Archive for May, 2012

Senate Includes Measure to Increase Data Pertaining to Women in Clinical Trials

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Think all prescription drugs and medical devices react the same in men and women? They don’t. However, the FDA has limited data on how drugs or devices affect the genders, and the consequences can be deadly.

However, Senator Debbie Stabenow is trying to change that.

Recently, the Senate passed a measure to require the FDA to report on issues relating to how drugs or devices affect both males and females. According to Senator Stabenow, 75 percent of clinical trials do not report on results pertaining to gender because of the large amounts of males in the trials.

“Women react differently than men so it’s very important that we have the right research. It could mean the difference between life and death and unfortunately the information is not always available,” said Stabenow in a recent call with reporters.

This legislation tries to change that and provide both men and women the information that they need to make the right medical choices.

Now this legislation goes to the House for consideration. Stay tuned for more updates.  

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CRP in Schools Victory in Vermont!

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Hard work pays off. After 6 months of lobbying lawmakers in Vermont, 8th grader Tommy Watson and many other AHA volunteers were successful in having Governor Shumlin sign a bill to include CPR and AED instruction in health education courses.  By including both “hands-only” and AED components to the education plan, Vermont is gearing up to train the next generation of lifesavers.

Advocate Tommy Watson played a large role in getting this bill to the governor’s desk, including testifying in front of lawmakers and being interview by local press. He even trained the governor in “hands-only” CPR before the bill signing.

“I am really excited to have CPR in schools legislation passed,” said Watson in an interview. “It was a huge achievement accomplished. It means a lot to me knowing future generations of Vermont youth are going to be able to potentially make a difference by using this life-saving technique. It is also an honor to be training the Governor of Vermont.”

The Governor was equally impressed with Tommy.

“Tommy is an example to other students of how one Vermonter can make a real difference at the State House,” said Governor Shumlin.

Congratulations to all the AHA Staff and Volunteers for this victory!

Is your state CPR Smart? Take the pledge and find out today.

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Urge Congress to Protect Safe Routes to School!

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Right now, the Senate and House of Representatives are working out the details of the final federal transportation bill and advocates for Safe Routes to School and walk-able and bike-able communities have a lot at stake.

Funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike paths, which make physical activity easier and safer for many (especially our kids), remains in question. That’s why we’re joining with numerous other organizations from across the country for a National Call to Action this week!

Be one of the voices sending a loud and clear message to Congress that the needs of walkers and bicyclists cannot be ignored in the transportation bill.

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You’re the Cure Advocates Talk Fresh Fruits and Vegetables on Capitol Hill

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

On Wednesday May 17, You’re the Cure advocates from six key states (CO, KS, MN, NE, OR, and TX) flew to Washington D.C. to urge their Members of Congress protect the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).  The FFVP provides snacks of fresh fruit and vegetables to elementary school students in low-income schools across the country, increasing access to and consumption of fresh produce.  As Congress reauthorizes the 2012 Farm Bill, the program faces threats. 

The seven advocates attended an afternoon of issue training and legislative meeting practice to prepare them for their day on Capitol Hill, where they met with Senators, Representatives, and staff.    

Additionally advocates participated in a congressional briefing, The Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program: A Win for Agriculture, Children, Schools, Families and Public Health, where they shared firsthand experience with implementing the program in their schools.   

Annette Derouin, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Willmar Public Schools in Willmar, MN, noted how the FFVP is transforming her elementary students into fruit and vegetable lovers, recalling how the students applaud and yell out “thank you” when the fresh fruit and vegetable snacks are delivered to their classrooms every day. Rex Bruce, Superintendent of Sublette School District in Sublette, Kansas, gave evidence for how the FFVP is improving child nutrition, academic performance and the local economy. Sublette elementary schools purchase $30,000 of fresh fruits and vegetables for the FFVP from their local supermarket each year, helping that supermarket stay in the community.

Jessie Coffey, FFVP Coordinator for Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Gitta Grether-Sweeney, Director of Nutrition Services for Portland Public Schools in Portland, Oregon, told the House and Senate audience that their FFVP reaches 10,000 and 9,000 low-income elementary students every day, respectively. Coffey and Grether-Sweeny explained that the demand for FFVP is greater than the available funding at both the district and state level.

The event was co-hosted by the American Heart Association and United Fresh Produce.

Check out the You’re the Cure Facebook page for more pictures of the event!

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NIH Director Talks about Obesity on the Colbert Report

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins brought a serious message recently on the Comedy Central’s Colbert Report a few days ago. Dr. Francis talked about the importance of eating well and the state of America’s obesity epidemic.

Have a few laughs and check out the video below.

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Sen. Mark Kirk’s Recovery “Excellent” After Stroke

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

On January 21st, Senator Mark Kirk from Illinois had a stroke at the age of 52. Only 15 weeks later, his recovery has been described as “excellent” by his doctor in an article in the Chicago Tribune. Sen. Kirk’s ongoing recovery shows how important medical research is to stroke recovery.

Sen. Kirk also penned a letter-to-the- editor describing his stroke and recovery. 

“Early detection is key to survival,” said Kirk. “My staff and I are working on a legislative package to help with early detection and prevention programs.”

Check out his amazing video below, go the full story , and read Sen. Kirk’s letter in the Chicago Tribune.

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State Spotlight! WV “Heart Moms” Make Life-Saving Law a Reality

Monday, May 7th, 2012

A recent legislative victory in West Virginia showed once again that passionate, dedicated advocates can make a difference.  On April 5th, 2012, advocate Ruth Caruthers and her fellow “Heart Moms” stood with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in the State Capitol, as he signed “Corbin’s Law” into effect.  This life-saving legislation, named after Ruth’s son who passed away from a heart defect shortly after birth, makes pulse oximetry (pulse ox) testing a mandatory requirement for all babies born in West Virginia.  Pulse ox is a simple, inexpensive, painless bedside test which can help detect a critical congenital heart defect before a baby is released from the hospital. 

“My son inspired me to become an advocate,” said Ruth.  “After fighting against heart defects his whole life and showing how incredibly strong and brave he could be, I knew I had to continue his legacy after his death.  I had to make a difference in his name to help other mothers and babies.” 

Ruth was joined in her mission by fellow parents of children born with congenital heart defects.  These “Heart Moms” and dads began networking in any way they could to build support for the bill.  Whether it was sharing information and connecting on social media, recruiting new advocates to You’re the Cure, educating expecting parents about pulse ox, doing media interviews, or calling local hospitals, Ruth and the other “Heart Moms” worked tirelessly to get the word out.  And it paid off in March when the state legislature passed the bill, followed by the Governor’s signature. 

“Being able to watch the Governor sign Corbin’s Bill just made it so real to me. Corbin was in that room that day, shining down and smiling over all of us.  It was a day full of happiness and hope.  I could not have been happier or more proud of Corbin then at that moment,” Ruth shared. 

Her advice to other advocates?  “Use social media to your advantage!  You must be able to reach people and that is the best way to do it.  You need to network, network, network.”

Congratulations to all of the West Virginia advocates who worked so hard to pass this life-saving bill!

For more information, visit the WV Pulse Ox Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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CPR in Schools Victory in Minnesota!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

On April 23, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a law that will ensure that everyone who graduates from high school will be trained in hands-only CPR. With this bill, Minnesota students between grades 7 and 12 will receive hands-only CPR training at least once before they graduate. The training can occur in as little as 30 minutes and local volunteer fire fighters and EMTs can assist with the training. The bill will be implemented for the 2014-15 school year.

“This bill will train an entire generation to be life-savers,” said Justin Bell, government relations director for the American Heart Association.

Congratulations to everyone in Minnesota.

Is your state CPR Smart? Take the pledge and find out today!

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Statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on National High Blood Pressure Education Month

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month and Stroke Awareness Month. It makes sense to observe both in the same month because when you control your blood pressure, you reduce your risk of stroke —the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 U.S. adults—an estimated 68 million of us—have high blood pressure, also called hypertension. This “silent killer” can damage the heart, brain, and kidneys without a single symptom.

Right now, half of those Americans with high blood pressure still don’t have it adequately controlled. African Americans are at particular risk—often having more severe hypertension, and developing it at younger ages.

Each year, more than 795,000 Americans have a stroke and more than 130,000 people in the United States die every year after a stroke—an average of one stroke-related death every 4 minutes.

Together, the financial costs of high blood pressure and stroke are staggering: annual costs of hypertension are $156 billion, with medical costs accounting for nearly $131 billion and lost productivity from illness and premature death of about $25 billion a year. Annual stroke costs to the nation are more than a billion dollars a week.

Fortunately, there are some things in life you can control—and blood pressure is one.

Helping Americans with high blood pressure get it under control to reduce strokes and other forms of cardiovascular disease is a high priority for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and through our national Million Hearts initiative, we are making a difference. Co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—and in collaboration with many other government and private partners—we aim to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Million Hearts is working to reduce high blood pressure with a one-two punch; the first, focusing health care professionals, health systems, insurers, employers, and individuals on the link between good blood pressure control and good health and, the second, encouraging all Americans to know their blood pressure, monitor it regularly, and talk with their doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or community health worker about how to keep it in the normal range. From diet and physical activity to medications, there are easy, effective and economical ways to measure, routinely monitor, and control blood pressure.

Million Hearts is supported by the many improvements to health care provided by the health care law, the Affordable Care Act, which now strengthens the prevention of stroke by ensuring that many adult patients receive preventive services, including blood pressure screenings, at no cost.

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Transportation Secretary Promotes Safe Routes to School

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

On Friday, April 27th, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood walked to school with his grandchildren. Why is this news? Because Secretary LaHood was also joined by other community members and children promoting the Safe Routes to School program in Indiana.

“We know that, when kids walk or bike to school, they get energized for their school day and they bring neighborhoods together”, said LaHood.

Indianapolis Mayor, Greg Ballard, and Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner, Mike Cline, joined LaHood in this walk to bring awareness to Safe Routes to School, according to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation blog.  

“Safe Routes programs are efforts by parents, schools, community leaders, and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school,” said LaHood.

The American Heart Association is also committed to the Safe Routes to School Program. In early March, over a dozen AHA volunteers took to Capitol Hill to urge their lawmakers to protect the program.

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