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Tennessee Legislature Says No to Insure Tennessee

On February 2, 2015, the Tennessee Legislature convened for a special session to consider Governor Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” proposal. The session was expected to last at least a week, but ended on February 4 when the Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted 7-4 against the proposal. 

 If passed, “Insure Tennessee” would have provided more than 275,000 working, low-income residents with the opportunity to see a doctor regularly and receive timely preventive screenings, such as tobacco cessation services and stroke screenings. The program would have rewarded healthy behaviors, prepare members to transition to private coverage, promote personal responsibility and incentivize choosing preventive and routine care instead of unnecessary use of emergency rooms.

As a member of the Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee, the American Heart Association urged the Legislature to improve access to health care through “Insure Tennessee.” The American Heart Association will continue to support meaningful health reform that helps ensure affordable, quality health care for all Americans, regardless of race, gender, age, or ethnicity, in order to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases.

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The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 Livestream

Join us for this exclusive virtual event where top designers and celebrities demonstrate their support for women's heart health during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Heart disease is not just a man's disease. Each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. We can change that--80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Help break barriers against heart disease and stroke by joining us for the Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 live online at GoRedForWomen.org/RedDressCollection on Thursday, February 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern. See you there!

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2015 Tennessee Legislative Session is Now!

The 109th Tennessee General Assembly convened on January 13 at noon. Click here to ask your legislators to support improving heart health in Tennessee.

This year, two key policies for the American Heart Association are:

  • Full funding for Coordinated School Health, a systematic approach designed to connect health with learning. Coordinated School Health was implemented in all Tennessee public school systems in the 2007-08 school year and has since improved children’s health across the state. 
  • Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee, the innovative health insurance proposal that will result in better health for our great state and its people. With Tennessee’s new ranking as the 6th least healthy state in the nation, a plan such as this is much needed.

Of course, we will follow all bills as they relate to heart disease and stroke and will keep you posted along the way. We hope we can count on your support. Together, we can help all Tennesseans live healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

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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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Nashville Health Forum, Jan. 14

According to the 2014 America's Health Rankings, Tennessee ranks 45th in the nation for overall health with high prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity. To address the issue, Vanderbilt University will host a forum on January 14 to discuss how the state's poor health affects the economic potential and quality of life of Nashville-area residents and Tennessee communities. The forum also will identify state- and community-led initiatives to improve health outcomes.

Speakers and panelists will include representatives from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee Department of Health, Saint Thomas Health, Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness, University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research, and Fayetteville Medical Associates. This event is free and open to the public.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 2:30 PM  - 4:30 PM

WHERE: Vanderbilt University Student Life Center, 310 25th Avenue South, Nashville

Complimentary parking will be available in the 25th Avenue Garage on the Vanderbilt University Campus.

RSVP: Click here to register for this free event today! 

We hope to see you there!

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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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Let's Make the Healthy Beverage Swap!

In recent years research has made the connection between sugar-sweetened beverages and the increase in cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, diabetes, and overall healthcare costs. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 130 calories and 8 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association is calling on companies and consumers to make the healthy beverage swap. This swap includes options available in vending machines.

Here are recommended healthy beverage options that utilizes information included on a product’s Nutrition Facts panel:

  • Water (plain)
  • Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk; if flavored, no more than 130 calories per 8 fl. oz.
  • 100% fruit juice, no more than 120 calories per 8 fl. oz. with no added sugars/sweeteners (excludes non-nutritive sweeteners)
  • No more than 120 calories per 8 fl. oz. (preferred portion size)
  • No more than 150 calories per 10 fl. oz.
  • No more than 180 calories per 12 fl. oz.
  • Other beverages: no more than 10 calories per serving

Visit www.heart.org/foodwhereur to download the complete Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Toolkit and for more information on how to get your vending machines stocked with healthier options.

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Local Lawmakers Recognize World Stroke Day

In late October, Nashville-Davidson County Councilwoman and American Heart Association advocate, Sheri Weiner, sponsored a resolution recognizing October 29th as World Stroke Day.  "I lost my mother to a stroke and know many families who have been affected by strokes and believe it is important for people to be aware of the signs,” expressed Councilwoman Weiner.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association supports World Stroke Day, the annual campaign by educating Americans about the stroke warning signs and the importance of taking action immediately. While stroke is the No. 4 cause of death and leading cause of disability in the U.S., many Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern. We have made a lot of progress, but we still have a ways to go and need your help!

Quick recognition of the signs of a stroke and immediate intervention by medical professionals is the best way to prevent permanent disability and / or death resulting from a stroke.  If you or a loved one suspects a stroke has occurred, remember to think F.A.S.T.!  If someone is experiencing:  F – face drooping; A – arm weakness; S – speech difficulty; the it is:  T – time to call 911.

Learn more at strokeassociation.org.

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Have You Taken the Sodium Pledge?

America’s relationship with salt is putting us at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. To better understand and limit your sodium intake, join the American Heart Association’s campaign called “I Love You Salt, But You’re Breaking My Heart.”  The site features a fun video, blog, sodium quiz, infographics, and links to lower-sodium recipes.  It’s time to break up with excess salt.  Take the pledge to reduce your sodium intake now at www.heart.org/sodium

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Dieters Need Close Access to Healthy Food

You're obese, at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and so motivated to improve your diet that you've enrolled in an intensive behavioral program. But if you need to travel more than a short distance to a store that offers a good selection of healthy food, your success may be limited.

A new study from UMass Medical School and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health finds that not having close access to healthy foods can deter even the most motivated dieters from improving their diet, suggesting that easy access to healthy food is as important as personal motivation and professional guidance from health care providers.

"Community health programs should be evidence based, but many studies have showed conflicting associations between the distance to grocery stores and lower or higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes," said principal investigator Wenjun Li, PhD, associate professor of medicine and director of the Health Statistics and Geography Lab in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine at UMMS and senior author of the study.

Read more on sciencenewsline.com.

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