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Kiersten Espaillat, Nashville

How long have you been a volunteer with the AHA and in what capacity?  I have served on the Tennessee Advocacy Committee for two years and recently joined the Greater Southeast Affiliate Board of Directors.

Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the AHA?  My passion for reducing the incidences of stroke, as well as the impact that stroke has on the lives of so many families gets me going every day.

What is important to you in regards to heart health and why?  Knowledge. Helping people to know their bodies, know how to prevent stroke and heart disease. Encouraging communities to educate all citizens in how to recognize signs of stroke and heart attack to reduce death.

What are two ways you keep yourself healthy?   I keep myself healthy by exercising every day, even if it is just parking in the farthest parking spot and taking the stairs.  I also make sure our family eats dinner together every night.

How is your community healthy that makes you proud?  Nashville has done a wonderful job of adding greenways and outdoor active spaces, and encouraging farmers to bring plenty of fruits and vegetables to all residents.

How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state? I  try to stay up on the current policies that affect the health of Tennesseans by reading newsletters put out by the AHA as well as local news stories.

If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why?  I would advocate for stroke recognition to be taught alongside CPR in schools to help increase the number of patients who arrive at the hospital in time for treatment.

Do you have a favorite AHA/ASA event you annually attend? What is your motivation to participate?  I attend the International Stroke Conference every year. This is a great way to hear about the latest trials, new evidence and to meet up with advocates from around the world.

Have you attended a state or federal lobby day on behalf of the AHA?  If so, please briefly explain your experience.   Attending the Day on the Hill in Nashville earlier this year was a great experience. I was able to meet other advocates and speak with many of our local legislators about stroke and heart health.

What have you learned in your time being a You’re the Cure advocate?  As a You’re The Cure advocate, I have been able to share stories from my professional work in health care as well as personal connection to stroke.  Reaching out and connecting with people helps really drive home the message of health and prevention.

Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You’re the Cure?   I would encourage anyone who wants to help impact change in small ways, to join You’re the Cure.

Tell us one unique thing about yourself.   One unique thing about me is that while I’m very comfortable around a hospital, my favorite place to be is in the woods hiking.  Hearing the animals and the wind bring peace.

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Meet Our Tennessee Advocacy Committee

The American Heart Association is working toward improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, and reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, all by the year 2020. Policy change is essential for us to meet this bold goal, and our volunteers are at the heart of our efforts.

Each year, the American Heart Association invites a diverse group of volunteers to serve on the Tennessee Advocacy Committee, which is the advisory board to volunteers and staff on state public advocacy issues. With the leadership of our subcommittee, we create a state public policy agenda that impacts heart disease and stroke risk factors and protects heart disease and stroke patients. We also conduct grassroots and lobbying activities to educate the public and policymakers about the need for policy change.

This year, we are proud to announce our 2016-17 Tennessee Advocacy Subcommittee:

  • Dr. Katherine Y. Brown, Chair -  Founder, We Teach CPR
  • Christian Marks, Vice Chair – Ph.D. student, Vanderbilt University
  • Lee Hord, Member – Director, Process Improvement and Standardization, Apria Healthcare
  • Kiersten Espaillat, DNP, RN, APN-BC, Member – Stroke Services Coordinator, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Karla Coleman García, Member – Policy Manager, Conexión Américas
  • Amy Couvillion, Member – Director of Stroke/Telemedicine Networks, Saint Thomas Health
  • Shirley Holt-Hale, Ph.D., Member – Retired Physical Education Instructor
  • Nieika Parks, MHA, Ph.D., Member – Enterprise Health & Wellness Coordinator, FedEx Corporate Services
  • Denise Hamilton-Sanders, Member – Supervisor of School Health & Safety for Giles County Schools
  • Lorean Mays, Member -  Heart and Stroke Ambassador

Stay tuned as we release our 2016-17 public policy agenda for Tennessee and let you know how you can help advocate in your community!

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Building Blocks for a Healthy Life

The first five years of a child’s life are key! That’s when they’re developing vital skills—from walking and speaking to choosing healthy habits and understanding social interactions. A healthy childcare environment plays an important role in that development process. However, Tennessee does not have early care and education standards in place, and the Department of Human Services is considering updating licensing standards to address the issue.

The American Heart Association encourages the Department of Human Services to adopt early care and education standards that ensure our children have access to plenty of active play, limited screen time and healthy snack and meal options. These healthy lifestyle choices are instrumental as children develop—physically and mentally—and they also reinforce healthy habits that will help prevent disease and obesity throughout their lifetime.


CLICK HERE to ask the Department of Human Services for their support to give all children the building blocks for a healthy life.

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Our Team is Growing

Over the past month, our Greater Southeast Affiliate Advocacy team has announced the addition of two Regional Vice Presidents and a Grassroots Specialist to assist with our lobbying and grassroots efforts across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Nathan Mick

On July 18, 2016, Nathan Mick joined the American Heart Association as Regional Vice President of Advocacy for the Greater Southeast Affiliate. He is responsible for managing our Government Relations Directors in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Nathan has a tremendous amount of experience in and around the policy and political arenas. He has been the Vice-President of Government Affairs and Business Development at StateBook International the past few years, where he was responsible for stakeholder relationships, government relations, brand, memberships, and strategic partnerships. He also served as the chief liaison to embassies, international companies, local, state and federal government officials. In late 2015, Nathan served as an advisor to the Kentucky Governor’s transition team on Economic Development and provided advice and recommendation directly to the governor and key staff to establish their team and system following the election. Nathan also served as the Carlisle and Nicholas County Industrial Development Authority, Government Relations and Economic Development Advisor and prior to that was the Garrard County Economic Development Director for several years. Nathan was the Deputy Campaign Manager and Political Director for the Pete Rickets for United States Senate Campaign in Nebraska, who is currently the Governor of Nebraska, and he was Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Chuck Hagel.

Nathan graduated from Centre College in Kentucky, has a Master’s degree from the Naval War College, and has Economic Development and Community Development Certifications from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Kentucky.  Nathan worked for a regional arts center during college, where he managed the staff and was the marketing manager for the Atlanta Olympic Games for the Celebration of the Century.

He is active in the American Council of Young Political Leaders and has been on numerous trips with them and was also selected to represent the United States as an official delegation representative at Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Human Dimension Implementation Meetings in 2007, 2008 and 2013.

Todd Rosenbaum

On July 18, 2016, Todd joined the American Heart Association as the Regional Vice President of Government Relations for the Greater Southeast Affiliate. He manages our community government relations, grant management and grassroots functions.

Todd served as the Executive Director of the Florida State Alliance of YMCAs for the past five years, where he was responsible for coordinating advocacy activities, board development, working with committees, staff supervision, fiscal management, grant oversight, securing resources and event management. During his tenure he secured and managed over $370,000 in private grants and over $2 million in state government funding for both the YReads and Youth in Government Program.

Prior to his role as Executive Director of the Florida State Alliance of YMCA’s, Todd was the Northwest Florida Executive Director and ultimately the State Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in Florida. His role at MADD required him to serve as the administrative (state agency) and legislative lead, leverage the grassroots network and increase the number of MADD signature events. In addition he managed a team of six throughout the state and a $2.8 million budget. 

Before joining MADD, Todd spent the 12 years at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, where he began as a Program Manager and was promoted several times until he became the Executive Director. He was responsible for opening a new $4.5 million, $40,000 square foot branch, managing a downtown YMCA with a $2.79 million budget and increasing revenue at that location. He also led a management team of six, more than 100 other staff and was responsible for a multi-million dollar budget for several years in a row.   

Laura Bracci, MPH

On August 1, 2016, Laura Bracci joined the Greater Southeast Affiliate advocacy team as a Grassroots Specialist. In this role, Laura provides grassroots support for local campaigns led by Advocacy and Community Health, as well as assists with managing the You’re the Cure network at the affiliate level.

Laura is a huge public health advocate and is very familiar with the American Heart Association. In fact, she worked for our organization for nine years, first as a Health Initiatives Manager and then the Georgia State Health Alliance Director until the department sunset in 2010.

After working for the American Heart Association, Laura remained actively engaged in public health. She worked as a consultant for a Farm to Preschool Summit in Georgia in 2013 – the first in the nation! She also worked with the Strong4Life Research and Development team to initiate the planning of research projects relevant to childhood obesity prevention and treatment.

For the past five years, Laura has worked as a project manager for Georgia State University’s School of Public Health. She has managed and cultivated state-level Leadership Council focused on improving policies to decrease childhood obesity prevalence.

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How fate brought together three stroke survivors' families

The following article about You're the Cure advocate Ryley Williams and two other youths who survived strokes on the same day was published by AHA CEO Nancy Brown in the Huffington Post on July 6th, 2016. A link is provided at the end of the story.

In the community of Dartmouth in the Canadian province Nova Scotia, Nik Latter’s family is throwing what his mom promises will be “a big ol’ party.” Fist bumps and hugs will celebrate the fact he’s made it an entire year since his devastating July 8th.

One by one, over each of the last three July 8s, Ryley, Amber and Nik suffered a stroke. Yet the oddity of their shared date is only part of what led their moms to create a de facto support group.

What really brought them together is that Ryley, Amber and Nik were — and still are — teenagers.

Ryley was 15 and devoted to becoming the starting nose guard on his varsity football team. Amber was 13 and loved playing softball and hanging out with the two girls who’d been her best friends since kindergarten. Nik was a few days shy of 18 and had left school to work at a restaurant; he’d bought a car and aimed to become a voluntary firefighter following that upcoming birthday.

Now, well, their dreams are different.

As we approach July 8, the families allowed me to share their stories to send an important message: Stroke can attack anyone at any time.

***

Ryley Williams went into the summer following his freshman year at Bentonville (Arkansas) High with one goal. He wanted to draw the attention of the varsity football coaches.

So he ran and lifted weights. He ate six meals a day, devouring only foods that would expand his 6-foot, 242-pound frame the right way.

“Honey, you’re never late, you make good grades, you don’t cause any problems — trust me, the coaches notice you,” his mom, Terri Rose, told him. “They just won’t tell you they notice you.”

The morning of Monday, July 8, 2013, Ryley went to an indoor field for football practice. He was stretching when he grabbed his leg and collapsed. Everyone thought he’d pulled a muscle and overreacted. Then they realized there was more to it.

At the hospital, a brain scan showed a bigger problem than the facility could handle. He was flown by helicopter to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. It wasn’t easy fitting someone his size into the chopper.

When they landed, seizures began. Off he went for an MRI. Looking at the results, the doctor pointed to five spots.

“This is a stroke, this is a stroke, this is a stroke, this is a stroke and this is a stroke,” the doctor said. “We need to find out why he has so many blood clots in his brain.”

Around 3 a.m. Wednesday, they still didn’t know why. And now they had a new problem. Ryley’s brain was swelling.

He underwent an operation to remove part of his skull. With Ryley sedated, doctors also took a closer look at his heart. They found hair-like strands of a bacterial infection on the outside of two valves. A-ha! This was the source.

Next question: How much brain damage had he suffered? His right side didn’t function. Doctors cautioned he may never walk or talk.

As Ryley was coming out of his medically induced coma, some football players visited. Coaches, too. They brought a varsity jersey with his number, 99.

“The head coach drove down to Little Rock and stayed with us when Ryley had the skull surgery,” Terri said. “Other coaches came to visit, too. They told us they were watching him. They knew he was going to have a big year. Hearing that was bittersweet.”

Fast forward to today.

His right arm remains compromised. He also battles aphasia, a condition that sometimes makes it hard for him to get words out. Still, Ryley recently graduated high school, right on time. He even spent the last year working at a Walmart Neighborhood Market. And he’s become an advocate for the American Stroke Association. Last year, he and Terri encouraged a Congressional subcommittee in Washington, D.C., to support more funding for research and awareness about pediatric stroke.

He’s spending this summer at a facility that specializes in neuropsychology recovery for victims of strokes and traumatic brain injuries. He’s learning skills to live on his own, although he plans to spend two years at home while attending Northwest Arkansas Community College.

“He’s incredibly positive,” Terri said. “He’s accepted everything. He tells you, `This is who I am now.’”

***

The night of July 8, 2014, Amber Hebert was on first base when the next batter hit the ball to the outfield.

Amber ran to second base without anyone trying to get her out, then fell as if she’d been punched. She vomited and went into a seizure. Her 5-foot-3, 86-pound body thrashed so violently that four firefighters held her down while a fifth injected her with medicine.

The local hospital in Bellevue, Nebraska, ended up sending her to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. The seizures continued until 3 a.m.

“When she finally stopped seizing, she was able to see and talk and understand you,” said her mom, Tirzah Hebert. “But I could see the fear in her eyes.”

Tests — and seizures — continued throughout the next day. Finally, doctors declared she’d suffered a stroke.

The next day, Amber sat in a chair holding a cup and walked around her hospital floor. The following day, she had a bit more difficulty holding a cup but could still walk. That night, Tirzah asked if she understood what had happened.

“I don’t know,” Amber said.

The next day, a Saturday, Amber couldn’t walk, talk or hold up her head. This continued until Tuesday, when she finally underwent an MRI. It showed that her brain was swelling.

Doctors were able to reduce it with medicine. Then came the waiting game to determine the extent of brain damage. Soon, she began smiling and communicating with her left hand — fist for yes, open palm for no.

These days, Amber walks, but sometimes the toes on her right foot curl, causing her to drag her foot.

She can’t move her right hand or wrist. She also has aphasia. Therapists believe that with practice she’ll improve in every area. (Doctors never determined the cause of her stroke.)

Alas, there have been other obstacles.

Shortly after Amber made it home, her dad’s dad — with whom she was very close — died of cancer. Four months later, a lump in her dad’s neck was found to be cancerous. Early detection plus chemotherapy and radiation helped him beat it.

School proved no refuge. She went from being one of the most popular girls at school to getting bullied. Her two lifelong best friends “just disappeared,” Tirzah said. Amber switched to homeschooling until giving the classroom another try this summer.

“She’s a happy girl, for the most part, very loving and caring,” Tirzah said. “She still has some depression, but who wouldn’t? To have your life completely turned upside down like hers has?”

***

Even as a child, Nik Latter struggled with migraines. So, last June, when he had one that was bad enough to go to a hospital, nobody thought much of it.

Nor did anyone think twice when he left work complaining of a migraine on Sunday, July 5, 2015.

The next day, he endured what he described as the worst migraine he’d ever experienced. He wore sunglasses indoors and had his mom, Rhonda, drive him to a clinic. The next day, he slept at his grandparents’ house because it was quieter than being home with his two younger sisters.

Rhonda visited him Wednesday, he stared blankly. He tried talking, but nothing came out.

“He’s having a stroke,” she declared. “Call 911!”

A scan showed a mass on the right side of his brain. During an operation, doctors determined it was a stroke. Days later, it was determined the cause was a sinus infection gone severely wrong. The infection broke the barrier between the sinus and the brain, releasing a blood clot.

Nik’s recovery started great. He gave hugs, pulled his mom’s hair and played thumb wars with his sisters. Then, in the early hours of July 16, he had another stroke. On the other side of his brain.

Doctors said Nik may not survive. But the family wanted to give him every chance. Their faith was rewarded when he was weaned off the breathing tube.

He continued clearing hurdles, although he remained hospitalized until March. The long struggle seemed to deflate him; being home reinvigorated him. He now puts his right foot down and pushes his wheelchair. He fist bumps with his right hand, laughs, smiles and kicks.

He makes sounds and, sometimes, says words. Not enough to say he’s talking. But he’s trying.

“He’s very aware of his surroundings,” Rhonda said.

***

While each stroke story is different, every stroke shares similarities.

Time lost is brain lost. The sooner the stroke can be recognized, the sooner treatment can begin. The gold standard of treatment is called tPA. If this clot-busting drug is administered within three hours, and up to 4.5 hours in some cases, the extent of recovery can improve drastically.

That’s why the American Stroke Association urges everyone to remember the acronym FAST. When you see Face drooping, Arm weakness or Speech difficulty, it’s Time to call 911.

Stroke is the No. 2 killer worldwide and No. 5 in the United States. While it’s true that strokes usually happen to older people is true, Ryley, Amber and Nik are proof that’s not always the case.

The world of pediatric stroke is small enough — and the pull of the internet is strong enough — that families of survivors are bound to find each other.

For instance, Terri connected with Lea Chaulk, a Canadian mom whose son was about the same age as Ryley and had a stroke about the same time. Terri and Lea became like sisters as they helped their sons grieve over the lives they lost and learn to embrace their new reality. Lea later introduced Terri to Rhonda.

Meanwhile, Ryley got to know four teenagers from the Kansas City area who were featured by American Heart Association News after they overcame strokes during high school to graduate on time. One of those families had gotten to know the Heberts, and they connected Terri and Tirzah.

The three moms — Terri, Tirzah and Rhonda — lean on each other often. They’ve yet to meet in person, although Ryley and Amber have shared messages via Facebook.

“Knowing that I’m not alone has helped soooo much,” Tirzah said.

“If I didn’t have some of these moms, I think I’d go insane,” said Rhonda, laughing. “Sometimes I sit down and get lost in thought and get upset. Then I’ll send one of them a message saying `I need you to bring me back down to Earth.’”

Three families irrevocably altered, all on a July 8. It’s incredible. Yet from this coincidence comes strength.

“I’ve told my family, `Look, it happened to two other kids on the same day,’” Tirzah said. “It’s like, Wow. And we’ve all made it this far. And you know what? We’re going to keep on going.”

Read the rest of the story on the Huffington Post.

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Dr. Katherine Brown, Nashville

We recently spoke with Dr. Katherine Y. Brown of Nashville, founder of Learn CPR America and passionate You’re the Cure advocate.

How long have you been a volunteer with the American Heart Association and in what capacity? 25 years! During this time, some of my volunteer roles include: State Advocacy Chairperson, Go Red For Women, CPR Instructor, Regional Faculty, National Speaker, Empowered To Serve, Facilitated National CPR Webinar, Health Fair Volunteer, Heart Walk Speaker, Speaker on Stroke Awareness. I also have severed as an American Heart Association Minority Health Council Member, 2010 Speaker for Scientific Sessions, Health Fair Volunteer, Gospel Tour Committee and State Advocacy Co Chair.

Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the American Heart Association? As a survivor and medical professional, I am impressed by the work of the American Heart Association in my personal and professional life. The American Heart Association's resources change lives on a daily basis.

What heart-healthy issue is most important to you and why? As a national CPR Ambassador I am passionate about CPR education. Having used CPR in the real world, I believe that if more people learn CPR, more lives can be saved. I am committed to making a difference.

What are two ways you keep yourself healthy? Exercise daily, eat heart healthy and practice meditation and relaxation.

How is your community healthy that makes you proud? Nashville is committed to being a healthy place to work and play. There are many family-friendly, free resources including free green ways, walking paths, and also bike programs that make being healthy an achievable lifestyle.

How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state? You're the Cure! Serving as chair of the American Heart Association's State Advocacy Committee and working with the American Heart Association. Denise, our Government Relations Director, is amazing!

If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why? More funding for CPR education. Sometimes funding is a barrier to CPR education and this should not be the case. Everyone should have access to life-saving skills.

Do you have a favorite AHA/ASA event you annually attend?  What is your motivation to participate? I have two - CPR week and Go Red For Women! I love teaching CPR and I also love seeing women learn ways to become heart healthy.

What have you learned in your time being a You’re the Cure advocate? To have a voice in advocacy, we must work together to increase active participation in the You're the Cure network.

Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You’re the Cure? It's imperative that we are active, informed, and knowledgeable in legislation that impacts us, our families, and the communities that we live in. It's not enough to talk about concerns; we must be active and engaged.

Tell us one unique thing about yourself. I have been an American Heart Association volunteer since age 16.

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Meet Nathan, Our Regional Vice President for Tennessee

Join me in welcoming the newest member to our Advocacy team in the Greater Southeast Affiliate.  Nathan Mick, Regional Vice President joined the team on July 18th and is responsible for managing our Government Relations Directors in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.  Nathan has a tremendous amount of experience in and around the policy and political arenas. 

Mr. Mick has been the Vice-President of Government Affairs and Business Development at StateBook International the past few years, where he was responsible for stakeholder relationships, government relations, brand, memberships, and strategic partnerships and served as the chief liaison to embassies, international companies, local, state and federal government officials.  He served as an advisor to the Kentucky Governor’s transition team on Economic Development in late 2015 and provided advice and recommendation directly to the Governor and key staff to establish their team and system following the election.  Nathan served as the Carlisle and Nicholas County Industrial Development Authority, Government Relations and Economic Development Advisor the past few years and prior to that was the Garrard County Economic Development Director for several years. 

Nathan Mick was the Deputy Campaign Manager and Political Director for the Pete Rickets for United States Senate Campaign in Nebraska, who is currently the Governor of Nebraska.  He was Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Chuck Hagel and his main responsibilities included, but were not limited to:  Personally represented the Senator in Nebraska; in Washington, D.C.; throughout the United States; in Germany, Poland, China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.  Staffed the Senator’s meeting with Ambassadors, White House Officials, Department Secretaries, Foreign and Domestic Military Generals, CEOs and business executives, industry representatives, Senate and House Colleagues, Agency Officials, constituents, etc., drafted speeches, letters, legislation, policy positions, funding requests, talking points, briefing memos, and official responses, responsible for negotiations, drafting and passing of Senate Bill 1076 in the 108th Congress that became Public Law 108-126 to build an underground education center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Nathan also worked for a regional arts center during college, where he managed the staff and was the marketing manager for the Atlanta Olympic Games for the Celebration of the Century.  He is active in the American Council of Young Political Leaders and has been on numerous trips with them and was also selected to represent the United States as an official delegation representative at Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Human Dimension Implementation Meetings in 2007, 2008 and 2013.

Mr. Mick graduated from Centre College in Kentucky, has a Master’s degree from the Naval War College, and has Economic Development and Community Development Certifications from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Kentucky.  He is very active in various community organizations locally and loves to travel the world.  

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Find the Heart Walk Near You

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier community event, helping to save lives from heart disease and stroke. More than 300 walks across America raise funds to support valuable health research, education and advocacy programs of the American Heart Association in every state. Our You’re the Cure advocacy movement – and our public policy successes along the way – are all made possible by the funds raised by the Heart Walk. Whether it’s CPR laws passed to train the next generation of lifesavers or policy to regulate tobacco products and prevent youth smoking,  together we are building a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The Heart Walk is truly a community event, celebrating survivors, living healthy, and being physically active. We hope you’ll join us and visit the site today. If there is not a walk listed in your area soon,  it may be coming in the spring season or you can join a virtual event. And don’t forget to connect with your local advocacy staff and ask about your local Heart Walk day-of You’re the Cure plans - they may need your help spreading the word. Thanks for all you do, and happy Heart Walk season.

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Health Care Task Force Releases Healthcare Coverage Plan for Tennesseans

On June 30, the Health Care Task Force unveiled their plan to provide increased healthcare coverage to Tennesseans. This task force had been commissioned by Speaker Beth Harwell to explore conservative ways to increase coverage for Tennesseans after the failure of our legislature to pass Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan. 

The task force held meetings across the state and listened to input from numerous groups and individuals. The American Heart Association urged the task force to recommend a plan that would increase coverage and be accepted by the Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The plan released by the Health Care Task Force will have two distinct phases. Phase one will provide coverage to Veterans and Tennesseans "qualifying diagnosis of a mental illness or substance abuse disorder." Phase two would allow enrollment for anyone making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The next step for the plan will be to negotiations by the task force with CMS. If CMS approves a wavier for the plan, then it will need to be approved by our full legislature.

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Help Protect PE for Kids Like Me!

Guest post from Reagan Spomer, 6th grader Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board Member & You’re the Cure Advocate

I have two words for you… scooter hockey.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  That’s because it is!  Scooter hockey, along with cage ball and 3-way soccer are some of my favorite activities in gym class, which I have a few times a week.

I’m glad I have physical education for a number of reasons.  It keeps me active and teaches me to try new things.  It helps me focus on my school work.  It relieves my stress.  And most of all, it makes me feel great! 

But I know a lot of schools don’t have regular PE like my schools does.  That means a lot of kids are missing out on the benefits of being active during the school day.  I think this needs to change.   

Will you help?  As part of the nationwide campaign to protect PE in schools, Voices for Healthy Kids has created a photo petition map to show how many people across the country love PE like I do.  As people share their pictures, the map will change colors.  I’ve added my “I heart PE” photo for South Dakota.  Will you do the same for your state?  It’s really easy:

  1. Print an “I heart PE” sign (or make your own!)
  2. Take a picture of yourself holding the sign.
  3. Click on your state to share your photo.

Thanks for helping to protect PE for kids like me!
-Reagan

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