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Rob Sayre-McCord, Central Falls

The AHA was recently on the Rhode Show with partner Rob Sayre-McCord, Director of Parks & Recreation and Community Service for the City of Central Falls, to discuss healthy back to school tips.  Many thanks to Rob for his leadership and commitment to Central Falls' children and families!

Healthy Bodies = Healthy Minds

To view the segment click the following link:

http://wpri.com/2016/08/25/healthy-minds-and-bodies-for-back-to-school/

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Governor Raimondo Signs School Nutrition Bill Into Law

Just in time for back to school…Governor Raimondo has signed into law our bill that will ensure healthy snacks and beverages for students!

It was a long wait, but the General Assembly finally transmitted the bill to the Governor in early August and she signed on August 11th.  As you know, the new law updates Rhode Island’s school nutrition standards to ensure that we meet – and continue to exceed – new federal guidelines for snacks and beverages sold in schools.

When we give our children healthy foods at school, we’re teaching them good eating habits that will help them grow up healthy. In addition, studies have shown that eating better helps students perform better in school.

This victory would not have been possible without the passion, commitment and advocacy of our You’re the Cure advocates. Thank you for being a champion for children’s health!  

Click the following link to send a quick thank you note to Governor Raimondo today: https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=38637

To learn more about smart snacks in RI schools click here: http://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/2/Uploads/Documents/Smart%20Snacks/2015%20Comp%20Foods_fundraising_October%202015.pdf

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Rhode Island Advocate Urges Support for NIH Research Funding

Rhode Island advocate Miriam Plitt recently met with staff for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to discuss the importance of heart and stroke research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

In the meeting, Miriam shared that one of her grandsons was born with a congenital heart defect.  He recently underwent successful surgery, but will likely require additional procedures as he grows up.  Miriam noted that a stable and predictable funding stream for NIH research is critical so that new medical advances can help her grandson and others.   

We thank Miriam for sharing her story and for being such a passionate advocate! 

To learn more about NIH Research Funding, click the links below:

http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_481419.pdf

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Advocate/IssuesandCampaigns/Research/Federal-Research-Funding-Issues_UCM_428164_Article.jsp#.V87YxE0UXmS

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Summit Focuses on Advancing Million Hearts in Rhode Island

A state summit was held on August 9th entitled “Advancing Million Hearts: American Heart Association and Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Partners Working Together in Rhode Island.”  

The purpose of the meeting was to connect the American Heart Association, Rhode Island Department of Health and other state and local heart disease and stroke prevention partners to establish and engage in meaningful relationships around Million Hearts efforts.

Million Hearts is a national initiative that started in 2012 with an ambitious goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services co-lead the initiative on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The American Heart Association is a national partner.

Million Hearts aims to prevent heart attacks and strokes by:

  • Improving access to effective care.
  • Improving quality of care for the ABCS of heart health:
    • Aspirin when appropriate.
    • Blood pressure control.
    • Cholesterol management.
    • Smoking cessation.
  • Focusing clinical attention on the prevention of heart attack and stroke.
  • Activating the public to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.
  • Improving the prescription and adherence to appropriate medications for the ABCS.

To learn more about Million Hearts click the following link: http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/

 

 

 

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Shantha Diaz, Rhode Island

I lost both my parents to heart attacks.  They were in their 70’s and I thought it was the norm. 5 years ago I lost my brother to a heart attack.  He was only 56 years old. This was my wake up call.

Based on my family history my doctor ran some tests.  The result was not pretty.  The results indicated “I was a ticking bomb, a classic case to have a stroke or an attack.”  I felt my doctor had read me my rights. He told me that it was time I made some lifestyle changes myself. 

I was at a cross road.  I was educated that cardiac events are preventable.  I was presented with options and the decision was mine.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I chose the path of prevention. I followed a plant based nutritional program and started exercising. I lost 40 pounds and reversed my condition!  I’m living proof that prevention is the cure.

My husband Henry has been the biggest cheerleader.  He supported me in changing my lifestyle and together we are healthier than before.

My family inspires me.  My grand baby is WHY I continue on the journey “Prevention is Better than Cure.”

 

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Governor Raimondo Signs AEDs in Schools Bill into Law

On July 6th, Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law a bill that will require AEDs in all public and private middle and high schools in the state.  AEDs will also be required at school-sponsored athletic events and someone trained in the use of the AED must also be present.  This bill was championed by one of our amazing volunteers, Sara Bonneau, who has a son with a congenital heart defect.  It truly highlights how a passionate advocate can inspire change! The American Heart Association was happy to support this important bill and provide strategic guidance along the way.  We want thank Governor Raimondo; the bill sponsors – Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and Rep. Jan Malik; and, most importantly, Sara for her dedication, persistence and tireless efforts! 

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Callie Ponder, Rhode Island

Callie Ponder began working with the American Heart Association at the end of May 2016. Her role with the organization is an Associate Regional Campaign Manager for the Pawtucket/Central Falls ANCHOR (Accelerating National Community Health Outcomes through Reinforcing Partnerships) grant, funded by the CDC and aimed at reducing obesity. She will be with us until the end of September.

Callie recently graduated with a BS from Rhode Island College in Community Health and Wellness, with a concentration in Public Health. Previously, she received a BS in Exercise Science from the University of RI and a specialization in Health Care Administration from Rhode Island College. Callie’s most recent work experience was at the RI Department of Health under the Community, Health, and Equity Division as a family planning intern. She also assisted with our Providence ANCHOR grant (year 1 of the project) by assessing the foods and beverages sold at a hospital and several worksites. Her work at Care New England Health System laid the foundation for the implementation of a system-wide policy requiring the vending machine supplier to adhere to American Heart Association nutrition guidelines.

Callie and her husband of two years are sponsored racquetball players who travel to tournaments within the New England area and occasionally around the country. She enjoys reading, watching movies and television shows, and spending time with family and friends. One of her favorite things to do is to sit on the rocks near the ocean at Beavertail Park in Jamestown, RI to watch the sunset with her husband.

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Rhode Island Advocates Celebrate Successful Legislative Session

The 2016 RI Legislative Session wrapped up on June 18th. Lawmakers passed hundreds of bills in the frenzied final days of session. Thanks to the passion, commitment and advocacy of our You’re the Cure advocates, we are celebrating a very successful year at the State House!

Below is a quick recap of the session:

  • School Nutrition Bill Approved – Our bill that would update Rhode Island’s school nutrition standards to ensure that we meet – and continue to exceed – new federal guidelines for snacks and beverages sold in schools was approved by the House and Senate and is heading to Governor Raimondo’s desk.
  • Biking/Recreation Bond Referendum Approved – The Governor’s proposed Green Economy/Biking/Recreation Bond Referendum was included in the budget approved by the House and Senate. The bond referendum will now go on the November Ballot. If approved by voters, it will provide millions of dollars for bikeway development, recreation and parks. 
  • 25-Cent Cigarette Tax Increase Defeated – The Governor’s proposed 25-cent cigarette tax increase was NOT included in the final budget.  The AHA and our partners strongly opposed the 25-cent increase because it was too small to have a public health impact and no money was dedicated to prevention and cessation programs (which remain woefully underfunded). 
  • AEDs in Schools Bill Approved – The House and Senate approved a bill that will require AEDs in all public and private middle and high schools in the state.  AEDs will also be required at school-sponsored athletic events and someone trained in the use of the AED must also be present.  This bill was championed by one of our amazing volunteers who has a son with a congenital heart defect – it truly highlights how a passionate advocate can inspire change! The AHA was happy to support this important bill and provide strategic guidance along the way. This bill also heads to the Governor’s desk.
  • CPR in Schools Funding Progress – We are still working to secure funding to purchase new CPR equipment for all high schools in the state to help implement the CPR in Schools Law. We have made progress over the past couple of months and are working with Governor Raimondo’s staff to identify potential funding sources.
  • Healthy School Advertising Bill Stalled – Our bill that would ensure only healthy foods and beverages are advertised and marketed to children on school property stalled in the final days of session. The measure had passed the Senate, but didn’t make it through the House. We worked really hard on this proposal and this is by far the biggest disappointment of the session. We will plan to meet with the House Leadership prior to the 2017 session to identify and address concerns. 

Questions? Contact Megan Tucker, Director of Government Relations at (401) 228-2331 or megan.tucker@heart.org.

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American Heart Association Highlights Partnership with Providence Public School District

We are very excited to share a new report entitled “Providence Teachers Learn How to Get Kids Moving” that highlights our recent work with the Providence Public School District (PPSD).  This work was part of the American Heart Association’s Accelerating National Community Health Outcomes through Reinforcing Partnerships (ANCHOR) grant, funded by the CDC and aimed at reducing obesity.  We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Jennifer Quigley-Harris, the PPSD Wellness Coordinator, who was a wonderful partner and collaborator.  This campaign would not have been possible without her dedication and support.

Click the following link to view the report: (Please visit the site to view this file)

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American Heart Association Announces 2016 Get Healthy! Poster Contest Award Recipients

The American Heart Association and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island hosted the 2016 Get Healthy! Poster Contest Award Ceremony at the Rhode Island State House on May 25th in conjunction with our Youth Advocacy Day.  The award ceremony recognized six outstanding students in grades K-5.  Winning students demonstrated how physical activity and healthy eating helps build healthy hearts, healthy families and healthy communities. More than 700 posters from all over Rhode Island were submitted for consideration this year.

Congratulations to our award recipients!

Grades K-2:

1st place – Tatum Brennan – Hathaway School, Portsmouth

2nd place – Zoe Hall – Wawaloam School, Exeter

3rd place – Ryan Capraro – Winsor Hill School, Johnston

Grades 3-5:

1st place –Makayla Scuncio – Winsor Hill School, Johnston

2nd place – Aidan Chen – Melville Elementary, Portsmouth

3rd place – Trinity Young – Homeschooled, Newport

The American Heart Association is committed to helping kids and families live heart healthy lives!  As we educate and lobby lawmakers to support policies that promote access to healthy foods and safe places to play and be active in Rhode Island, we wanted to take the extra step to get students involved.

Many thanks to our generous sponsor Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island!

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