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Go Red For Women Day at Oklahoma State Capitol

On Thursday, February 4th, the American Heart Association (AHA) held the annual Go Red For Women Day at the Capitol in Oklahoma City. In attendance were thirteen volunteers, including one Grassroots Action Team member and several Passion Committee members.

The day began with breakfast before volunteers moved to the gallery in the House Chamber for presentation of the “Wear Red Day” Resolution. Representative Lee Denney, the Speaker Pro Tempore, was kind enough to serve as author the resolution, present it to the House of Representatives, and recognize AHA volunteers that the Capitol. Additionally Amy Baden, State Advocacy Committee Chair, Amanda Rowell, AHA Advocacy and Go Red volunteer and heart disease survivor, Mistie Adair, AHA Go Red volunteer and heart disease survivor, Jill Castilla, Go Red for Women Co-Chair, and Shelly Jordan, Go Red Director, were recognized from the floor of the House of Representatives.

Afterwards, the entire Women’s Caucus of the House of Representatives joined the AHA for a group photo in the Capitol Rotunda. From there, an advocacy training on how to meet with lawmakers and a review of our legislative priorities was conducted. The group was very involved and offered great questions and thoughts regarding the AHA’S public policy issues. The training was culminated by Governor Mary Fallin addressing the AHA’s group to discuss both women’s health and what health issues her office was prioritizing for the legislative session. She then joined in a group photo with AHA volunteers and staff. The volunteers then split into smaller groups to have meetings with their elected officials. Feedback from everyone pointed to very successful meetings with state representatives and senators.

We offer a big thank you to all the volunteers and staff that made this day a great success!

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Oklahoma Lawmakers Back in Session!

Last week lawmakers returned to Oklahoma City for the start of the 2016 Legislative Session. As we work to advance the American Heart Association’ s top issues during this legislative session we want to make sure we keep you informed.

They need to hear from their constituents on:

1. Healthy Eating and Active Living – Advocate for improvements to the quality of Physical Education provided in Oklahoma schools in order to fight childhood obesity and help children live healthier lives into adulthood.

2. Promoting and Protecting Best Practices – Maintain and expand existing policies that have improved the health of communities throughout the entire state of Oklahoma, such as CPR training for students prior to graduation.

3. Access to Care: Encourage the Oklahoma State Legislature to support access to health care for adults earning 138% of the federal poverty line by supporting efforts to broaden coverage to all Oklahomans.

Keep a look out for action alerts this session that will give you the opportunity to make your voice heard at the Oklahoma State Capitol!  We know that effective grassroots campaigns are vital to making positive changes to health policy in the state of Oklahoma. We can’t do this without you! Join our You're The Cure network to be sure you receive the most up-to-date information from the American Heart Association Advocacy Team.

JOIN HERE: Yourethecure.org 

Sincerely,

Chancen Flick

Oklahoma Government Relations Director, American Heart Association

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Meet Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight

"Since I was a young girl, I have been concerned with the dangers of secondhand smoke.  As a life-long asthma sufferer, I personally knew how harmful secondhand smoke was to my health and when I discovered the dangers for all people, I became a passionate advocate.  In 2002, while working on my Master of Public Health degree, I had the opportunity to join the Lexington-Fayette County Kentucky smoke-free campaign.  I remember testifying to the city council, writing letters to the editor and educating all those who would listen about the dangers of secondhand smoke.  In 2009, I was asked to be part of the Smoke-free Kentucky Leadership team focused on promoting a comprehensive state-wide policy.  I served in this capacity until 2013 when I moved to Little Rock, AR.  I am a native of Batesville, AR and one of the things I asked frequently upon coming back to Arkansas was "when are we going to strengthen our current smoke-free law to become comprehensive?"  I am honored to currently be serving as chair of the SmokeFree Little Rock Campaign and look forward to the day when all people who live, work and play in Little Rock and every other community in Arkansas, Kentucky, the United States and the world are protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke! "

Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight lives in Little Rock and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, where she serves as a Co-Investigator for the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, Co-Principal Investigator for a new Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection project; and Co-Investigator for an NCI grant focused on an HPV vaccination environmental scan. She is also a facilitator/strategic planner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s coordinated chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts, and leads their cancer control leadership team. She facilitated regional forums and provided support in strategic planning for Kentucky’s Changing this Generation project. She also facilitated the development of the Texas Cancer Plan and Future Directions workgroups for the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

Her areas of expertise include partnership sustainability, program development, group facilitation, epidemiology, evaluation and policy, systems and environmental change efforts. Her current focus areas relate to the Affordable Care Act and Cancer & Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.
Dr. Knight has her BA in Communications from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and DrPH in Health Services Management from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.

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Act Now: A Fresh Start for OKC

According to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Community Health Status Assessment, Oklahoma City is ranked the 2nd worst city in the nation for food access. This means that our citizens have a harder time than most in our nation accessing healthy foods where they live. This isn’t the silver medal we want to bring home.

But we can change that. By investing in, and partnering with, local corner stores and convenience stores we can bring fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options directly into our neighborhoods and improve the health of  our city!

Join us in taking a stand for the health of Oklahoma City! Take 30 seconds to send your council member a letter encouraging them to support a healthy corner store initiative!

 

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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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Meet Chancen Flick, Oklahoma Government Relations Director

Chancen Flick is excited to be joining the SouthWest Affiliate of the American Heart Association, as the Government Relations Director in Oklahoma City. He comes to the Association with a strong background in legislative politics, volunteer organization, and a passion to improve the health of every Oklahoman.

Chancen previously served as a Legislative and Political Organizer for the Oklahoma Education Association. In that position he was responsible for organizing member volunteers around education policy issues, lobbying state elected officials, and monitoring legislation. Prior to working at OEA, he worked with the Journal Record Legislative Report, providing legislative data to a wide variety of clientele and building valuable experience in the legislative procedures and politics of Oklahoma.

Chancen was born and raised in western Oklahoma on a fifth generation family farm near the town of Hammon. After high school, he moved to Edmond in 2003 to attend the University of Central Oklahoma where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He and his wife, Mackenzie, still reside there with their beautiful three year old daughter Addison.

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Meet Dr. Brian Eble, Our Heart Hero

Name: Dr. Brian Eble

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Profession: Pediatric Cardiologist, Arkansas Children’s Hospital

AHA Role: President of the Central Arkansas AHA Board

Dr. Brian Eble was a key player in efforts to ensure that Arkansas newborns are screened for critical congenital heart defects. By using a test called pulse oximetry, doctors can detect low oxygen levels in the blood, which is a significant indicator of heart issues in babies. Pulse Ox testing was signed into law in Arkansas by Governor Mike Beebe in April 2013. In addition, Dr. Eble traveled with a group of Arkansas advocates to Washington, D.C. in May 2015 and stepped up to the plate for healthy school lunches and medical research funding. Our advocates made the views, passions and needs of Arkansas constituents known to their lawmakers in new and compelling ways. In his true to character form, Dr. Eble presented a red lunch tray to each Arkansas Member of Congress on Capitol Hill visits to leave behind a tangible reminder of our federal advocacy priorities.

The AHA Sweetheart Program has also benefited from Dr. Eble’s volunteerism. The Sweetheart program is a fundraiser for the Central Arkansas Heart Ball. It is designed to teach young women about heart disease and stroke. This year, the Sweethearts received a history lesson about major strides in the field of cardiology from Dr. Eble. He talked about the first heart catheter, heart bypass, and echocardiograms.

Most recently, Dr. Eble supported our AHA Advocacy Team in a Sip & Chat event at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where staff and physicians were engaged on the topic of SmokeFree Little Rock over hot chocolate and coffee. The event provided our staff with the opportunity to recruit grassroots support for the campaign to create a healthier city by making all public indoor work areas smoke free.

**Photo courtesy of April Zamora

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Get Social With Your Members of Congress

Will you be on Facebook or Twitter today? Your Members of Congress and their staff will be, and it's a good place to reach them according to a report released in October by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF).

The CMF report, #SocialCongress, says Congressional offices are listening to social media chatter and it takes relatively few posts or comments to get their attention. That's good news for us!

So, how can you use the Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline to get the attention of lawmakers and help pass heart healthy policies?

  • Follow your members of Congress, as well as state and local elected officials on Twitter. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ their pages on Facebook.
  • Tweet about our health policy issues, tagging the appropriate legislators by using the @ sign and their Twitter handle. For example: I’m from Pennsylvania, so I’d tag my U.S. Senators by including @SenBobCasey & @SenToomey in my tweet.
  • If they allow it, you can post about our issues directly on the Facebook pages of elected officials. Frequently, that feature is disabled but you are able to comment on their posts. According to #SocialCongress, Congressional offices typically monitor those comments for a limited period of time. Your best bet is to comment within the first 24 hours after a post.
  • Rally your friends and family members to tweet, post or comment about an issue on a single ‘day of action’. CMF’s survey data shows just 30 or fewer comments can be enough to make a legislative office pay attention.
  • Be sure to use the campaign hashtag if one has been created by your advocacy staff partners. The #hashtag allows all the relevant posts to be woven together to tell our story, and makes your post searchable by others interested in the issue.    

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Meet Petra Colindres, Member of the Grassroots Action Team
We're so excited for you to meet Petra Colindres, member of the Grassroots Action Team! Petra lives in Oklahoma and is a leading You're the Cure advocate. Get to know her and learn of her motivation to volunteer with You're the Cure.
 
Name: Petra Colindres
Occupation: RDN/LD, IBCLC – State Wellbeing Program Coordinator
How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association?  2-3 years
Why do you advocate to build healthier lives and communities, free of heart disease and stroke?
My heart belongs to children, that they lead healthier lives with better opportunities and health outcomes than we do currently. That’s why I advocate- these kids don’t have a voice or are allowed to make their own choices due to age, location, education. By helping change policy and addressing access issues helps redistribute disparities within our population. 
What is something in your life that you love? 
I love my family, my friends, and having purpose in my life and career. However, I especially love my newest addition, my son Bodie. 
What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off? 
There’s such thing as time-off? Ha! But, when I do have downtime I enjoy hosting cooking classes for kiddos, reading, and exploring the world with my family. Also, it’s a must that I have 30 minutes to hour of “me” time daily and do some exercise. Otherwise I go bonkers.
What excited you most about joining the GAT?
What the GAT is doing lines up right with my passion of early childhood nutrition. By addressing easier access to more nutritious food sources we can alleviate some of the poorer food options kids choose that lead to long-term health problems. 

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Why Amanda Advocates

We're so excited for you to meet Amanda Denton, one of our newest advocates and Dallas Grassroots Action Team members! Amanda lives in North Texas and has an amazing story. Get to know her and learn of her motivation to volunteer with You're the Cure. Welcome, Amanda!

Name: Amanda Denton

Occupation: Disabled

How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association: Only about a month.

Why do you advocate to build healthier communities, free of heart disease and stroke: My story is very long, so I'll try to shorten it as much as I possibly can.

In August 2011, at around 2am and only being 25 years old, I started to suffer a massive heart attack. The heart attack was caused by a 100% blood clot blockage in the LAD. Other than that, there is no explanation as to what caused that blood clot. All blood work was negative as to having something passed down to me. My cardiologist said that my heart attack is actually known as the "Widow Maker," and that it's a miracle that I'm still alive.

Fast forward 4 years. July 2015. I get admitted to the hospital due to extreme edema. The day after being admitted, I get an Echo Scan done, which showed a great deal of fluid around my heart. My cardiologist then told me that I'd have to go into emergency surgery to have a pacemaker put in.

All of this (and more) is why heart health is so important, and why more people need to be more educated about it.

What is something in your life that you love: I love my family to pieces, my cat, my ghost hunting team, photography…

What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off: I love researching. Mostly historical things that have taken place. Usually in the 1800's-early 1900's.

What excited you most about the North Texas Advocate Summit: I really enjoyed meeting everyone, and hearing everyone's stories. It's really amazing how strong people are around others with similar experiences, which is exactly how I felt. I also very much enjoyed the amount of information that the speakers gave.

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