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AHA President Says: The Science is Clear on Sodium Reduction

Check this out! In a new video, the President of the AHA, Dr. Mark Creager, explains that the science behind sodium reduction is clear. He says that robust evidence has linked excess sodium intake with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. And, he points out that you can do something about it: join AHA’s efforts to demand change in the amounts of sodium in our food supply.

“Nearly 80 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods” says AHA president Dr. Mark Creager. The video shows the 6 foods that contribute the most salt to the American diet: breads & rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches."

To see the video, head over to our Sodium Breakup blog!

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Advocacy Volunteers Needed: Tulsa Heart Walk

We have an exciting volunteer opportunity coming up in your backyard, and we would love to have you there!

On Saturday, April 23rd, the American Heart Association will host the Tulsa Heart Walk at the ONEOK Field. Volunteer opportunities are available between 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. We will be at the event promoting the mission of the AHA and we'd be honored to have volunteers there to help us do this! You can help make a difference during this important event.

Mark your calendar today and please CLICK HERE to sign-up as an advocacy volunteer!

We hope to see you there!

For more information please contact Allison Hogue at allison.hogue@heart.org.

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Meet Jessica Westerman

Please meet Jessica Westerman, an amazing American Heart Association advocate that commits time and passion to support the Advocacy Team in our Little Rock, Arkansas office.  Most recently as a resident of Bryant, Jessica has been helping on our Smoke-Free Bryant campaign. 

Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music

Hobbies: Spending time with family & friends, traveling, watching & attending Razorback football games

Kids: Addison (daughter-8 )and Mackenzie (daughter-4)

Pets: Mollie (Maltipoo) and Lindsay (Pekingese pug mix)

Two celebrities I’d like to have dinner with: Julie Andrews & Kenny Chesney

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Why is advocating with the AHA important to you?

”Advocating with the American Heart Association is very important to me, because heart disease and stroke have affected my family. My mom had a stroke in 2009 and thankfully fully recovered. My maternal grandmother died after having a stroke and my maternal grandfather had heart disease for 35+ years before he passed away.

Another reason I’m so passionate about volunteering with AHA is that I was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. Tetralogy of Fallot consists of four abnormalities of the heart; such as a hole in the septum, narrowing of the pulmonary valve, a thick right ventricle and an overriding aorta. I had surgery to correct these abnormalities at birth and 1 year old. I am blessed to be healthy today and haven’t had a valve replacement yet.

I used to be self-conscious about my scar from my open heart surgeries. But, I learned over the years to be proud of that scar. It shows that I am a survivor and it gives me the opportunity to tell my story and bring about awareness of Tetralogy of Fallot. I love volunteering with the American Heart Association and feel like I’m helping make a difference to bring about awareness of heart disease and stroke.”

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Volunteers Needed: OKC Heart Walk

We have an exciting volunteer opportunity coming up in your backyard, and we would love to have you there!

On Saturday, April 9th, the American Heart Association will host the Oklahoma City Heart Walk at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Volunteer opportunities are available between 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. We will be at the event promoting the mission of the AHA and we'd be honored to have volunteers there to help us do this! You can help make a difference during this important event.

Mark your calendar today and please email Chancen Flick at Chancen.Flick@heart.org to volunteer!

We hope to see you there!

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Meet Kari & TK

In our Volunteer Spotlight this month we would love for you to meet TWO of our Oklahoma Grassroots Action Team members:

Name: Kari Stender, M.P.H. (pictured on right)

Hometown: Sioux City, IA-but I've lived in Oklahoma for 9 years

Favorite activity when you’re not at work: Exercising-especially running. Oh! Camping too!

Favorite Concert: Backstreet Boys...hands down

If you could be an expert in anything what would it be and why? Languages. I speak Spanish and English fluently but I'd love to add more languages. I love travelling so knowing many languages would make that a lot easier!

Why are you involved with/care about the AHA?: I love the many initiatives AHA is working on to make our communities healthier. I believe that everyone has the right to good health and AHA is working towards eliminating barriers that might stand in the way.

Name: TaKisha "TK" L. Lovelace (pictured on left)

Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

Favorite activity when you’re not at work: Hanging out with my family

Favorite Concert: The Hopeville Tour featuring Yolonda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, and Kirk Frankiln

If you could be an expert in anything what would it be and why? Relationships. Because we all need a great support group to help us function to the best of our ability!

Why are you involved with/care about the AHA?: I got involved with AHA because of the commitment it has to building communities and spreading awareness to help us all become better people.

Thank you so much to both of these ladies for being rock star advocates for heart health in Oklahoma! 

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OKC Sweethearts Day at the Capitol

The American Heart Association (AHA) Oklahoma City office hosted their annual Sweethearts Day at the Capitol on March 1. This event is part of the annual Sweethearts program to develop future heart health advocates. 44 Oklahoma high school sophomore girls participated in trainings, lobby activities, and heard from various elected officials on the importance of heart health and advocacy.

The day began with an introduction by Terri Bailey, AHA Senior Director of Social Events, about the history and importance of the  day. Chancen Flick, Government Relations Director, then gave a training on the legislative process, the issues that AHA were promoting at the state level, followed by a roleplaying exercise on speaking with elected officials. Allison Hogue, Affiliate Grassroots Director, addressed the Sweethearts on the use of social media to make an impact on legislative action.

The Sweethearts then had a photo opportunity with Governor Mary Fallin, who was kind enough to spend a few minutes on a busy election day to discuss the importance of public health and advocacy. Instead of a traditional Capitol tour, the Sweethearts participated in a ‘selfie scavenger hunt’ by finding key locations and artwork in the Capitol building, taking a selfie and posting to social media. 

Representative Cyndi Munson spoke to the Sweethearts during the afternoon session. Munson, a Sweetheart alumni herself, addressed public health concerns and the need for young advocates to stand up and make a difference in the lives of their fellow citizens. The Sweethearts conducted office visits with members and staff of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The day closed with the 2016 Sweetheart Class being recognized by the Senate and receiving personal citations from their Senators in the Senate lounge thanking them for their service.

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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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