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You're the Cure Advocates Go Red!

Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness about women’s risk of cardiovascular disease and empower them to take control of their heart health.  It is a year-long campaign that culminates in February for Heart Month.  All of the markets within the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate celebrate with events throughout February and into the spring.

Advocacy work goes hand in hand with the Go Red For Women movement in many ways.  One way is our advocates work with their local government officials on proclamations that declare the first Friday in February as Wear Red Day.  In North Carolina, the town of Matthews, Huntersville, Cary, and Winston-Salem passed proclamations.  As did Spartanburg and Columbia in South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. 

The District of Columbia took their support of Wear Red Day to the next level with several local councilmembers taking to social media to express their office-wide support.   Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau of Ward 1, Jack Evans of Ward 2, and Charles Allen in Ward 6 sent out tweets to their followers of their offices dressed to the gills in their finest red. Councilmember Yvette M. Alexander emailed her constituents to urge them to be diligent in keeping their lives free of cardiovascular disease with helpful tips and facts. 

Another great example happened in Charlotte, North Carolina, when advocate Dr. Sandra Burke presented to the Mecklenburg County Board of Directors about heart health and continuing collaborative efforts to improve the health of the local community.  And here, the women of the Virginia General Assembly went red on 2/9 to bring awareness to heart disease.  

Go Red is a nationwide movement that unifies communities in prevention and education about the risk factors and warning signs of cardiovascular disease.  We are proud of the policies and changes you are influencing to make strides toward a world where we are free of heart disease and stroke.

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Join us at the Good Food Access Fund Campaign Kick Off!

The Good Food Access Fund campaign is off to a GREAT start for this legislative session.  Senator Dan Sparks (DFL) is our chief bill author, and we are building grassroots and organizational support throughout Minnesota.

Please join us for our campaign kickoff event on February 23, 2016 to learn more about this initiative to bring healthy, affordable food access to underserved communities throughout our state.




Good Food Access Fund Campaign Kick Off
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
Registration and Lunch starts at 11:30 AM
Program 12:00 - 2:30 PM

REGISTER ONLINE HERE!

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
451 Lexington Parkway North
St. Paul, MN 55104

Lunch will be provided. No cost to attend but advance registration is required.
Free parking is available at the venue.

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Your Advocacy Team is Hitting the Road in 2016!

Mark your calendars to join us in 2016!  The North Carolina AHA Government Relations Team: Betsy Vetter, Sarah Jacobson and Kim Chidester will be traveling across the state (from Asheville to Wilmington!) to offer 5 in-person Advocacy Training Sessions.

In these workshops, we will offer education on our 2016 policy issues, an advocacy coaching session with a fun twist, and training on how to interact with your lawmakers.

Choose the workshop(s) you’d like to attend:

[Triangle] February 9th, 2016 from 11:30am – 1:30pm at AHA Offices [3131 RDU Center Drive, Morrisville]
[Charlotte] February 10th, 2016 from 5pm – 7pm at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church [517 Baldwin Avenue, Charlotte]
[Asheville] March 24, 2016 from 5pm – 7pm at Mission Health, Biltmore Park [First floor Community Room, 310 Long Shoals Rd, Arden, 28704]
[Wilmington] April 13, 2016 from 11:30 to 1:30p: Location to be finalized

In these workshops, we will be offering an issues-training around the following policy initiatives:

  • Healthy Corner Store Initiative
  • Closing the Coverage Gap
  • Tobacco use prevention and cessation programs
  • Issue in the pipeline: Active Transportation

We hope that you will save the date that works the best for you to join us in person, and be sure to watch your email over the next few weeks for reminders about these trainings. If you would like to join, please RSVP to Kim Chidester.

Also, we will be offering another opportunity to engage alongside us as we meet directly with your lawmakers!  Please mark your calendar to join us on May 10 as we prepare for our 2016 NC Lobby Day!

See you soon, North Carolina!

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We Are Making Things Happen in South Carolina!

We are excited to kick off 2016 in South Carolina!  This year, session is expected to be eventful and productive.  Please check out our legislative priorities below.  We hope you will join us as we continue our exciting and life-saving work in the Palmetto State!

CPR Training in Schools
Require Hands-Only CPR training as part of the already required health education class for high school students.  Right now, less than 11% of people suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survive, and training a new class of young citizens in CPR every year can change this frightening statistic. 

We’ll also be working to: 

  • Require schools to implement the beverage and snack guidelines in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Interim Final Rule Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools.
  • Fully fund the Stroke Systems of Care Act of 2011 setting up a statewide stroke registry. Data analysis from the registry will ensure stroke patients receive the best available care for their condition.
  • Require Medicaid to cover cessation services for current tobacco users including both counseling and pharmacotherapy with no or minimal cost sharing.

Also, please be sure to watch your email for upcoming opportunities to join us in 2016!  Kim Chidester, your Grassroots Director, will be traveling across the state (from Columbia to Charleston!) to offer 3 in-person Advocacy Training Sessions.  As these dates and locations are set, we will be sure to let you know so you can mark your calendars.

Thanks for being by our side!  We couldn’t do this without you. You’re the Cure advocates work to support and advocate for public policies that will help improve the cardiovascular health of Americans and reduce deaths by coronary heart disease and stroke.   If our voice is loud enough this session, we can impact the lives of South Carolinians for many years to come! 

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A big win for NIH research!

UPDATE (12.18.15): The U.S. Congress just passed the bill and the President is expected to sign the legislation. We did it! Congratulations to all of our You're the Cure advocates for your hard work!

Original post:

Big news! Today, Congress released a bill providing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) an additional $2 billion in funding? After a long fight to secure more support for medical research, we can now claim victory! Final passage is the next step.


How did this happen?
Simple. Because of the hard work of advocates like you all-over the country over the past few years. Since 2012, look at everything we’ve done together to achieve this accomplishment.

  • Almost 45,000 emails sent to Capitol Hill.
  • Over 750 You’re the Cure advocates made the trip to Washington, DC to personally ask their lawmakers to increase NIH funding. Many volunteers visited district offices as well.
  • Volunteers testifying on Capitol Hill
  • This year, thousands signed a petition telling Congress that we would not stop fighting for NIH.
  • And much more…

Even though this success took years to achieve, the results will last a lifetime.
 
What does this funding increase for NIH really mean?
This means after budget cuts and funding increases that failed to keep pace with medical research inflation, NIH is finally getting the support it deserves. This means more researchers will be able to stay in the lab and follow their passion instead of leaving the profession. And ultimately, this means we will continue to discover innovative treatments, bringing us closer to a cure and to achieving our mission of reducing disability and death from heart disease and stroke. 
 
What’s next?
We all should celebrate this victory, but we are not done fighting for more funding of lifesaving medical research. Next year, Congress will again decide on budgets and we must be ready to make sure NIH is a priority.
 
And after this year, I will be ready. Will you?

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Let's Toast to a Successful 2015

Thanks to You’re the Cure advocates across the country, 2015 was a banner year in our goal to end heart disease and stroke. As we toast to 2016, let’s take a look back at everything we've accomplished together in the past 12 months.

Here are just a few of the highlights! Let's start with victories at the state and local level:

  • Almost a half- million people gained access to health insurance coverage through the expansion of the Medicaid program in Indiana, New Hampshire, Montana, and Alaska.
  • Ten more states passed measures to screen infants for congenital heart defects, meaning over 500,000 more babies will be screened each year. The simple, inexpensive, lifesaving pulse oximetry test is now required in more than 40 states.
  • More than 1.6 million students will graduate from high school with CPR skills each year, thanks to new laws requiring this lifesaving skill in New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Indiana, Oregon, Connecticut, San Francisco, North Dakota, New York and Illinois.
  • The City of New Orleans went smokefree.
  • Any many more…

In Washington, DC, we've made great strides to improve the heart health of all Americans, including:

  • Successfully protecting standards for healthy school meals.
  • The passage of the Every Child Achieves Act, which will ensure schools can provide the robust physical education programs our kids need.
  • Gaining over 40 cosponsors for the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act.

Also, let's not forget that over 350 You’re the Cure advocates traveled to Washington D.C. in the spring and asked their lawmakers to protect healthy school meals and increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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!

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Thank you for all you do!

Now that we are officially in the throes of the Holidays, I wanted to stop and take a moment to thank you. Many lives throughout Vermont and across the country have been saved thanks to your passion, commitment and action on important health issues. Because of advocates like YOU, countless families are thankful to be spending the holidays together.

I would like to express my gratitude for all that you do to support the American Heart Association every day. The actions you and your fellow You're the Cure advocates take promote heart health in Vermont and beyond, and help improve care for patients with heart disease and stroke. Many people are alive today and will be spending the holiday with their families because dedicated volunteers like YOU are passionate about advocating for change.  

Please make sure to take some time to celebrate the difference that you make in the world.

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Nutrition On the Go Can Be Easy!


On November 4th, we celebrated National Eating Healthy Day to encourage everyone to resolve to eat healthy. We know eating healthy meals in an on-the-go lifestyle can be quite the challenge.  So how can we make sure we are making smart choices? 

With holiday parties around the corner and all of the other great things that come between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, is it possible to keep the resolve to eat healthy? Did you know the American Heart Association has heart healthy recipes on our website that you can enjoy? For instance check out this tailgate chili recipe for the next time you are planning that ballgame viewing party!  What a way to make your next gathering more nutritiously delicious.

This is just one example, and you can find more in our heart healthy guide to seasonal eating here!

Finally, we have an idea for you!

We often say that you should be building the relationship with your lawmaker. Consider inviting your lawmaker to join you in the journey to overall better health. Simply take a moment to send them your favorite AHA recipe, and add a few sentences about your why you are making healthy eating a priority. Maybe your lawmaker will feature that recipe in an upcoming newsletter!

If you need help to find your lawmakers, contact your Grassroots Director and she will be happy to share that information with you! If you are in DC, Maryland, or Virginia, contact Keltcie Delamar, and if you are in the Carolinas, email Kim Chidester!

We wish everyone happy, heart-healthy eating!

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Kristin Salvi, New York

My name is Kristin Salvi and I am the newest member of the Government Relations team in New York! I look forward to the opportunity to champion our policy goals related to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.  Coming from doing advocacy work for the New York State Nurses Association, and most recently working for the state of New York, my background includes advocating for public health issues such as the CPR in Schools law, sugary sweetened beverage (SSB) tax bills, childhood obesity prevention programs, and many other important campaigns. I am excited to join with all of you here at the American Heart Association because I value the great work the organization has achieved on tobacco control, the healthy food and active living initiatives, access to care, and many other important public health topics.

 

As a new staff member of the American Heart Association, I've been learning about our platform, "Life is Why." (To learn more, click here.)  Being a relatively new mom of almost three year old twins, they are my 'why.' I want my kids to grow up in a world where receiving quality physical education in schools in the norm, healthy food is accessible to all regardless of where you live,  everyone has access to quality health care regardless of income, and everyone can live and breathe in a smoke-free environment. Although I may be aiming high, my reason for being so passionate on these issues is to make the world a better place for them. I look forward to working with all of you on all of the good stuff we are planning to do in the future!

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Should New York Pursue a Tax on Sugary Drinks?

Hi, everyone!

My name is Pam Bonney and I'm a member of the American Heart Association's Advocacy Committee in New York. I wanted to share my thoughts about a recent editorial from the New York Times (What a Big Tax on Soft Drinks Can Do- 10/19/15).  

Overconsumption of sugary beverages is a global problem and the overdose of sugar consumption in the American diet is a major contributing cause of this country’s alarming rate of obesity. Unfortunately, we exist in a time in which we are drinking most of our calories.

Consuming large quantities of sugary drinks can dramatically increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases. One significant intervention that must be considered is to increase the retail price of sugary drinks. As the Times editors described, Mexico levied a peso per liter tax in 2013, and sales of sugary beverages were reduced by 12 percent when compared with the previous year. 

New York leaders could certainly improve public health by following Mexico’s lead and implement an excise tax on sugary drinks. Such a tax is a necessary tool to motivate healthier beverage selection. Imagine the impact to our health and our economy!

What do you think?  Should New York state implement an excise tax on sugary drinks?

- Pam

Pamela Bonney, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition and Health Consultant, Co-founder, Tried and True Nutrition, Inc.

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