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Don Bremner - 3 Time Heart Survivor and Advocate

I had my first heart attack at the age of 51 about an hour after a hard game of squash.  Up to that point I was in excellent health and maintained my fitness by running 10Ks and half-marathons.  I knew about my family heart history but like many thought, ’I’m fitter and healthier with a much better diet than Dad had’ believing it wouldn’t impact me.

But that changed an hour after a squash game in 2004 when I felt nausea, dizziness, sweating, and threw up several times. Twenty minutes later there was no pain but tightening in my chest. Being a guy I made a practical decision to drive 17 miles home to my wife. Do not do this.

Once home the paramedics were called quickly and I started receiving medical attention. The great work they do includes communicating with the hospital so they are prepared to receive you and this can be life- saving.

They put paddles to my chest in the wagon leading to a stent in RCA. Home lunchtime Wed. I went back to the gym Saturday to ramp up my fitness slowly.

In 2005 I experienced a similar event and had another episode in 2012.  I am very fortunate to survive these events and feel compelled to share my story and help others.

I have made it my mission to talk with groups of people to help them learn the risk factors and warning signs associated with heart disease – especially men!  I have found that guys have a terrific ability to ignore warning signs and not admit when their body is telling them something is wrong. 

I explain the importance of good nutrition and exercise.  But I also explain the critical role that genes and family history play in one’s risk for heart disease.  My dad died at age 59 from cardiovascular disease after three events.  His dad also died at 67 from CVD.  My brother had a double by pass at age 49 and is thankfully still living at 76.

My message is simple: know your risk, know your numbers, and don’t ignore warning signs.  Listen to your Doctor and act on their advice. Your loved ones and friends will thanks you.

While I have made many presentations over the years I recently made a trip to the New Mexico Capitol to share my story with lawmakers.  With the help of heart and stroke healthy legislation we can continue to not only raise awareness but improve effective systems of care for patients. 

I look forward to sharing my story with anyone willing to hear it and encourage you to share your voice in any way you can. 

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Wear Red Day Events in Oklahoma

Last week AHA Advocacy volunteers and staff participated in three special Wear Red Day Celebrations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.  Volunteers and staff were recognized as they raised awareness of heart disease in women.

Oklahoma State Legislature

On February 5, American Heart Association volunteers and staff traveled to the Oklahoma State Capitol for Go Red Day at the Capitol. This day kicked off with a light breakfast and meet and greet among attendees.

Once the legislative session began, Rep. Lee Denney presented House Resolution 1003, which recognized February 6th at “Wear Red Day” in Oklahoma. Rep. Denney also introduced AHA guests and staff in the gallery. Additionally, SouthWest Affiliate Board Member, Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, Go Red for Women Luncheon Chair and Board Member, Martha Burger, Board Member, Dr. Misty Hsieh, and AHA volunteer and Heart Disease Survivor, Amanda Rowell, were fortunate enough to be recognized from the floor of the House.

Afterwards, AHA volunteers and staff joining members of the House of Representatives for a group photo.  From there, State Secretary of Health, Commissioner Terry Cline, met with AHA staff and volunteers to speak about his role and existing efforts to improve health outcomes in Oklahoma.

Finally, Government Relations Director, Naomi Amaha conducted an advocacy training on the key legislative issues for this session. Staff and volunteers then visited with their respective lawmakers on Healthy Vending and Stroke Transport Protocols.

Special thanks to Oklahoma City Executive Director, Debbie Hite, Sr. Social Events Director, Terri Bailey, Go Red for Women Director, Shelly Jordan, Communications Director, Calley Herth, Campaign Director, Tes Hardison, Grassroots Director, Sam Bender, and Administrative Assistant, Lori Costa, for their support of Go Red Day at the Capitol.

 


 

Oklahoma City Council

 Tuesday, January 27th, Oklahoma City mayor, Mick Cornett, signed a proclamation declaring February 6, 2015 Wear Red Day. The Oklahoma City team gathered at City Hall with a total of 12 volunteers and staff, all dressed in red. The women were welcomed by Mayor Cornett and his executive staff.  Councilwoman Meg Salyer wore red to the meeting in support. 

Volunteer speaker and survivor, Chelsea Mielke, gave her testimony and urged the audience in attendance to pay attention to their heart health.  The mic was passed to Dr. Mary Bauman, longtime volunteer and SouthWest Affiliate board member, who listed simple steps for the audience to take in order to keep their heart healthy. 

 


 

Tulsa City Council

 On the evening of February 5th, AHA volunteers and staff attended the Tulsa City Council meeting for the reading of a proclamation by Tulsa City Councilor, Karen Gilbert. Many of the council members were dressed in Red and excited for the AHA to have a presence at the meeting.  Councilor Gilbert met briefly with the AHA delegation and posed for a group photo before the City Council meeting commenced.

After Council Gilbert recognized the group and read the proclamation, Dr. Barbara Hannah, ECC Committee Member and AHA volunteer, spoke about the importance of recognizing Wear Red Day and promoting Heart Disease awareness.  AHA volunteers in attendance also included Barbara Jo Johnson, Heart Disease Survivor and Mechele Cruz, ECC member.

Special thanks to Go Red for Women Director, Shari Holdman, Communications Director, Lindsey Hansen, and Quality Systems and Improvement Director, Katie Butterfield (and her two children, Carson and Cam) for attending.

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Recognizing You're the Cure Champions and Heroes

We would like to thank our most active You’re the Cure advocates.  Please view members that have reached the Champion or Hero rank from across the SouthWest Affiliate. 

Did you know that by being an active You’re the Cure member you get points for all the different actions you take?  Points accumulate and you can achieve different “ranks”.  If you are logged in right now you can look at the top of the page to view your points and current rank. 

Here are Champions and Heroes from across the SouthWest Affiliate. (Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming)

Champions:
Kristin A. (Lakewood, CO)
Mel A. (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Selina A. (Pearland, TX)
Bethany A. (Colorado Springs, CO)
Linda A. (Englewood, CO)
Amy B. (Norman, OK)
Kristen B. (Spencer, OK)
Linda A. (Englewood, CO)
Amy B. (Norman, OK)
Kristen B. (Spencer, OK)
Sharon B. (Palmer Lake, CO)
Mary Ann B. (Edmond, CO)
T. Bell (Austin, TX)
Aryn B. (Colorado)
Eric B. (Houston, TX)
Kevin B. (Dallas, TX)
Nancy B. (College Station, TX)
Kristen B. (Fort Worth, TX)
Sarah B. (Fort Worth, TX)
Beth B.   (Pottsboro, TX)
Cheryl B. (Austin, TX)
Cherie B. (Missouri City, TX)
Tim B. (Wylie, TX)
Pat B. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Aabha B. (Houston, TX)
Karen B.  (Fairview, TX)
Jeb B. (Golden, CO)
Darry C.  (Tahlequah, OK)
David C.  (El Paso, TX)
Rakesh C. (Golden, CO)
Heather C. (TX)
Kathryn C. (Denver, CO)
Shannon C. (Edmond, OK)
Darlene C. (Dallas, TX)
William C. (Houston, TX)
Michael  C. (Lubbock, TX)
Harvey C. (Midwest City, OK)
Kathleen C. (Wylie, TX)
Gloria C.  (Garland, TX)
Denise C. (CO)
Michelle C. (Round Rock, TX)
Shannon C. (Austin, TX)
Chris C.   (San Antonio, TX)
Anne D.  (Austin, TX)
Anne D.  (TX)
Carroll D. (Houston, TX)
Ashley Davis. (The Woodlands, TX)
Larissa D. (Austin, TX)
Rodney D. (Sugar Land, TX)
B. D. (Albuquerque, NM)
Brooke D. (Frisco, TX)
Natasha D. (Dallas, TX)
Sylvia D.  (Plano, TX)
Holly D.  (Westminster, CO)
Carol D.  (Little Rock, AR)
Brian E.  (Dallas, TX)
Michael  E. (Casper, WY)
I. E. (Tularosa, NM)
Diana E. (Austin, TX)
Ruthie E. (Harlingen, TX)
Suzy F. (Cave Springs, AR)
Indira F. (Houston, TX)
Johnny F. (Jackson, WY)
Sarah F.  (CO)
Brandy F. (Tulsa, OK)
Jo Marie F. (Houston, TX)
Kerrie F. (Oklahoma City, OK)
James F. (Denver, CO)
Gina G. (Thornton, CO)
Rod G. (Humble, TX)
Patricia G. (Rio Rancho, NM)
Suze G.  (Ridgway, CO)
Sheryl G. (Galveston, TX)
Dee G. (Golden, CO)
Rhonda G. (Heber Springs, AR)
Silvia G.  (CO)
Erin H. (Denver, CO)
Teresa H. (Denver, CO)
Bennett H.  (Austin, TX)
Penny H. (North Richland Hills, TX)
Lindsey H. (Tulsa, OK)
Lisa H. (Sachse, TX)
Renee H. (CO)
Pamela H. (Tulsa, OK)
Cindy H. (Fayetteville, AR)
Athena H. (Arvada, CO)
Ann J. (Laramie, WY)
Beverly J. (CO)
Laura J.  (Mesquite, TX)
Carolyn J. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Shelly J. Edmond (OK)
Gia K. (Dallas, TX)
Racheal  K. (Austin, TX)
Valerie K. (Littleton, CO)
Katherine K. (Northglenn, CO)
Diane K. (NM)
Dena K.  (Thornton, CO)
Nancy K.  (Orange, TX)
Robert K. (Lone Tree, CO)
James K.  (Fort Worth, TX)
James K.  (Corpus Christi, TX)
Ashley K. (Little Rock, AR)
Lee L. (Denver, CO)
Mercedes L. (Claremore , OK)
Amy L. (Austin, TX)
Michelle L. (CO)
Britni L. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Carrie L.  (Broomfield, CO)
Traci L.  (CO)
Ben L. (Casper, WY)
Lindsay L. (Denver, CO)
Lindsay L. (McKinney, TX)
Mary L. (Austin, TX)
Karina L.  (Oklahoma City, OK)
Kay L. (Thornton, CO)
Wonder L. (Little Rock, AR)
Krishna M. (Aurora, CO)
Kimberly M. (Aurora, CO)
Monica M. (Tulsa, OK)
Jose M.  (Albuquerque, NM)
Debra M. (Rockwall, TX)
Lea M. (Edmond, OK)
Linda M.  (Arlington, TX)
Wolford M. (Dallas, TX)
James M. (Dallas, TX)
Mark M.  (Norman, OK)
CARYL M. (Carrollton, TX)
Vince M. (Austin, TX)
William M. (Broken Arrow, OK)
Patrick M. (Tulsa, OK)
Diana M. (Corpus Christi, TX)
Jim M. (Albuquerque, NM)
Lisa N. (McKinney, TX)
Scott N.  (Casper, WY)
Amanda N. (CO)
Patricia N. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Brion O. (Manor, TX)
Gisella O. (McKinney, TX)
Cindy O.  (Cheyenne, WY)
Brandy P. (Forney, TX)
Mary P.  (Lawton, OK)
Annette P. (CO)
Taylor P.  (NM)
Guadalupe P. (Dallas, TX)
Blair P. (Denver, CO)
April P. (Austin, TX)
Gina P. (Little Rock, AR)
Francine P. (San Antonio, TX)
Debbie P. (Denver, CO)
Janeene P. (Golden, CO)
Marcella P. (Irving, TX)
Pamm P. (Bentonville, AR)
Mary P.  (Houston, TX)
James P.  (Tulsa, OK)
Lorna P. (CO)
Virginia R. (Mesquite, TX)
Rene R.  (Houston, TX)
Kendall R. (Little Rock, AR)
Georgina R. (Poteau, OK)
Colleen R. (Cheyenne, WY)
Debra R. (Plano, TX)
James R. (Dallas, TX)
Chris R.  (Austin, TX)
Laura S. (Pueblo, CO)
Christina S. (CO)
Fred S. (Norman, OK)
Lori S. (Thornton, CO)
Wendy S. (Denver, CO)
Luke S. (Colorado Springs, CO)
Luke S. (Kyle, TX)
Jenny S. (Rogers, AR)
Jim S.  (Houston, TX)
Joseph S. (Lewisville, TX)
Tawnya S. (Pueblo, CO)
Marchelle S.  (Dallas, TX)
Sandy S. (Little Rock, AR)
Christa S. (San Antonio, TX)
Jennifer  S. (Austin, TX)
Lynn S. (Denver , CO)
Natalie S. (Austin, TX)
Felicia S. (Round Rock, TX)
Scott S. (Flower Mound, TX)
Jessica S. (Houston, TX)
Amy S. (Jenks, OK)
Carol S.  (Edmond, OK)
Jan S. (Panama, OK)
Sherri S. (El Reno, OK)
Rebecca S. (Pueblo, CO)
Connie S. (Jonesboro, AR)
Robyn S. (Edmond, OK)
Nicole S.  (Houston, TX)
Sofie T. (Plano, TX)
Dara T.  (Wheat Ridge, CO)
Robert T. (NM)
Sarah T. (Crestone, CO)
Dianne T. (Houston, TX)
Adam T. (Lubbock, TX)
Sara T. (Denver, CO)
Amanda T. (Dallas, TX)
Montra V. (Garland, TX)
Kelley V. (Red Oak, TX)
Renee V. (Denver, CO)
James W. (The Woodlands, TX)
Dusty W. (El Paso, TX)
Kelly W.  (Bigelow, AR)
Casie W. (Austin, TX)
Teresa W. (Noble, OK)
Gretchen W. (Highlands Ranch, CO)
Janice W. (Marion, AR)
Vickie W. (AR)
Jacqueline W. (Austin, TX)
Kristy W. (Littleton, CO)
Tracy W. (Cedar Park, TX)
Robert W. (Austin, TX)

Heroes:
Kenya A. (Albuquerque, NM)
Larry A. (Superior, CO)
Angela A. (The Colony, TX)
Hope A. (Austin, TX)
Jim A. (Garland, TX)
Lisa A. (Austin, TX)
Shezeen A. (Fort Worth, TX)
Naomi A. (Austin, TX)
Jaime A. (Dallas, TX)
Jodi A. (Pueblo, CO)
Julie A. (Oklahoma)
Julie A. (Midwest City, OK)
Terri B. (Yukon, OK)
Judith B. (Bella Vista, AR)
Matthew B. (Plano, TX)
Jeri B. (Denver, CO)
Mary B. (Denver CO)
Amber J’Nae B. (Austin, TX)
Whitney B. (Denver, CO)
Kelsey B. (Austin, TX)
Mary B.  (Albuquerque, NM)
Alan B. (Sandia Park, NM)
Robert B. (Lafayette, CO)
Ashley B. (Cedar Hill, TX)
G. B. (Colorado Springs, CO)
Laura B. (San Antonio, TX)
Brian B. (Austin, TX)
Fran B. (Placitas, NM)
Kristine B. (Dallas, TX)
Terri W. (Austin, TX)
Brooke B. (Austin, TX)
Megan C. (Denver, CO)
Linda C. (Boulder, CO)
Harry C. (Englewood, CO)
Charmagne C. (Austin, TX)
Denni C.  (Grand Prairie, TX)
Marilyn D. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Jeanell D. (TX)
Steve D.  (Mountain Home, AR)
Courtney D. (Austin, TX)
Amy D. (Albuquerque, NM)
Michael D. (Austin, TX)
Perri D. (Lakewood, CO)
Linda D. (Golden, CO)
Claire D. (Albuquerque, NM)
Douglas  D. (Dallas, TX)
Joyce E.  (Irving, TX)
Midge E. (Corpus Christi, TX)
Bryan F. (Pueblo, CO)
Sheri F. (Arvada, CO)
Craig F. (Cedar Park, TX)
John G. (Round Rock, TX)
David G.  (Denver, CO)
Deanna G. (Allen, TX)
Nancy G. (Glenpool, OK)
Tamara G. (Fairview, TX)
Allison G. (Coppell, TX)
Barbara  H. (Skiatook, OK)
Karin H.  (Flower Mound, TX)
Matthew H.  (Lubbock, TX)
Garrett H. (Webster, TX)
Tim H. (Irving, TX)
Lindsay H. (Denver, CO)
Lori H. (Westminster, CO)
Julie H. (Little Rock, AR)
Melanie H. (Round Rock, TX)
Debbie H. (Edmond, OK)
Linda H. (Saginaw, TX)
Sam H. (Fort Worth, TX)
Sue K. (Denver, CO)
Enola K.  (Albuquerque, NM)
Connie K. (Arlington, TX)
Amit K. (Coppell, TX)
Julie K. (Aurora, CO)
Tricia K.  (Fort Collins, CO)
Melissa K. (Pueblo, CO)
Brant K.  (Houston, TX)
Barbara K. (Jacksonville, AR)
Robyn L.  (Dallas, TX)
LisaJo L.  (Colorado Springs, CO)
Suzanne L. (Albuquerque, NM)
Scott L. (Pueblo, CO)
Suzanne L. (San Antonio, TX)
Kathryn  L.  (Arlington, TX)
Petra L. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Evan M. (Denver, CO)
Jimmy M. (Chimayo, NM)
Joshua M. (Albuquerque, NM)
Ashley M. (Denver, CO)
Donna M. (Broken Arrow, OK)
Tammy M. (Fort Worth, TX)
Rosalinda M. (Austin, TX)
Laura M. (Garland, TX)
Jim M.  (NM)
Susan M. (Rockwall, TX)
Doug M. (Pueblo, CO)
Salomi M. (Irving, TX)
John M.  (Austin, TX)
Thomas  N. (Alamo, TX)
Erica O.  (Colorado Springs, CO)
Mary Ann O.  (Greenwood Village, CO)
Pete O. (El Paso, TX)
Christina O. (Pflugerville , TX)
Susan P.  (Sunrise Beach, TX)
Jacque P. (Loveland, CO)
Diana R.  (Irving, TX)
Leslie R. (Pueblo, CO)
Samantha R. (Allen, TX)
Christopher R. (Lakewood, CO)
Linda R.  (Houston, TX)
Joel R. (Brenham, TX)
Elizabeth R. (Austin, TX)
Roger S. (Argyle, TX)
Rachel S. (Divide, CO)
Katie S. (Little Rock, AR)
Mark S. (Plano, TX)
Debra S. (Rockwall, TX)
Jennifer S. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Joshua S. (McKinney, TX)
Greg S. (Austin, TX)
Christina S. (Edmond, OK)
Pamela S. (Pflugerville, TX)
Nora S. (San Antonio, TX)
Alexis S. (North Little Rock, AR)
Arsheill S. (Austin, TX)
Laura S.  (Plano, TX)
Tracey S. (Terrell, TX)
Lisa S. (Houston, TX)
Mary T. (Castle Rock, CO)
Thomas T. (Lubbock, TX)
Justin T. (Tulsa, OK)
Sara T. (Denver, CO)
Elizabeth T. (Oklahoma City, OK)

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Oklahoma City Goes Red!

Last Thursday January 27th, 2015 Oklahoma City mayor, Mick Cornett, signed a proclamation declaring February 6, 2015 Wear Red Day!

National Wear Red Day is a day set aside to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women yet, eighty percent of cardiac events can be prevented.

The Healthy Living OK team, along with members of the American Heart Association's Passion Committee, gathered at City Hall dressed in red. Volunteer speaker and survivor, Chelsea Mielke, gave her testimony and urged the audience in attendance to pay attention to their heart health. Dr. Mary Bauman, longtime volunteer and cherished donor, also listed simple steps for the audience to take in order to keep their heart healthy. You can learn more about the statistics and prevention methods of heart disease by reading the full proclamation below.

 

Show your support of women's heart health by wearing red on February 6th!

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A Red Bell Pepper: Food Access 101

The term "food access" can be a little confusing. In an attempt to clear that up we've written a quick 101 guide to the food access issues in OKC and how you can help!

What is food access? Is it the same for everyone?

The term "food access" simply refers to how easy, or difficult, it is for someone to be able to obtain food. Specifically, we are talking about healthy food access, or how hard it is for our citizens to purchase healthy foods. Healthy food access is not the same for everyone, in fact it's estimated that 29.7 million people in America do not have access to nutritious foods.

For instance, if you were standing in your home, how far would you have to go to buy a red bell pepper? Down the street? 1 mile? 5 miles? A bus ride? Do you have to jump in your car?

For approximately 154,680 households in Oklahoma City, that question may be hard to answer [1]. To find a single red pepper, or any healthy food for that matter, may require a long bus ride, car ride, or could simply be unreachable. For many families the only place to buy groceries is their local corner or convenience stores, which carry few nutritious options. 

Why does it matter?

Being able to access healthy foods isn't just about convenience, it's about our health. A healthy heart requires a balanced diet, yet 62% of OKC residents live in "low-access" areas, meaning buying nutritious foods for their families is difficult, if not impossible [1].

The obesity statistics in Oklahoma are already grim, we need to do more to make the healthy choice the easy choice in the city where our children live, learn, and play.

What can I do?

This year we are launching an initiative to bring healthier food into neighborhood corner stores and markets. This campaign will help thousands of individuals and families to have access to healthy snacks and meals every day.

We believe that everyone deserves the right to healthy foods, regardless of where they live. If you believe this too click to send a letter to our city council urging them to support healthier neighborhoods and corner stores.

 

[1] City of Oklahoma City Planning Department, Health Impact Assessment, pg. 172

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Our OKC, Your Voice: Take Action Now!

Did you know that a contributing factor to obesity and other related cardiovascular diseases may be a lack of access to healthy foods? [1] A healthy heart requires a healthy diet, yet 62% of OKC residents live more than a mile from a grocery store. That means over 154,680 households in our city have poor access to healthy and fresh foods. [2]

We think that’s a problem, but we also think there’s a solution.

This year we are launching an initiative to bring healthier food into neighborhood corner stores and markets. This will help thousands of individuals and families to have access to healthy snacks and meals every day.

Want to get involved? Sign a letter to your city council member and let them know that food access in our city is important to real people and real neighbors.

Take action now and help us make Oklahoma healthier in 2015, block by block.

 


[1] The Food Trust, Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters: A Review of the Research, pg. 12, 2013

[2] City of Oklahoma City Planning Department, Health Impact Assessment, pg. 172

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Meet the Voices for Healthy Kids OKC Campaign Team!

We're excited to be continually meeting and getting to know our neighbors and fellow Okies!
Below you'll find a little bit more about us...

 

 

 

Tes Hardison

Title: Campaign Director
Favorite pastime: Finding and cooking new recipes!

Favorite sports team: OKC Thunder!
Favorite thing about OKC: The running trail around Lake Hefner (and the paw pound park)
Contact info: Tes.Hardison@heart.org (email) 405-415-3029 (office phone)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha Bender

Title: Grassroots Director
Favorite pastime: Anything in or near the water- Kayaking, swimming, rowing etc.

Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Favorite thing about OKC: All the community events! Plaza Live and H&8th are my jam
Contact info: Samantha.Bender@heart.org (email) 405-415-3028 (office phone)

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Suzanne Villarreal-Lozano's Advocacy Journey

Throughout my 31 years of volunteering for the American Heart Association I have worn many hats.  But I can safely say some of my most memorable moments have come as an advocacy volunteer fighting for heart and stroke legislation.  We live in a democracy and that means we get to shape the community that we live in.  In many cases we get the society that we demand which is a tremendous responsibility. 
 
For myself, I want to live in world with better health outcomes for everyone and a reduction in risks associated with heart disease and stroke.  I realized one way to build that world was through the advocacy efforts of the American Heart Association. My passion for this type of volunteer work comes from the fact I have been a Registered Nurse and healthcare administrator for over 33 years and I have cared for many patients with a variety of cardiovascular health issues. I have seen the progress that we have made in the last 33 years and the work that still needs to be done.   
 
There’s just something about advocacy that gets in your blood. I think it has to do with the ups and downs of the legislative process and fulfilling your civic duty to participate in the process. I always make a point of telling legislators, that they have as much power as a good physician when they pass good legislation that helps and improves the lives of their constituents. A thrill also comes from the fact that you can effect hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives with the passage of one bill and one governor’s signature. 
 
I mentioned some memorable moments before and I’d like to list just a few of them now:
 
•         In 2010 I Chaired the Smoke-Free San Antonio Coalition which successfully passed a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance.  This came after nearly a decade long fight that included a weak ordinance being passed and reluctance on the part of the San Antonio City Council.  But we never gave up and finally prevailed  with a smoke-free victory in 2010.
 
•         In 2011 I joined the AHA’s State Advocacy Committee in Texas and have been a frequent visitor to the Texas Capitol.  Since that time we have successfully passed legislation related to CPR training in schools, Pulse-Ox testing for newborns, and critical public funding for heart attack and stroke systems of care.    
 
•         This year I have happily accepted the role of Chairing the State Advocacy Committee and look forward to even greater advocacy successes.  
 
I have been fortunate to interact with a number of elected officials during this time including Julian Castro who was Mayor of San Antonio in 2010.  He went on to give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and now serves in the Presidential Cabinet as HUD Secretary.  Two of the City Council members that voted YES are now serving in the Texas House of Representatives and are some of the AHA’s biggest supporters.  A number of the State Representatives I have met with are now serving higher office in the Texas Senate and U.S. Congress.
 
I would encourage all advocates to build relationships with their elected officials, especially at the local level.  You might be surprised about how easy  it is to gain access and how willing your lawmakers are to hear from you.  Your local officials are also the future statewide and federal lawmakers who will make public policy decisions for decades to come.  I have found that when we reach a lawmaker and truly connect with them with our personal stories, we have champions for life.  
 
If you haven’t already, I invite you to join You’re the Cure (www.yourethecure.org) and begin you journey of Advocating for Heart. 

 

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Save the Date: Go Red Day at the Oklahoma Capitol

Join us at the Oklahoma Capitol as we unveil our legislative priorities and fight for a healthier Oklahoma.

What: Go Red Day at the Capitol
When: February 5, 2015 from 8:15 am-11:00 am
Where Oklahoma State Capitol
Why: To recognize National Wear Red Day and support the American Heart Association’s legislative agenda

Activities will include a meet and greet breakfast with AHA volunteer and lawmakers, Wear Red Day resolution presentation, advocacy training and legislative drop offs. 

For more information and to RSVP, please email Naomi Amaha, Oklahoma Government Relations Director at Naomi.amaha@heart.org.

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New Session in Oklahoma brings new faces to the Capitol

The 2015 Oklahoma Legislature will convene for Session on February 2, 2015. As a result of the 2014 election, 28 new House and Senate members were elected to serve in the Oklahoma legislature. Additionally, many changes were made to key committee assignments.

This session, the OK Advocacy team will focus on issues that will move improve the heart and brain health of Oklahomans.

Such priorities include:

- Healthy Options in Vending Machines on State-Property
- Establishing a System of Care for Stroke patients
- Funding for Shared Use Implementation and Grants
- Increasing Oklahomans Access to Care
- Reducing  Oklahomans Tobacco Use 


We need your help to engage all legislators on the importance of these issues. If you are interested in getting involved this session, please email Naomi Amaha, Oklahoma Government Relations Director at Naomi.amaha@heart.org , to learn more about the AHA public policy priorities and get involved.

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