Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AHA Advocates Storm Capitol Hill


This week the American Heart Association organized their annual Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. Marilyn Davidson, AHA Gov. Relations Dir., and Kelli Lynch, AHA volunteer, traveled to DC to meet with members of the Oklahoma delegation. Their focus during these meetings was to encourage the members to support increased funding for the NIH and CDC, as well as ask for thier support for quality health care reform.

They were joined by 600 other advocates from around the state. The women visited with members of Sen. Tom Coburn and Rep. Mary Fallin's staff, but got to speak personally with Senator Jim Inhofe.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wanna Win an Ipod and Help Save Lives?!

Wanna win this cool new You're the Cure Ipod shuffle?

Join us this Saturday, April 18th at the OKC Start! Heart Walk. While you are there stop by the advocacy table and sign up with You're the Cure, a network of people dedicated to finding cures for heart disease and stroke by contacting elected officials on behalf of the American Heart Association.

One lucky person will win this cool Ipod shuffle and another will win a $25 Itunes gift card.

We want to thank Eric Dawson with Apple for donating the Ipod and Daniel Gordan with Samuel Gordon jewelers for doing the engraving. We really appreciate your support!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Good Sam" is Passed by House!

Today the Oklahoma House passed a bill that will make it easy for all individuals to use an AED if they see someone suffering a heart attack. The so called "Good Samaritan" bill will remove liability from people who use an Automated External Defibrillator. It was passed 98-0!

We want to encourage everyone to use an AED if they feel someone’s life is in jeopardy from heart failure. Current AEDs are so easy to use that no expert training is required. This bill has already been passed by the Senate and will now head to the Governor’s desk for approval. Thanks to all the You're the Cure advocates who took action on this issue.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Putnam School Board to Purchase 78 AEDs!

The Putnam School Board voted to to buy 78 Automated External Defibrillators at a recent meeting. An Excerpt from their newsletter:

The board on Monday night approved the use of $123,810 in MAPS for Kids fundsfor purchase of 78 automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

An AED is a portable device used to restore normal heart rhythm to patients incardiac arrest. It automatically analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm and provides a shockif one is needed to restore a normal heartbeat.

While Putnam City has 27 schools, the district is seeking to purchase 78 AEDs sothat larger schools will have several AEDs. By putting AEDs in different parts of largeschool, an AED will always be close by should it be needed. There will also beadditional AEDs that can travel with teams and groups attending off-campus events.

An Oklahoma law passed in April 2008 requires that every school have AEDs if federal funds or donations from private organizations make it possible. Whilea few district schools have received AEDS through donation, the district wishesto use MAPS for Kids funds to purchase adequate numbers of AEDs for every schoolin the district.

The AEDs will be the same brand and model so that training andreplacement of batteries and supplies can be standard throughout the district.

Smoke-Free Task Force Passes Committee

A bill that will create a "Smoke-Free" task force passed out of a House committee yesterday afternoon. This measure will allow the state to study smoke-free air laws and their benefits.

Secondhand smoke is a major risk factor for heart disease and kills 53,000 non-smoking Americans a year. A recent U.S. Surgeon General's report concluded that there is no risk free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that secondhand smoke has an immediate and adverse effect on the cardiovascular system. The study went on to say that separate seating areas and air ventilation systems cannot eliminate the health threat, and that smoke free environments are the only protection against the harmful effects of secondhand smoke

Thursday, April 2, 2009

FDA Tobacco Bill Passes the US House

Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted 298-112 to allow the FDA to regulate the tobacco industry. You can read the AP story here.

You can view the roll call on the final vote here. I want to encourage all You're the Cure advocates to take the time to thank their Representative if they voted in favor of this bill.

Below is the statement from the American Heart Association's CEO, Nancy Brown.

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that has been a high priority of the American Heart Association for many years. By a vote of 298-112, the House approved the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (“FDA tobacco bill”). This bill gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing and advertising of tobacco products. Its passage is a great victory for AHA and our volunteers across the country who, together with our friends at the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, has been working tirelessly to urge members of Congress to pass this landmark public health legislation.

The bill will fundamentally curtail Big Tobacco’s ability to target kids -- including banning candy flavored cigarettes; restricting advertising in convenience stores and in magazines widely read by youth; banning advertising near schools; and providing stronger regulation prohibiting sales to minors. Further, it will mandate large, meaningful warning labels, ban misleading terms such as “light” and “low,” and allow the FDA to review health claims made by manufacturers. The bill also provides the FDA with the authority to require manufacturers to remove dangerous additives in cigarettes, and prevents tobacco companies from spiking nicotine levels. Each day, about 3,500 children smoke their first cigarette and this legislation will help reduce youth smoking and smoking-related illnesses. We all know too well the human and economic toll of tobacco – tobacco-related cardiovascular disease alone claims around 150,000 lives every year.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act enjoys broad support by the public health community, the Administration and the public. Over 1,000 groups in Washington, DC and across the country have joined the AHA and others in supporting the bill. In advance of today’s vote, President Obama released an official White House statement expressing support for the bill. HHS Secretary Nominee Kathleen Sebelius also expressed her support for the FDA bill at her Senate confirmation hearing earlier this week. The legislation has been endorsed by former HHS Secretaries Donna Shalala and Tommy Thompson; former Surgeons General Richard Carmona and David Satcher; former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Julie Gerberding. Polling has consistently demonstrated broad public support for the bill regardless of favored political party, political philosophy or geographic region.

I want to personally express my thanks and congratulations to our AHA volunteers and staff who have been working literally for years to provide the FDA with this long-overdue clear authority to regulate tobacco products. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to my predecessor Cass Wheeler, who was a passionate leader in tobacco control for many years and to our close colleagues at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

And while it is reassuring to see this strong support coming out of the House, our attention now must turn to the U.S. Senate where we expect the bill to be re-introduced by Senator Kennedy (D-MA) in the near future. We are bolstered by the fact that last year we had 60 Senate sponsors of the bill, including Majority Leader Reid. So while there has been some turnover in the Senate since then, we believe that there is still very strong support for the legislation and we look forward to working with our Senate champions to move the bill to the President’s desk.

With today’s vote, we have made a significant step toward passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which will have a dramatic impact on saving lives and advancing the mission of the American Heart Association. Please check out this AHA mention in the AP story attached.

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