong nutrition standards to promoting healthy workplaces. Making changes in the workplace, where many adults spend much of their day, is an important way to help people live healthier lives. Providing healthy food options in state government facilities can foster better eating habits and support the cardiovascular and overall health of public employees and visitors to those facilities.

Please click here to ask lawmakers to show support for healthy options in state workplaces, parks, and other public property! 


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We're Missing Half the Party!

Happy holidays! You may or may not have known that November 4th was National Eating Healthy Day, but did you know that for 62% of Oklahoma City, it’s a day that is nearly impossible to celebrate? Over half of OKC has low access to healthy and affordable foods, meaning that these necessary options are either too far away or too expensive for our residents. In fact, according to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Community Health Status Assessment, OKC is ranked second in the nation for worst cities for food access!

But we can change that! Take action to increase access to healthy foods now!

Here in Oklahoma City we are currently working to increase access to healthy foods across our city through a Healthy Corner Store initiative. This initiative would focus on partnering with local and existing corner store owners to increase the selection of healthy food being offered. Increasing access in our city would provide thousands of children and families with the foods they need to lead healthier and more thriving lives.

You can help bring healthier foods to your neighborhood by sending a letter to your councilmember and letting them know that access matters to you and to our city!

We need your voice to make our city healthier. Take action now!  

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Advocates Raise Awareness of Stroke

In honor of stroke awareness, the City of Austin has proclaimed October 29th, 2015 as World Stroke Day. On October 14th Austin Mayor Pro Tem, Kathie Tovo, presented the World Stroke Day proclamation to Chris Figureida, the cyclist behind Cycle for Heart. Chris has traveled thousands of miles around the world on his bike to raise awareness for the American Heart Association. His athleticism has helped to educate children, from across the country, on how a healthy and active lifestyle can prevent heart disease and stroke. Chris was joined by a handful of volunteers from the AHA’s Austin Grassroots Action Team.

The World Stroke Day Proclamation was also presented on World Stroke Day at Seton Medical Center Austin, in celebration of their Stroke Awareness Graffiti Project. A giant 8’x8’ mural will display, ‘F.A.S.T’, the universal acronym for stroke warning signs.

‘F’ stands for facial drooping, ‘A’ is for arm weakness, ‘S’ is for speech difficulty and ‘T’ stands for time to call 9-1-1! Seton’s Stroke Institute has expanded their program to include designated stroke treatment floors at Seton Medical Center Austin and UMC Brackenridge, it has enhanced clinical and research divisions, and will soon conduct clinical trials to study newer treatments for acute stroke and stroke prevention.

Advocating in North Texas

At the October 27th Fort Worth City Council meeting, Mayor Betsy Price presented the World Stroke Day 2015 proclamation to AHA/ASA volunteers and staff on behalf of the entire Council, thereby proclaiming October 29th, 2015, as World Stroke Day in Fort Worth.

Before reading the proclamation, Mayor Price stepped off the dais to greet the members of the AHA/ASA group. She commented that a few months ago the Council addressed heart disease, and now was the time to address stroke. In trying to create healthy communities, she is committed to reducing the incidence of stroke. Mayor Price related a story of a friend who had a stroke just four weeks ago at age 51, and fortunately received help in time because he was on the phone with a friend who knew the symptoms of stroke. The Mayor encouraged everyone to know the symptoms of TIA and stroke. She then read the proclamation and presented it to volunteer Nancy Healey.

Nancy, a stroke survivor from Fort Worth, accepted the proclamation and spoke for a few minutes about her experience with stroke and her passion for making a difference. Her stroke was due to secondhand smoke exposure, so she commented on her desire to help make Fort Worth smoke free. Nancy expressed her gratitude to Mayor Price and the City Council for their recognition of World Stroke Day, and then the whole group posed with Mayor Price for a photo.

Thank you to volunteers Nancy Healey, Gwen Diggs, Ray Balandran, Elodia Perez, Tara Robinson, Jeanne Steffancin, Leigh Anne Harville, and Sharon Eberlein, and staff members Brian Brooks (Tarrant County Communications Director) and Laci Pippin (Youth Market Specialist) for showing their support for World Stroke Day!


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Port Lavaca Stays Smoke-Free

Earlier this month, residents of Port Lavaca, Texas voted 72% to uphold their comprehensive smoke-free ordinance!  To give you a sense of the timeline, the City Council passed an ordinance by a 5-1 vote that included making bars and restaurants smoke free, effective April 2015.  In August, several local bar owners were able to obtain more than 200 signatures that were needed to overturn the law.

This placed the ordinance on the November ballot for approval of voters, and the residents of Port Lavaca voiced their support for a healthier community to live and work! A big thank you to our You’re the Cure advocates who helped make this possible!

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We're Feeling Grateful

As AHA Advocacy staff, we get to work alongside the most remarkable volunteers- like YOU! We get to see lives improved and lives saved as a result of the work we’ve done together, and for that, we're grateful.

As You’re the Cure volunteers, you share personal stories of loved ones lost too soon, of survival, or of triumph over heart disease or stroke- all because you know your stories will make a difference in someone else’s life. It is often those stories that convince lawmakers to pass the policies making our communities healthier.

Because of you, more babies are being screened with Pulse Ox and having their heart defects corrected before it’s too late. Because of you, people in communities around the country have been saved by students who learned CPR in school. Because of you, people are getting better stroke care, families have safe places for active play, fewer people are smoking, and kids are eating healthier food at school.  The impact you’re making is incredible, and our communities are better places- because of you.

You make us cry. You share your joy. You inspire us. You amaze us. And we’re just so grateful for all you do.

We’re including YOU as we count our blessings this month, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!   

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More Wyoming leaders are beginning to support state-level plans to receive Medicaid expansion dollars. Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are among 10 states with Republican governors that have already expanded Medicaid in recent years. Some states have used innovative policy solutions to do so. Indiana and Iowa used Medicaid dollars to pay premiums for private health plans for poor people, an approach that requires federal approval, and under federal rules must be budget neutral and offer comprehensive coverage.

In another western state, the Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandavol (R), was the first to start the trend in 2012 and his state has seen billions of dollars that have helped balance the state budget. Governor Sandavol’s plan has helped an additional 78,000 Nevadans access health care.

Although many Republican Governor’s oppose Obamacare, they know that it is currently a reality and provides federal funding that their states could use. Governor of Wyoming Matt Mead (R) is supporting an innovative solution to expand health care coverage for the residents of his state.

“The legal challenge has been done and I think the legal challenges were appropriate,” he said. “But now it’s with us. And it is so intertwined with so many people across the country. We’re hopeful it can get better, but I just don’t see much chance that this is going to be wiped off the books when a new president comes in. So now I have to say, 'What do we do for our citizens who don’t have health care? What do we do for our budget? What do we do that is the best for Wyoming citizens?' understanding it is the law of the land.” #DemandAPlanforWY

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Wyoming, We Can Do More to Save Newborn Lives

Congenital heart disease is among the most common birth defects and is the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. A simple, low-cost, test can detect critical congenital heart defects and save the lives of newborn children.  Every state in the country, except Wyoming, has some form of pulse oximetry testing requirement or statewide program because the data is clear: It saves lives.

A study from the Colorado School of Public Health found that over 50% of the new born children who had critical congenital heart defects died if they were not given the test and were sent home.

Wyoming, we can do something about that. If you're interested in learning more, please reach out to Kristen Waters, Government Relations Director for Wyoming, at

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