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Oregon Lobby Day is Less than a Month Away - Join Us on March 3 at the Capitol

There’s less than one month until our big day at the Capitol. Will you help us make Oregon a healthier state on March 3rd? During the 2015 legislative session Oregon lawmakers will make difficult decisions and we need you to join us at the Capitol at our American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Lobby Day.

2015 is going to be a big year for heart and stroke health policy and we want YOU to be a part of it! We will discuss CPR in School legislation with lawmakers. With your help last year we built awareness about this issue and we hope this will be the year we pass this important legislation.

We will also ask lawmakers to support legislation and budget requests for:

  • Tobacco Prevention – Legislators will have the opportunity to invest money in evidence-based programs that reduce tobacco use—Oregon’s number one preventable cause of death. For every dollar invested by the state roughly five dollars is saved.
  • Junk Food Marketing in Schools – We want to prohibit the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to our children in schools.

RSVP today, registration is free but space is limited.

No advocacy experience is necessary as training will be provided. We hope you will join us for this exciting and important day!

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Help us Take 5 for the Pledge

Thank you for your continued support of the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission.

Recently, we developed a full and robust campaign to help us drive sodium awareness and reduction efforts, featuring the tagline: “I love you Salt, but you’re breaking my heart.”

The goals of the campaign are:

  • increase awareness of how much sodium we eat and the impact excess sodium has on our health
  • build a base of supporters who will actively engage with decision makers to effect policy changes that reduce sodium in the food supply
  • inspire behavior changes to reduce the amount of sodium people eat

The American Heart Association’s goal is to build a movement to change America’s relationship with salt. We ask that you take the pledge to reduce your sodium consumption.  We plan to use these pledges to urge the FDA and food manufacturers to reduce sodium in the food supply. Why the food supply? Currently, the average American consumes more than twice as much sodium than the American Heart Association recommends, and nearly 80 percent of it is coming from pre-packaged and restaurant foods. Plus, when you take the pledge, you will receive information, tools and tips as to how you can personally reduce your sodium intake – break up with salt and save your heart a potential lifetime of heartache! 

We need your help in extending our reach significantly beyond our current base of supporters.

To do this, we set up a simple “Take 5 for the Pledge” process for you to follow:

Visit the website: www.sodiumbreakup.heart.org/pledge

  • Take the pledge
  • Send an email to 5 of your friends, family members or contacts and ask them to take the pledge

Please email Cherish Hart at Cherish.Hart@heart.org or Josh Brown at Josh.Brown@heart.org if you have any questions or need additional information. I truly appreciate you taking the time to help drive our sodium awareness efforts. Together, we can make a difference.

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Tobacco Prevention in Oregon

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

Tobacco: It’s the leading cause of preventable death in Oregon, killing 7,000 Oregonians a year. In the 1990’s Oregon said enough was enough, and joined 45 other states in fighting the nation’s biggest tobacco companies. The result was the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (TMSA), and an enormous win for public health: billions of dollars to help us fight the ugly effects of tobacco in our state.

However, the story of how those dollars have been used and will be used in Oregon remains unfinished:

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (TMSA) was designed to help states recover some of the tobacco-related healthcare costs and to prevent people from ever starting to smoke. Unfortunately, in 2002 when initial payments were made to Oregon, the state legislature locked up the funds in ten years of debt service and not one dollar of TMSA funds were spent on tobacco prevention.

That changed in 2013 thanks to American Heart Association advocates working to ensure that the TMSA funds were for the first time invested improving in health care, restoring the public’s trust, and for the first time ever, in reducing tobacco use.

The $4 million investment made specifically into tobacco prevention represents just 3% of the total TMSA funds available in 2013. While that may seem small—but it was both symbolic and helped deliver meaningful results over the last two years in fighting Oregon’s leading cause of preventable death.

We continue that work as we head into the 2015 Oregon Legislative Session, when decision makers will have the opportunity to again make history.

This year, we’re asking the state legislature to continue this new trend of making good on the promise of the TMSA by reinvesting in public health and tobacco prevention. These investments save lives. They also save money: For every $1 invested in Oregon’s tobacco prevention program, $5 are saved down the line in medical costs and lost productivity.

We’ll need your help in asking legislators to stand with us over the next few months, so keep an eye on your inbox. In the meantime, if you have a story about how tobacco use has affected your life or loved ones, please send me a note at sarah.higginbotham@heart.org.

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Herb Lommen

Herb Lommen is not only saving lives by teaching CPR in Oregon and keeping kids healthy with physical education, but he’s a passionate advocate helping support the mission of the American Heart Association time and time again. Herb is the Department Chair of Health and Physical Education at Valley Catholic Middle School. He is also a First Aid, CPR/AED Training Coordinator.

Herb and the Valley Catholic Middle School students have been wonderful partners as we work to teach CPR to all Oregonians.  You can watch a video about Herb and his students advocating at AHA’s Oregon Lobby Day last year here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAFWdZUYL20

In his 39th year of teaching HS and MS students Health and Physical Education, he has also taught Outdoor Education classes and coached during those years. We wanted to share Herb’s story and words of wisdom with you:

  • What motivates you to do what you do? (Coaching and CPR)

“My motivation for teaching comes from my life experiences and having good role models to follow. I have the opportunity to work with young people and help shape their lives as they grow into young adults. Teaching them they can make a difference in the world by helping others and being the best they can be.”

  • Are there any stories from your experience teaching (particular students or circumstances) that are particularly meaningful or interesting?

“The best part of teaching is when students come back after many years and tell you of their successes. For example, how they have been able to use the skills that I had taught them to help others or that the career path they chose was started by interest from what they had learned. One recent student shared with me that he was able to save a life in an accident recently. He said his CPR just came back and he did it without thinking. We talked about how his learning had made a difference in someone’s life and we were all proud of his actions.”

  • If you could share one piece of advice with other teachers who are considering teaching PE and/or CPR, what would it be?

“Be a teacher (in a classroom or a First Aid/CPR class) and you can make a difference in people’s lives. You can give them the skills to help others and be the best they can be. It is a great feeling to know that you did make a difference in the world.”

  •  Has heart disease or stroke touched your life in any way?

“Seven years ago I almost died from congestive heart failure caused by a virus that entered my heart. The doctors said the only reason I survived was because I was in such good physical shape. It has changed my life as I cannot do all the things I used to quite as fast. I have had to learn to slow down a little. It has been a great teaching moment as all the students know what happened to me and how important it is to keep fit, eat right, and take care of yourself. The students see my compassion for taking care of your body and learning life-saving skills as one day it might save you or someone else.”

 

 

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Big Things Will Be Happening on March 3rd at the Capitol

Will you help us make Oregon a healthier state on March 3rd? We invite you to join us at the Capitol for our annual American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Lobby Day on March 3rd.


2015 is going to be a big year for heart and stroke health policy and we want YOU to be a part of it! We will discuss CPR in School legislation with lawmakers. With your help last year we built awareness about this issue and we hope this will be the year we pass this important legislation.


We will also ask lawmakers to support legislation and budget requests for:

  • Tobacco Prevention – Legislators will have the opportunity to invest money in evidence-based programs that reduce tobacco use—Oregon’s number one preventable cause of death. For every dollar invested by the state roughly five dollars is saved.
     
  • Junk Food Marketing in Schools – We want to prohibit the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to our children in schools.

RSVP today, registration is free but space is limited.

No advocacy experience is necessary as training will be provided. We hope you will join us for this exciting and important day!

Read More

Meet the New Surgeon General

Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December to serve as the next surgeon general of the United States. The surgeon general is America’s top public health official, and his responsibilities range from managing disease to promoting prevention and a healthy start for our kids.

At 37, Vivek Murthy is the youngest person and the first Indian-American to hold the post of Surgeon General.

Since this position was created in 1871, just 18 people have held the job. Dr. Murthy, the 19th, replaces an Acting Surgeon General who has filled the role since 2013. Dr. Murthy’s confirmation was delayed for nearly a year due to political issues, but in that time he received the endorsement of more than 100 public health groups, including the American Heart Association.

Dr. Murthy has both business and medical degrees from his studies at Harvard and Yale. He completed his residency at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he most recently served as an attending physician. He has created and led organizations to support comprehensive healthcare reform, to improve clinical trials so new drugs can be made available more quickly and safely, and to combat HIV/AIDS.

His resume is remarkable, and we look forward to working closely with Dr. Murthy to improve the health of all Americans.

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Advocate Spotlight: Kami Sutton

As a survivor, volunteer, advocate and staff member – I wanted to share my story. 

I was recently featured on a Children’s Health Link special on our local NBC affiliate, KING5, with a story that highlights me as an 11 year old volunteer and fast forwards to where I am today. Please take a look and how far I have come and what the future holds!

Twenty-six years ago, I was born with a severe congenital heart defect (CHD). My parents were told that I might not survive the 30 minute ambulance ride from Everett to Seattle Children’s Hospital. As would become my goal in life, I did my best to prove the doctors wrong and to this day I still try to prove them wrong in the way I accomplish things they never believed possible. And always by my side, helping me achieve this was medical research and technology.

It seems that over the years, technology has always been one step behind me, as soon as I would need a new repair, it was found to be possible for pediatric use right in the nick of time. I have always been in the right place and the right time of technology and my next procedure is no different.

As I transition from pediatric to adult care at the University of Washington Medical Center, we are looking at my condition with fresh sets of eyes and new technology possibilities in hopes of avoiding a heart transplant which I have been awaiting for the past five years. A new pacemaker to improve my heart function could be the answer, but with my complex anatomy, my doctor thought it might be more difficult to place a new wire to the opposite side of my heart.

I had recently heard about research using patient-specific 3D heart models to practice cardiac ablations, so I asked the doctor if it might be helpful in my case. He was quite excited that I had suggested this and about a month ago, I underwent a cardiac CAT scan to start the process. I should be receiving my new pacemaker sometime early next year once he masters the procedure.

This technology and the possibility of me having better heart function and quality of life has been eye-opening and I again realize just how important the work we do at the AHA is. I have always had a passion for our cause but knowing that advances in medicine every day could lead to a better outcome for patients like me is what drives me.

Thank you to each and every one of you for supporting our mission, it means the world to me and every other CHD, heart and stroke patient out there!

For the full story, please click here.

Sincerely,

Kami Sutton

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You're the Cure Year End Successes, Let's Celebrate!
It was another banner year for You’re the Cure advocates championing heart and stroke policy change across the country. Year end is a time to look back at what we achieved in states, think ahead to the work still to do, and celebrate the power of volunteers.
 
What did we accomplish last year?
 
 
Below are just three of many victories that made 2014 so successful.  

 

  • 35 states now have laws protecting our littlest hearts. Pulse oximetry, a simple detection screening for heart defects gives newborns a chance to survive thanks to early detection.
  • We reached a major milestone in ensuring all students learn CPR before graduating from high school. Now more than 1 million students, in 20 states, will graduate each year with this lifesaving skill.
  • 6 states increased funding for heart disease and stroke prevention programs.

 

Want to see more accomplishments? Check out the video below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These are just a few highlights and for the full story be sure to check out the state by state wrap-up online. We couldn’t achieve these great accomplishments without the power of YOU our advocates. Your work to educate lawmakers, recruit family and friends, and share your story and expertise are what makes change happen. So from your AHA staff partners a big, Thank You!
 
P.S. – You can help inspire others to join the movement by sharing our accomplishments highlight video.

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Joaquin Cigarroa, M.D. - The next generation is Why

Life is Why, the new American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) brand message introduced earlier this year, should resonate with all volunteers, says Joaquin Cigarroa, M.D., associate chief of clinical affairs for the Knight Cardiovascular Institute at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

“We each have our own reason for being involved – our own why,” he notes. “What is yours? Why do you do what you do every day in support of the AHA/ASA? Life is Why is a concise answer, yet our personal connections to the mission can be even more powerful.”

“For me, the next generation is Why.”

Dr. Cigarroa adds, “As a father of three young women and educator of medical students, it’s important to me to help the next generation lead longer, healthier lives. We know that good prevention practices and widespread CPR education saves lives. I’m involved with the AHA/ASA to educate the next generation on those skills that will improve the lives of themselves and others.”

“Think about it. What is your why and how will you express it?”

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Take Action: Ask legislators to support CPR in schools

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

Did you know that sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States? Sudden cardiac arrest happens most often outside of a hospital setting—and it can happen to anyone: a loved one, a work colleague, or a stranger. Bystander CPR is vital to victim’s survival. When ordinary people, not just doctors and paramedics, know CPR, a victim’s survival rate can double, or even triple.

That is why the American Heart Association is working to incorporate CPR training in to the Oregon school curriculum. During the 2015 legislative session we will be supporting a bill that would ensure every student in Oregon would learn CPR before graduation. By training students in CPR we will add roughly 45,000 potential life savers each year in to our communities; improving survival rates in every Oregon community.   

We ask you to take a moment of your time and tell your legislators that you support this important legislation and you want them to support it too.

We have just three months to build as much support as possible for this life-saving legislation. Together we can create a new generation of lifesavers. 

Tell Oregon’s state legislators you support CPR in Schools.

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