Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thanks from the Bottom of Our Hearts!

Thanks for all YOU Give

Hello! I'm Anne Simaytis, your new Regional Grassroots Advocacy Director for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Thank you for your continued involvement in the You're the Cure Network! It's my job to make it easy for you to communicate with your legislators and keep you up to speed on our heart-healthy legislative priorities. Together we can make Illinois a healthier place to live!

This holiday season, I'd like to thank YOU on behalf of all of us who work here at the American Heart Association, for all you do as a You're the Cure advocate to support policies to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. We can't spell CURE, without "U"!

This year we've fought together to keep all Illinois workers protected from secondhand smoke. We worked with partners throughout the state to improve emergency medical response and treatment of deadly heart attacks and strokes. We advocated for quality physical education in Illinois' schools and we supported innovative proposals enabling recipients to use their food stamp cards to purchase food at farmers markets and other non-traditional retailers of fresh produce. We worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health to enact a law which will allow them to participate in research studies by sharing data they collect with researchers, while at the same time protecting individuals' private health information. And we led an effort to clarify a previously enacted law requiring AEDs in athletic facilities.

We know that we could not have accomplished this without you! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your hard work to let policymakers know that you care about making Illinois a Heart-Healthy state.

I look forward to meeting and working with some of you during the upcoming 2011 legislative session. We'll have many opportunities for you to make healthy hearts a priority by taking action. Stay tuned for upcoming action alerts from the You're the Cure network!

Thank you for your continued support of the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association! You do make a difference. You're The Cure!

Friday, December 10, 2010

AHA Statement on Surgeon General's tobacco report

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown says U.S. Surgeon General Report Stresses Importance of Cessation Strategies to Reduce Tobacco’s Deadly Toll

The U.S. Surgeon General’s report, “How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease,” sheds new light on the damaging effects of tobacco use on the health of all Americans. This comprehensive scientific report shows that even brief exposure to tobacco smoke can trigger acute cardiac events and potential sudden death. The evidence clearly states that tobacco products are lethal weapons capable of shortening the lifespan of smokers and nonsmokers alike. However, tobacco companies will stop at nothing to addict a new generation of smokers. They are ramping up efforts to fight regulations that restrict marketing campaigns and the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products and designing new cigarettes to make them more addictive. This report provides more ammunition to fight their deceptive and deadly campaign.

We strongly believe the findings will support implementation of new federal tobacco regulations, including the development of graphic warning labels for cigarette packages. We also urge state officials to fund smoking prevention and cessation programs at CDC recommended levels, enact strong smoke-free policies and boost tobacco excise taxes. Policymakers must not allow complacency to rule in the fight against tobacco. Bold, aggressive measures are needed to save lives, reduce the burden of disease and improve quality of life.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

29 and holding: Illinois' health ranking no better, no worse

This article appeared in The News-Gazette on 12/8/2010 reported by Deb Pressey.

In a new report evaluating each state’s healthiness, Illinois lands right about in the middle as the 29th healthiest state in the union.

That’s the same ranking the state held last year, so we didn't get any worse but we didn't improve, either.

The report, entitled America’s Health Rankings, is done annually by United Health Foundation. It identifies national trends and also some state-specific strengths and challenges.

For 2010, Vermont was ranked the healthiest state, followed by Massachusetts, and Mississippi came in last.

Among the encouraging notes in this year's report: America’s violent crime, infectious disease, cardiovascular deaths and preventable hospitalizations all declined.

Some alarming national trends pointing to not enough people getting the message about quitting smoking, eating healthier and exercising:

— Obesity has risen 132 percent from 11.6 percent of the population in 1990 to 26.9 percent this year.
— Tobacco use is at a 21-year low, but it’s still unacceptably high.
— The number of adults with diabetes is up 19 percent over 2005.
— Last year’s one percent improvement in health nationally is better than the previous decade, but it’s still falling short of the gains in better health that were occurring in the 1990s.
— There has been a steady increase in the number of children living in poverty since 2007, to 20.7 percent this year, hindering the ability to maintain a healthy population.

Here is some information from the Illinois state report:
Illinois’ health strengths include a low occupational fatalities rate at 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers, ready access to early prenatal care with 86.0 percent of pregnant women receiving prenatal care during the first trimester, ready availability of primary care physicians with 129.5 primary care physicians per 100,000 population and a high rate of high school graduation with 79.5 percent of incoming ninth graders who graduate within four years.

Illinois’ challenges include a high prevalence of binge drinking at 18.5 percent of the population, a high rate of preventable hospitalizations with 81.1 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, high levels of air pollution at 12.5 micrograms of fine particulate per cubic meter and a high violent crime rate at 497 offenses per 100,000 population.

Illinois' significant changes in the past year:
— In the past year, the prevalence of smoking decreased from 21.3 percent to 18.5 percent of the population.
— In the past year, public health funding increased from $55 to $62 per person.
— In the past 10 years, the prevalence of obesity increased from 20.9 percent to 27.3 percent of the population.
— Since 1990, the rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease decreased from 431.7 to 284.7 deaths per 100,000 population.

To read the complete report for Illinois, click here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Child Nutrition Act Passes

Great news! The House of Representatives just passed the Child Nutrition Act, by a vote of 264 to 157! This action by the House completes Congress' work on the bill and sends it to the President's desk to be signed into law.

The American Heart Association owes you a big THANK YOU. Thanks to the support of you and your fellow advocates, over 25,000 emails, phone calls, and petitions, were sent to Members of Congress to push for action on the Child Nutrition Act. We can all be proud that the final bill contains provisions that will help ensure a healthier school environment for our kids, including removing junk foods from schools, strengthening school wellness policies and increasing funding for more nutritious school lunches.

Together, we will build on this progress as we continue our fight for healthy hearts for our kids.

To see how your Representative voted, click here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Take Immediate Action to Protect Illinois Smoke-Free Air


Its getting hot in Springfield! The casino industry is at it again! House Bill 1850 passed out of the Illinois House of Representatives Executive Committee earlier today over the opposition of public health advocates. This is yet another attempt by the casino industry to ram through legislation allowing smoking in Illinois casinos.

Please tell your Representative to vote "NO" on House Bill 1850!

With your help, we managed to slow down their earlier attempt to pass House Bill 1846. Now, they're trying to push through House Bill 1850, another proposal which would be harmful to the health of Illinois casino workers and casino patrons alike. We fear that if a bill to exempt casinos passes the Illinois legislature, it could open the floodgates to other exemptions, such as bars, private clubs, restaurants, leading to the unraveling of our Smoke-Free law.

Please tell your Representative to vote "NO" on House Bill 1850!

We need your help today. This bill could be called for a vote as early as Tuesday, November 30.

Thank you again for all you have done and continue to do to support our policy and advocacy efforts!

Monday, November 22, 2010

See it, Print it, Send it. Protect Smoke-Free Illinois

Dear Advocates,

As you may know, the Illinois General Assembly convened for their fall Veto Session last week. Usually veto session in Springfield is uneventful. But last week we saw the casino gaming industry flex its muscles at the Capitol, ramming House Bill 1846 through the House Executive Committee. This cynical proposal would allow casinos to ignore smoke-free protections that apply to every other public and work place in our state.

Clearly, allowing smoking in casinos would harm the health of workers and patrons alike and would make casinos all but off limits to customers with cardiovascular problems. But by opening up the law to exemptions, House Bill 1846 could also lead to an unraveling of the overwhelmingly popular and effective Smokefree Illinois Act.

With the help of advocates who took action on our alert last week, we managed to win a small battle by keeping the legislation from a final vote by the full House of Representatives! There is no question that having time to debate this measure in the light of day clearly benefits public health over casino avarice. But the war continues, and the bill could be voted on by the full House as soon as the legislature returns after Thanksgiving. We hope we can continue to count on your help!

Please follow the steps below to ask your legislators to keep Illinois smoke-free.

See it! Here is a link to a recent letter to the editor from one of our volunteers: View AHA Letter to the Editor

Print it! And please write a personal note to your Illinois State Representative suggesting they read the letter from the paper. Don't forget to tell your state representative:"Vote NO on House Bill 1846 to keep Illinois 100% Smoke-Free to protect ALL workers and patrons!"

Mail it! Please fax or mail your note and a copy of the letter to the editor to your state representative. Follow the link below to find your State Representative's contact information :

BE COUNTED! Click Here if You Completed This Activity.

Any potential weakening of the smoke-free law would once again put Illinois citizens at a higher-risk of heart disease and other chronic health conditions. If you haven't already, remember to contact your representative by following the link below.

Tell your Representative to vote "NO" on House Bill 1846!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Letters: No exemptions from smoke-free law

This letter appeared in The State-Journal Register on Nov. 19.

Illinois is a smoke-free state, meaning smoking is not allowed in public places, including casinos. Unfortunately, earlier this week an Illinois House of Representatives committee quietly rushed through House Bill 1846, allowing smoking in casinos by exempting them from our smoke-free law.

If Illinois begins to exempt some public places from the smoke-free law, where do we draw the line? Doesn’t every Illinois worker deserve to work in a safe and healthy environment, free of toxins such as secondhand smoke? What about the nonsmokers who would like to enjoy a night at the casino?

The American Heart Association strongly opposes this cynical attack by the gaming industry on a popular and effective public health measure. The casinos are pleading poverty, but while it has yet to be proven that the smoke-free laws have any significant impact on a casino’s bottom line, there is no question that secondhand smoke is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In fact, even a few minutes in a smoky environment can cause a heart attack.

Please ask your state representative to “double down” on your health by voting “no” on House Bill 1846. It is time for the casino industry to consider the health of their workers and patrons and to fold their hand. Illinois’ casino workers and patrons are best served if we keep our smoke-free law intact!

Kathleen L. Grady, PhD, APN,FAAN
Associate professorFeinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University Evanston

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your Immediate Action Needed to Protect Illinois' Smoke-Free Law!


In a surprising turn of events, House Bill 1846 passed out of the Illinois House of Representatives Executive Committee yesterday. This bill would allow smoking in Illinois casinos until surrounding states pass smoke free laws.

This move is a devastating blow to Illinois casino workers who would be forced to breathe smoke-filled air within their workplace and to casino patrons who would also be subjected to secondhand smoke. We fear that if a bill to exempt casinos passes the Illinois legislature, it could open the floodgates to other exemptions, such as bars, private clubs, restaurants, leading to the unraveling of our Smoke-Free law.

This bill could be called for a vote as early as TODAY - November 17.

Thank you again for all you have done and continue to do to support advocacy efforts in Illinois and nationwide.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!

The American Heart Association would like to thank all our military service men and women this Veterans Day. And to all heart attack and stroke survivors and families who've fought their own battles and persevered, we salute you as well!
*Remember to tell your friends and family to join our army of advocates at this Veteran's day and urge them to take action in the fight to find a cure and build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
We can't spell CURE, without "U"! Join You're the Cure today! This group of volunteers contacts their elected officials to help pass important heart-healthy policies in their state and across the nation. Once you’re a part of You’re the Cure, you’ll receive e-mails that guide you on how to take action – from clicking on an alert that you can personalize and send to your lawmakers to talking points on what to say when making a call to a district office or visiting a lawmaker on legislation affecting heart or stroke issues. It’s a great resource to keep you up to speed with state and federal health legislation and the best part is, we offer it as a free service to the public.
Find us on Facebook: Join our page “You’re the Cure: Midwest Clicks for Hearts” at and make sure all your friends and family know you care about advocating for heart issues on Facebook! Our page has posts from all the states in our affiliate and highlights successes and opportunities in advocacy for heart and stroke issues. (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, SD, WI)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Did You Eat for Lunch Today? START! Eating Healthy Day - November 3, 2010

Heart disease directly or indirectly affects everyone in this country — your neighbors, your loved ones, you. Beating the No. 1 killer of Americans — heart disease — doesn’t have to mean radical fad diets and crazy exercise trends that are only temporary fixes. A long life of heart health is about taking small steps each day to change how you eat and live. As those small steps add up, one day you will realize you’ve changed your life — and perhaps the lives of those you love — for the better.

The American Heart Association has started a new campaign to encourage good health called Start! Eating Healthy Day on November 3, 2010. The American Heart Association encourages everyone to choose a variety of healthy foods (in the right amounts of course) in order to cut down on heart disease. There's also tips for businesses who want to help their employees to improve their heart health.

Learn more about Eating Right here and follow the link below for some great resources to share with friends and family:

Resources for National START! Eating Healthy Day

Friday, October 29, 2010

In My View: Milk change only part of obesity fight

Posted Oct 09, 2010 @ 12:04 AM

It is amazing, this furor over a little spilt (chocolate) milk!
Hazel Dell Elementary School, its principal, Mike Grossen, and its staff are to be applauded for the many, many steps they are taking to improve the health, and ultimately the lives, of their students. The CATCH program (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) is, with the help of the genH (generation Healthy!) Coalition, well implemented at this school. Hazel Dell Elementary has instituted a number of measures designed to improve the nourishment their students receive during school hours, increase the quantity and quality of physical activity in which students participate, and to educate and empower students to make their own best, lifelong choices regarding their health.

These measures are to be commended. We are in the midst of a health crisis — a “national catastrophe,” former Surgeon General Steven Galson proclaimed. Our children are consuming massive quantities of empty, unnecessary calories. The American Dietetic Association, just this week, released its findings: Almost 40 percent of a typical child’s calorie consumption comes from solid fat and added sugars. These added sugars are particularly damaging, accelerating atherosclerosis and early cardiovascular disease. Reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is one critical step in reducing cardiovascular risk, decreasing the incidence of childhood obesity, and improving the overall health of this nation’s children.

Although removal of chocolate milk from the daily menu is a small piece of the overall “solution puzzle,” it is an important piece, as is Hazel Dell’s change to whole-grain breads and pastas, and the increase in daily physical activity the school has implemented. And these changes are good not only for the children’s health, but also for the school’s academic bottom line. Numerous studies show that students who are physically active and well-nourished with a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and lean protein perform better in school, both socially and academically.

Unfortunately, despite the massive media attention the topic of childhood obesity has received in the last year, most Americans do not yet fully grasp or appreciate the gravity of the situation. Obesity is the gateway to a host of health problems — diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, to name a few — and adds hundreds of billions of dollars annually to America’s health care bill. Additionally, this generation will be the first to live less long than their parents. They will face the crippling consequences of their obesity in their 20s, 30s and 40s — what should otherwise be the most productive years of their lives. The potential impact on our labor force alone should prompt immediate action on the part of our communities and businesses.

It is incumbent upon us all — physicians, educators, parents, business and government — to take immediate and definitive steps, no matter how small, to curb this epidemic. Removal of chocolate milk, a source of non-nutritive and unnecessary calories (four to five teaspoons of added sugar, generally) from a school’s breakfast and lunch menu is one such small, definitive step. Add this to the other small, definitive steps Hazel Dell Elementary has made, we will find that the children suddenly are making great strides in the right direction.

Dr. Jeff Goldstein is a cardiologist at Prairie Heart Institute and a volunteer with the American Heart Association.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vote for Heart Health in Illinois

In less than two weeks, Americans will go to the polls and make important decisions for the future of Illinois and our country. Follow the link below to take action and tell legislators to vote for heart health year round: Vote for Heart Health in Illinois

As a You're the Cure advocate, you already know the power of your voice when it comes to communicating with decision-makers about important policy issues that help us build healthier lives free from cardiovascular disease and stroke. Be sure to turn out to the polls this November and remember to mark your own ballot for heart health by taking the My Life Check assessment at

The fact is that heart disease is the top killer in our state and doesn't matter your gender, race, or what party you vote for. That's why we continue to promote healthy eating and exercise in our schools and communities, reduce tobacco use and youth access, and improve healthcare services so they are accessible and affordable. Thank you again for all you continue to do to advocate for a heart healthy policies in Illinois.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

All hands - - only hands - - on deck

Chicago Sun-Times: October 13, 2010,FIT-News-FAid13a.article

All hands -- only hands -- on deck
AHA recommends chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth

By Carol Slezak

Imagine that you have watched someone collapse, and you want to administer CPR. Should you perform chest compression alone, or chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?

This topic has generated a fair amount of debate in recent years. The American Heart Association, which will release new CPR guidelines Monday, addressed it in a 2008 advisory statement, indicating that chest compression, also called hands-only CPR, was on par with chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth. The new guidelines will reinforce this position.

"Hands-only CPR is basically what the AHA teaches now," said Dr. Stephen Archer, chief of cardiology at the University of Chicago Medical Center and president of the AHA's Metro Chicago board of directors.

The AHA sums up its position on its website (
When an adult suddenly collapses, trained or untrained bystanders should:
1. Call 911
2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest

There are two primary reasons for the change: First, the AHA believes that CPR is more likely to be performed if hands-only is an option, because people don't like performing mouth-to-mouth on strangers. Second, multiple studies, including one published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, have shown hands-only CPR to be equally or more effective than compression plus mouth-to-mouth.

"Why is hands-only more effective?" Archer said. "It could be because when you stop pressing on the chest to give mouth-to-mouth, you actually stop pressing a lot longer than you would expect. And chest compression is more important [than getting oxygen into the lungs]. You have to keep the blood flowing to the brain. It's the relative value of oxygen to the lungs versus the relative value of keeping the blood moving."
Archer noted that the hands-only guidelines are meant for adults.

"When children need resuscitation, it often is respiratory -- drowning or swallowing," he said. "For children, rescue breathing [mouth-to-mouth] can have some value."

Not everyone has completely embraced the hands-only guidelines. The American Red Cross, for instance, believes that oxygen is an important component of CPR. But the Red Cross recognizes that hands-only CPR has its place.

"We lean toward the fact that you need to put oxygen into your system to help keep your body and organs alive," said Theresa Rees, manager of instruction and development for the Red Cross of Greater Chicago. "However, if you have never been trained to do this, hands-only CPR is better than nothing."

The AHA cautions that CPR is not intended to take the place of professional medical care.

"It's an important breakthrough," Archer said. "But it's important to note that this does not mean that paramedics, etc., would stop delivering advanced cardiac life support. This is for when you come across someone who is down on the ground. This is what we teach. If you see a person fall, call 911 and push hard and fast in the middle of the chest."

Friday, October 8, 2010

A little heart makes a big impact

A story on a Heart Walk family from Medill Reports:

by Anna Lempereur
Oct 07, 2010

Colton Sullivan is a typical 6 year old who enjoys splashing through puddles, rolling in mud and digging for worms. As he ran around the field and wrestled with his brothers, Sam, 7, and Max, 3, you would never guess he had five heart surgeries and has his very own pacemaker.

Because of other birth defects, he has had four lung surgeries, two brain surgeries and two stomach surgeries. He has been admitted to the hospital more than 100 times and spent a total of two years of his life in the hospital.

Colton, of Shorewood, a small town just west of Joliet, was born seven weeks early with three different congenital heart defects: ventricular septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus and transposition of the great arteries, according to his mother Andrea Sullivan, 31.

Cardiac pediatric nurse practitioner Patricia Stapleton at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago said ventricular septal defect and patent ductus arteriosus are among the most common congenital heart defects.

She said a child has a less than one percent chance of being born with congenital heart disease.

Stapleton said the cause of the disease is unknown, but it could sometimes be associated with genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Di George syndrome and Marfan syndrome.

“Children with some genetic defects have a higher incidence of congenital heart disease than the general population,” she said.

Stapleton said screening could sometimes be done before the baby is born to detect congenital heart disease, allowing time to know that surgery and intensive care may be needed.

Sullivan said there was no determination in the cause of Colton’s heart disease. She said he had no risk factors, no family history and no exposures.

“Advances in medicine and support from the heart association has really gotten Colton to where he is today. He’s a thriving, active, very healthy 6-year-old,” Sullivan said.

Colton and his family are members of Mended Little Hearts, an organization that unites families who have been impacted by congenital heart defects.

Mended Little Hearts Group Coordinator Jaime Olsen said she started the Chicago group in 2007 after her son, Tyler, was born with congenital heart defects and had open-heart surgery at 2 months old.

“The fear that you have as a mother, that your child has to have open-heart surgery to fix his heart is devastating…the emotions of just giving birth to a child and being just completely blind-sided by this,” Olsen said.

She said the Sullivans have been very active in the congenital hearts defects world.

“If you know Colton, you are a blessed person. He’s an amazing little boy and his family has such great strength. Colton is lucky to have the parents that he has,” Olsen said.

Sullivan said Colton’s most recent surgery was 11 weeks ago.

She said her son has been walking around showing everyone his scar from his recent surgery and his new pacemaker.“He’s as proud of it as can be. He’s not afraid to tell everybody, ‘This is my battle wound!’ One of these days I’m waiting to hear him telling his friends it’s a shark bite or something like that.”

Thursday, September 30, 2010

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown Says House Passage of the HEART for Women Act is an Important Stand in Support of Women's Health

Washington, DC (September 30, 2010) - The U. S. House of Representatives has taken an important stand in support of women’s health with the passage of the Heart Disease Education, Analysis and Research and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act. This legislative win will help make meaningful advancements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD)—the leading killer of American women. Provisions include greater oversight of Food and Drug Administration requirements for reporting sex and race-based data about new medicines and devices and the expansion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISEWOMAN screening program for low-income, uninsured and underinsured women.

Although we still have more work to do to achieve equity in health care and health status for women, this effort sets the stage to better identify and address women’s unique cardiovascular health needs. With more than one in three deaths among American women caused by CVD, we must continue to make strong efforts to ensure this measure is passed into law.

We commend the House for addressing women’s health needs and Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) for their leadership and efforts to move the HEART for Women Act forward.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

FYI: Cook Co.'s Alliance for Healthy and Active Communities!

Information from the Cook County Department of Public Health:

Many of the places we live, work and play promote increased food intake, unhealthy foods or physical inactivity. Here’s how you can change that and get involved.

Join the Alliance for Healthy and Active Communities to receive up-to-date information. As an Alliance member, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and work with a vast array of organizations, including healthcare, community-based, governmental, school and faith groups to ‘make the healthy choice the easy choice.’ Visit and click Join the Network.

The next quarterly meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 23rd from 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM at the Oak Park Library (834 Lake St., Oak Park). Linda Shak of the Prevention Institute is the guest speaker and will present on how community health can be transformed through environmental and policy change. Click here to register.

Attend a regional forum and help shape a healthier future for Illinois. Express your ideas for what should be included in a state-wide plan for tackling obesity. Also, learn more about available funding. Regional meetings will be held October 1, 8 and 15 (9 a.m. –12:30 p.m.) in the West, North and South suburban Cook County regions, respectively. Click here to register.

Begin preparing now to apply for the Model Communities Grant. The Request for Proposals (RFP) will be released in early November. Up to $4 million will be awarded to applicants who demonstrate readiness to make changes in their communities that support residents in efforts to live healthy, active lives. To learn more about trainings and other actions you can take now, contact the CPPW office and ask for a regional manager at 708-524-5156 or via e-mail at

Thank Your Legislators for Protecting Public Health Funding

This week, by a vote or 46 to 52, an amendment that proposed cutting billions of dollars in critical disease prevention and public health funding was defeated in the U.S. Senate!

Please send a quick note of thanks to your Senator(s) by following the link below:

Thank Your Legislators for Protecting Public Health Funding

By defeating the amendment and preserving this funding, the Prevention and Public Health Fund will continue to be used for meaningful public health efforts in communities across the country. Currently, the Fund supports efforts to increase tobacco control, implement tobacco cessation services, combat obesity, and promote better nutrition and physical activity. Prevention is paramount in our fight against heart disease and stroke- and we should be proud of our Senators who stood up to protect this vital funding.

Thank Your Legislators for Protecting Public Health Funding

Thank you for joining us in thanking your U.S. Senators for their efforts. We can't spell CURE, without "U".

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No tobacco product is safe to consume

From the Chicago Sun Times:,CST-NWS-smoke15.article

September 15, 2010
Smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco and snuff, are not safe or effective alternatives for people who want to quit smoking, says a new policy statement issued by the American Heart Association.

"No tobacco product is safe to consume," said Mariann Piano, a professor in the biobehavioral health science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago and lead writer of the statement.

Smokeless tobacco products are addictive and may also increase the risk of fatal heart attack, fatal stroke and certain cancers, according to the statement published online in the journal Circulation.

Gannett News Service

Social media account holders –The American Heart Association just released a policy statement on smokeless tobacco.

Learn more about AHA resources to help you quit:

Here are some social media messages you can use on your accounts online to help us spread the word about these products as well as links to learn more about resources to help you quit:


Smokeless tobacco products not a safe option, won’t help smokers quit·

An est. 7% of adults uses smokeless tobacco. AHA advises against smokeless tobacco products to quit smoking.·
To help Americans quit smoking, AHA supports tobacco excise taxes to fund prevention & cessation programs


1. AHA Policy Statement: Smokeless tobacco products should not be used as an alternative to cigarettes or for smoking cessation due to the risk of addiction and return to smoking.LINK:

2. Smokeless tobacco products such as dry and moist snuff as well as chewing tobacco may also increase the risk of fatal heart attack, fatal stroke and certain cancers, according to a new study.LINK:

3. An estimated 7 percent of adults use smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco should not be used for smoking cessation because long-term use moderately increases the risk of a fatal heart attack, fatal stroke and certain cancers. Check out the American Heart Associations’ resources to help you kick the habit!LINK:

4. To help Americans quit smoking, AHA supports substantially increasing excise taxes on all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco to help fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs.LINK:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Youth heart screenings offer reassurance for parents

This article is from Chicago Tribune: September 10, 2010:,0,3315955.story

Youth heart screenings offer reassurance for parents
By Karen Ann Cullotta, Special to the Tribune

Clutching her security blanket and whimpering softly, 5-year-old Erika Roemisch was clearly skeptical of the doctor's promises that the heart screening she was about to get would be perfectly painless.

Within seconds, fuzzy, monochromatic images from an ultrasound of Erika's healthy heart were beamed up to the echocardiogram monitor, and the cardiologist had good news for Erika's pediatrician father, Dr. Frank Roemisch.

"Screenings make sense when they're done by someone like a cardiologist, who knows how to interpret the results," said Roemisch, a Gurnee resident.

Roemisch was among dozens of parents who brought their children to the Advocate Condell Centre Club in Libertyville recently for a pair of noninvasive tests aimed at detecting hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

As the leading cause of sudden cardiac death, HCM captured the nation's attention in January when the condition was linked to the deaths of both Chicago Bears defensive end Gaines Adams, 26, and University of Southern Indiana basketball player Jeron Lewis, 21.

Dr. Joel Okner, a Vernon Hills-based cardiologist who conducted the Condell screening with his colleague, psychologist Jeremy Clorfene, said many such deaths can be prevented by providing cardiac screenings for all children — athletes, and nonathletes alike — aimed at detecting what he calls a "ticking time bomb."

A genetic condition in which the heart muscle becomes severely thickened, HCM can cause a rapid rhythm called ventricular tachycardia, which, if the heart is not defibrillated within minutes, can be fatal.

Despite some critics' claims that rising health care costs and the potential for false-positive tests make universal cardiac screenings an unrealistic goal, Okner remains undeterred in his mission.

While the recent screening of 150 children in Libertyville did not detect any potential cases of HCM, Okner said out of every 500 screenings his team performs, they typically find one person who needs further evaluation for HCM.

"But if in two years we can save the lives of two children, it's worth it," Okner said. "It makes you ask, 'How do you not test children for this?'"

Dr. Robert Bonow, past president of the American Heart Association and the chief of cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, said the universal cardiac screenings conducted in European nations like France and Italy would be nearly impossible to replicate in the U.S., however.

"We have to consider the implications of these screenings, when we already have a health care system overburdened by costs," Bonow said. "There's nothing wrong with voluntary efforts like this. If you're the family that experiences the tragedy, it's worth it. But I think we need to ask ourselves, 'Can our system afford this right now?'"

A study by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers, whose results were released this year, found that giving young athletes electrocardiogram tests could be a cost-effective way to identify those who are at-risk. Okner said his method, of using both an EKG and an ultrasound test, is more effective in detecting HCM — but also more expensive.

Though the screenings using both methods were offered the Libertyville event for a discounted $55, such tests can cost hundreds of dollars and are not typically covered by insurance. And, as Roemisch, the Gurnee pediatrician, noted: "The problem is, there are still a lot of parents out there who can't afford to pay even $55."

Kurt Gibson, associate executive director of the Illinois High School Association, said officials recommend that all student athletes have a record of a pre-participation sports physical exam on file at their school. But the association has no specific policy regarding heart screenings.

"We would never discourage any parent from getting their student athlete an EKG or echocardiogram, but it is clearly not a requirement," Gibson said.

At John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, head athletic trainer Hal Hilmer said that while he is aware of other school districts across the U.S. offering athletes free cardiac screenings, he has not heard concerns about the issue from any local parents.

"There are booster clubs in the U.S. raising money for these screenings, but I've also heard that sometimes the tests are problematic, with false-positives that cause a lot of worry," Hilmer said. "Heart conditions in athletes are something you don't want to miss. But, right now, the funding is not out there, and the onus is back on the parents."

Waukegan parent Judy Holmes said she did not hesitate to bring her son Andrew, 15, a football and basketball player at Mundelein's Carmel Catholic High School, to the recent screenings at Condell.

"His athletic trainer told us about the screenings, and he highly recommended it," Holmes said. "Andrew just had a sports physical, but I still felt like, 'What if I don't do it, and something happens?' It was the safe thing to do, but I am surprised and disappointed to know this is not covered by insurance like other preventive tests, like my annual mammogram."

Okner and Clorfene will conduct cardiac screenings 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the Gurnee Centre Club, 1405 Hunt Club Road, Gurnee. For details, call 847-775-0015.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Online report highlights 2009-10 advocacy victories

The AHA Office of Advocacy’s first-ever online annual report highlights federal, state and local policy victories from the 2009-10 fiscal year. The report, “Progress in Policy,” summarizes the association’s work to advance legislative and regulatory issues including access to care, health reform, research and prevention funding, tobacco control, emergency cardiovascular care and stroke systems of care.

The articles, videos and photos in this interactive report offer just a snapshot of the remarkable work of our You’re the Cure advocates, volunteers and staff. We owe each of these successes to their tireless dedication and efforts.

See the report at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Live Better with Life's Simple 7

Did you know that the American Heart Association has developed a way to help you take control of your heart health?

All you need is a goal, a plan and a desire to live better. The American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 tool has seven steps you can take to improve your health. Visit and follow the link below to let your legislators know about this important tool:

Learn about the seven factors that can lead to a healthy heart and how you can:

-Get Active
-Eat Better
-Lose Weight
-Stop Smoking
-Control Cholesterol
-Manage Blood Pressure

These measures have one unique thing in common: any person can make these changes, the steps are not expensive to take and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference. This simple, seven step list has been developed to deliver on the hope we all have--to live a long, productive healthy life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

6-year-old's life saved by an angel among us

Article from Lincoln Daily News at
(Pictured Ethan and EMT Brenda McCallister)

[August 07, 2010] ATLANTA -- July 8 was anything but a typical summer evening at the Atlanta Ballpark. Ethan Vose, 6 years old, son of Brad and Heather Melton Vose of Atlanta, was playing with local children when he was struck in the chest with a baseball bat. He immediately fell to the ground.

Brenda McCallister, an EMT who was watching a baseball game, went up to Ethan and found that he was in full cardiac arrest. As 911 was called, McCallister had to perform CPR on Ethan.
Ethan and EMT Brenda McCallister

He was transported by ambulance to BroMenn Trauma Center in Normal, then life-flighted to Children's Hospital at St. Francis in Peoria. He was diagnosed with commotio cordis.
Commotio cordis typically involves young, predominantly male athletes, in which a sudden, blunt, non-penetrating and innocuous-appearing trauma to the anterior chest results in immediate cardiac arrest and can lead to sudden death from ventricular fibrillation.
The most important information the Voses would like to share with others is that Ethan's life was saved by the immediate start of CPR.

Survival after a commotion cordis event is still the exception. So often bystanders or emergency personnel delay CPR and immediate transport to the hospital because they underestimate the severity of the trauma or believe "the person got the wind knocked out of them." It is imperative to understand that survival is associated with effective CPR efforts that occur within one to three minutes of the collapse of the individual, which was done in Ethan's case.

The survival rate with commotio cordis is only 3 percent in cases when resuscitative efforts were delayed longer than three minutes. The survival rate is only 24 percent after effective CPR. McCallister saved Ethan's life in two minutes.

The Voses would like to publicly thank Brenda McCallister for saving their son's life, as well as thanking the pediatric cardiologists, nurses and staff on the intermediate care wing at Children's Hospital at St. Francis for the exceptional care Ethan received. They also thank friends and family for their continued prayers and support.

The family hopes that by sharing their story it will save another child's life.
[From Heather Vose]

Friday, July 23, 2010

Doctors study bypass of ER

From the Chicago Tribune:,0,6976536.story

For heart attacks, quick care at lab may save lives

By Maura Lerner and Josephine Marcotty, McClatchy/Tribune news

July 23, 2010


If you're having a heart attack, you may not need an emergency room at all, according to a new study.

Researchers found that patients receive faster care, and are more likely to survive, if an ambulance crew takes them straight to a specialized hospital "cath lab," where doctors can act quickly to open their blocked arteries.

So far, only a fraction of hospitals use this system, which relies on specially trained paramedics to diagnose heart attacks without emergency room staff.

But the study, led by Dr. Kenneth Baran, a heart specialist at United Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., suggests that the process can cut the time needed to treat the most dangerous heart attacks from an average of 81 minutes to 36 minutes, and vastly improve the chances of recovery.

"Our times were phenomenal," Baran said. In some cases, "we had patients in with their artery open in 20 minutes."

In the study, published in the July issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, Baran's team also found that patients who went directly to the catheter lab were less likely to die in the hospital (3.9 percent) than those who came through the emergency room (7.5 percent).

Experts say that the minutes after a heart attack are crucial because muscle starts to die when oxygen is cut off. If the blockage can be cleared within 60 minutes or so, the heart attack may cause little permanent damage, they say.

Despite the study results, some experts warn that certain patients might need extra testing to rule out pulmonary embolism or other conditions.

"You have to be careful if it's not straightforward," said Dr. Alice Jacobs, a cardiologist with the Boston Medical Center and an adviser to the American Heart Association.

At first, some cardiologists who perform the catheter procedures were skeptical, Baran said, worried that they would face more false alarms and have to act as both emergency-room doctor and heart specialist. But when the results were so positive, he said, they became more accepting.

Timing: Hospitals strive to treat a heart attack patient within 90 minutes of arrival — frequently with an inflatable catheter to open blockages. By taking patients directly to a "cath lab," many have cut that time in half.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Timely, Quality Care with AHA There

We hear all the time that elected leaders value the American Heart Association's efforts to pass heart healthy policies in our state and nation - a result of decades of service from committed volunteers, the solid-science supporting the AHA's policy positions and the critical work the AHA performs in diverse communities every day. Through the Get With The Guidelines® program, the AHA works closely with hospital professionals to improve heart disease and stroke patient care utilizing the most recent scientific guidelines. In fact, over 2.2 million Heart and Stroke patients have benefitted from Get With The Guidelines®!

Legislators need to become aware of this important work so they may fully understand the impact of the association's mission and appreciate the expertise the AHA may bring to important issues associated with delivering timely, quality healthcare.

Follow the link below to contact your legislator about the American Heart Association's efforts to improve care in your community:

Timely, Quality Care in Illinois

Lawmakers are confronted with making very tough decisions these days and they are looking for solid partners to craft smart solutions. The more leaders learn about the ground-breaking work the AHA is performing to improve patient outcomes, the more they will go to the AHA as a partner in identifying solutions to today's challenges. Sending your message today can make a real difference:

Timely, Quality Care in Illinois

We encourage you to learn more about the Get With The Guidelines® program of the American Heart Association.

Check-out which hospitals in your area are successfully using this program.

As always, we thank you for your active voice as a member of the You're the Cure grassroots network. We can't spell CURE, without "U".

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reading Food Nutrition Labels

Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you make healthier choices. Here are some tips for making the most of the information on the Nutrition Facts label:

Start here. Note the size of a single serving and how many servings are in the package.

Check total calories per serving. Look at the serving size and how many servings you’re really consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the Percent Daily Value (% DV).

Limit these nutrients. Remember, you need to limit your total fat to no more than 56–78 grams a day — including no more than 16 grams of saturated fat, less than two grams of trans fat, and less than 300 mg cholesterol (for a 2,000 calorie diet).

Get enough of these nutrients. Make sure you get 100 percent of the fiber, vitamins and other nutrients you need every day.

Quick guide to % DV. The % DV section tells you the percent of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat, cholesterol or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV — 5 percent or less is low. If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), seek foods with a higher % DV — 20 percent or more is high.

Here are more tips for getting as much health information as possible from the Nutrition Facts label:

-Remember that the information shown in these panels is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight. Find out your personal daily limits on My Fats Translator.

-In general, as you think about the amount of calories in a food per serving, remember that for a 2,000-calorie diet:
40 calories per serving is considered low;
100 calories per serving is considered moderate; and
400 calories or more per serving is considered high.

-There is no % DV shown for trans fat on the panel because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have enough scientific information to set this value. We recommend eating less than 20 calories or (less than two grams of trans fat) a day – that’s less than 1 percent of your total daily calories (for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet).

-When the Nutrition Facts panel says the food contains “0 g” of trans fat, it means the food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.

-When the Nutrition Facts label says a food contains “0 g” of trans fat, but includes “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list, it means the food contains trans fat, but less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving, you could quickly reach your daily limit of trans fat.

In addition to the Nutrition Facts label, a lot of foods today also come with nutrient content claims provided by the manufacturer. These claims are typically featured in ads for the foods or in the promotional copy on the food packages themselves. They are strictly defined by the FDA.

The chart below provides some of the most commonly used nutrient content claims, along with a detailed description of what the claim means.

If you can’t remember the definitions of all of the terms, don’t worry. You can use these general guidelines instead:

“Free” means a food has the least possible amount of the specified nutrient.
“Very Low” and “Low” means the food has a little more than foods labeled “Free.”
“Reduced” or “Less” mean the food has 25 percent less of a specific nutrient than the regular version of the food.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Website Educates Public on Healthcare Laws

As health care reform implementation moves forward, there are a number of new rules, programs, and resources rolling out that heart disease and stroke patients need to be informed about. A new insurance program created by the Affordable Care Act, called Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans, begins in many states starting July 1st. While the exact terms and conditions of the coverage will vary by state, this is an important option for uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions to explore. And to help consumers explore and better understand their health insurance options, both private and public, the Department of Health and Human Services is also launching their new consumer website,, on July 1st. This site will be a valuable resource to all Americans looking to determine what the new health care law means to them. Below are some sample social media messages to help spread the word.

Pre-Ex Plan Launch- link to

Today marks the beginning of a more affordable health care coverage option for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. Learn more about these new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans today.

Are you or a loved one uninsured and been denied insurance because of a pre-existing medical condition? If so, you may be eligible for a new program intended to make health care coverage affordable to you. Learn more …
Web Portal Launch- link to

Be an informed health insurance consumer. Visit the Department of Health and Human Services’ new site to learn about your options and protections under the new health care reform law.

Today, launched to help provide consumers with the information they need to better understand their health care coverage options. Visit the site today to learn what the new health care reform law means for you.

As a heart disease or stroke survivor, navigating your health care insurance options can be challenging. But a new online resource from the Dept. of Health and Human Services aims to make identifying your options easier. Check it out today!

Wondering what the new health care reform laws mean for you? Check out the Department of Health and Human Services’ new website for more information about the public and private health insurance programs and plans that may be available to you.

Pre-existing condition insurance plans will help uninsured heart disease and stroke patients attain health coverage.

AHA encourages heart disease and stroke patients to take advantage of Pre-existing condition insurance plans.

New insurance program provides temporary relief for uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions

@HHSGov launches aimed at providing helpful tools and resources to consumers

New @HHSGov health reform website will help consumers find options for insurance coverage-

Monday, June 21, 2010

Take the AHA’s online Healthy Kids Quiz and join our fight for healthier kids today!

Do you know how many kids are struggling with childhood obesity in the U.S.? Or what percentage of schools provide physical education? I think you’ll be shocked to learn the answers.

Take the AHA’s online Healthy Kids Quiz to test your knowledge about the health of our kids and to learn what you can do to make a difference:
Right now, Congress is working on the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization, which is a big opportunity to improve nutrition and physical activity in our nation’s schools. So, we must do our part to urge our legislators to act now and make the health of our kids a priority.

Take the quiz at, learn the facts, and help join the AHA’s fight for healthier kids today!
Share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, here are some suggested posts:
Facebook: link to
Do you know how many kids are considered obese in the U.S.? Or what percentage of schools provide daily physical education? Test your knowledge by taking the AHA’s Healthy Kids Quiz!

Knowledge is power! Take the AHA’s online Healthy Kids Quiz and join our fight for healthier kids today!

In just two minutes, you can find out how much you know about our kids’ health and what you can do to make a difference. Take the AHA’s Healthy Kids Quiz today!

Proper nutrition and regular physical education for our kids at school? Yes, please! Take the AHA’s Healthy Kids Quiz to learn more and to join our fight for healthier kids!

Twitter: link to

Knowledge is power! Take the AHA’s online Healthy Kids Quiz and join the fight for healthier kids today!

How much you know about our kids’ health and what you can do to make a difference? Take the AHA’s Healthy Kids Quiz!
Check out this great AHA quiz to test your knowledge about the health of our kids!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lend Your Voice to CPR & AED Awareness in June!

The sad truth is most people don’t survive a cardiac arrest. Getting people to act quickly in a cardiac arrest emergency is critical to a victim’s survival because time is not on their side. Four to six minutes is the window of opportunity for someone to act before it is too late, but fewer than one-third of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from someone nearby.

The American Heart Association wants more people to take action and help cardiac arrest victims. That’s why we’re challenging 1 million people to learn about CPR during National CPR & AED Awareness Week, June 1-7. by learning about Hands-Only CPR, playing Be the Beat to learn the correct rate of CPR compressions, or recording your CPR & AED training or the training you gave someone else.

Explore the site and be sure to get counted every time you train or train someone else. The counter will stay open throughout May and June, so don’t stop! Every training helps us create safer communities and save lives.

Here's some social media messages you can post to your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts to help spread the word:

The Amer Heart Assoc wants a million people to learn about CPR during #cprweek June 1-7. Find out how at
It’s #cprweek. Be one of a million. Take a class, watch a video, or play an online game to learn more about CPR and AEDs.
Learn about CPR and log your experiences at Our goal is to get a million people educated about CPR and AEDs. #cprweek
More than 92% of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital die from it. But you can help. #cprweek June 1-7.


· The American Heart Association wants one million teens and adults to learn about cardiopulmonary resuscitation during CPR Week, June 1-7. Our goal is to increase awareness about CPR and automated external defibrillator (AEDs) so that people will know what to do if someone suddenly collapses from cardiac arrest.


· It’s CPR Week! We’ve made learning the basics of CPR and how to use an AED fun and entertaining through interactive games, music and videos. Take an action and get counted toward our goal of getting 1 million teens and adults to learn about CPR.


· Take a class, watch a Hands-Only demonstration video, play our “Be the Beat” game or train on a CPR Anytime kit. Once you have learned about CPR, log your experience online! A real-time heat map will track the number of people who have taken action in communities nationwide.


General Post for Tuesday, June 1:

· CPR Week starts today! Our goal is to get a million teens and adults to learn about cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Will you help? Learn about CPR and log your activities online!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

It’s Crunch Time for Childhood Obesity…Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act This Year!

Today, our nation’s kids are struggling to maintain healthy lifestyles, complete with proper nutrition and physical activity. But through the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, Congress can be part of the solution. But we need your help to get the job done on the Child Nutrition Act this year and ensure that the final bill includes:
• Increased funding for the school meal programs to help improve nutrition standards;
• Restrictions on the junk food sold in cafeterias, snack shops, and vending machines (H.R.1324/S.934);
• Guidelines to strengthen local wellness policies that establish the nutrition and physical activity goals of school districts (H.R. 5090 and S.3126).

Take 3 important steps to ensure our nation's kids have healthier options in the cafeterias:

1. Follow the link below to send a message to your legislator:

2. Click on the image below to open, print, and fill out our "lunch tray petition" and fax it to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators today!

*Not sure who your legislators are or where to fax your message? No problem! Click "My Profile" when you log in to , which lists your legislators contact information including their picture. You can also click on "Information Resources" to find other elected officials in your area.

3. Tell Your Friends and Family to Take Action!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cigarette Buyers Pay Now Or YOU Pay Later!

Tobacco-related illnesses drain $4 billion annually from our state's economy. And every year taxpayers like you are on the hook for reimbursing billions in smoking-related healthcare costs through programs like Medicaid. Of course, the same taxpayers get soaked again when they have to cover their own skyrocketing health insurance premiums.

Please follow the link below to contact your legislators to ask them to make sure cigarette buyers pay their fair share of the cost associated with the use of that product. Urge them to increase our tobacco tax in Illinois by $1.

$1 Saves Cash and Lives in Illinois

Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease, and the American Heart Association urges the Illinois General Assembly to increase the state's cigarette tax by a dollar per pack as part of a responsible budget. Increasing our tobacco tax will bring in much-needed revenue while providing vital public health benefits.

Each year, smoking kills more than 16,500 Illinoisans. Yet 20 percent of our population smokes, and kids are still picking up this dangerous habit. Almost 9 percent of Illinois middle school children smoke. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, the single most effective measure to prevent kids from starting to smoke is to significantly increase the cost of a pack of cigarettes. Higher costs also compel current smokers to quit, particularly in a recession. This action will save more than 50,000 Illinois residents from premature smoking-related death and ultimately reduce our state's health care costs.

With our state in dire financial straits, now is the time. Send your message today!

$1 Saves Cash and Lives in Illinois

Thank you for your help on this issue.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thank Representative Biggert for Supporting FIT Kids

At the end of April, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FIT Kids Act and brought us another step closer to helping improve the health of our nation's kids. Before we turn our attention to continuing to advance the bill, help us thank Members of the House of Representatives for their action.

If you haven't done so yet, please follow the link below to thank Representative Biggert:
Thank Representative Biggert for Supporting FIT Kids

As you know, strong Physical Education (PE) programs in our nation's schools are an important part of teaching healthy lifestyle choices and curbing the rise in childhood obesity. However, very few students actually receive the regular PE they need for healthy bodies and minds.

The FIT Kids Act would help us take a step in the right direction by establishing a framework for schools to closely look at the quality and quantity of PE they are providing, and to supply parents with that information to better understand the PE their kids are receiving.

Thank Representative Biggert for Supporting FIT Kids

Thank you for your support on this important legislative issue.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

$1 Saves Cash and Lives in Illinois

Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease, and the American Heart Association urges the Illinois General Assembly to increase the state's cigarette tax by a dollar per pack as part of a responsible budget. Increasing our tobacco tax will bring in much-needed revenue while providing vital public health benefits. With our state in dire financial straits, now is the time.

Follow the link below to contact your legislators to urge them to increase our tobacco tax in Illinois by $1:

$1 Saves Cash and Lives for Illinois

Each year, smoking kills more than 16,500 Illinoisans. Yet 20 percent of our population smokes, and kids are still picking up this dangerous habit. Almost 9 percent of Illinois middle school children smoke. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, the single most effective measure to prevent kids from starting to smoke is to significantly increase the cost of a pack of cigarettes. Higher costs also compel current smokers to quit, particularly in a recession.

This action will save more than 50,000 Illinois residents from premature smoking-related death and ultimately reduce our state's health care costs. Tobacco-related illnesses drain $4 billion annually from our state's economy.

Send your message today!

$1 Saves Cash and Lives for Illinois

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Promote Health Research in Illinois

Illinois House Bill 5076 was developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and is supported by a number of public health advocacy organizations as well as academic research institutions. If enacted, the bill will promote critically-important academic research on biomedical and health issues by setting up strict rules allowing IDPH to share certain data with researchers as long as the confidentiality of that data is carefully protected. In simple terms, under this legislation IDPH will be allowed to share the name, address and other personal information of people involved in the research study only if approved by an independent review board.

House Bill 5076 passed the House by a vote of 106-0! Please follow the link below to contact your Senator to ask them to co-sponsor and vote for HB 5076 in the Senate:

Support House Bill 5076

Responsible Information-sharing is vital to carrying out biomedical research moving us toward a healthier future free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. At the same time, confidentiality of that information must be protected. Whether studying the risk factors of these diseases, discovering treatments, or ensuring a better quality of life for heart and stroke survivors -- this legislation accomplishes both goals. Under this legislation, the name, address or other unique personal identifier of an individual supplying the data or described in it cannot be disclosed unless an IDPH-approved independent Institutional Review Board or its equivalent on the protection of human subjects in research has reviewed and approved the data request.

Support House Bill 5076

Thank you for your help on this important health issue.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Save the Date! Kane/DuPage Counties' Go Red For Women Luncheon!

Kane/DuPage Counties’ Go Red For Women Suburban Luncheon
Please join the American Heart Association for health exhibits,screenings and social networking followed by Passion speakers at our luncheon hosted by Laura Schwartz.
For questions, please contact (312) 476-6667 or email
Friday, May 21st, 2010
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Hilton Lisle/Naperville
3003 Corporate West Drive, Lisle, Illinois

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Bernie Salazar from NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” to host the lively lunchtime rally

The American Heart Association is calling on Chicago-area residents to get out and walk for 30 minutes on National Start! Walking Day—Wednesday, April 7. Residents are invited to join hundreds of other participants at the National Start! Walking Day rally, which will begin at noon at Daley Plaza. This event, to be hosted by Bernie Salazar from NBC’s hit show “The Biggest Loser,” is one of more than 100 Start! rallies being held across the country on April 7.

Start! is the American Heart Association’s national campaign that encourages people to live longer, healthier lives through walking. Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity, and just 30 minutes of walking per day can reduce risk of coronary disease, improve blood pressure and lower the risk of obesity, diabetes and several types of cancer.

Hundreds of Chicagoans are expected to leave the office on April 7 to take a 30-minute walk, ending at Daley Plaza for a lively lunch-time rally filled with music, entertainment and exercises. Bernie Salazar, the at-home winner of season five of NBC’s hit show “The Biggest Loser,” will be on-hand to lead the rally.

“Healthy lifestyle choices should be a community priority. Nearly 67 percent of Americans are overweight and are at risk for heart complications from sedentary lives,” said Scot Roskelley, communications director for the mid-America region of Aetna, a local Start! cause sponsor. “Walking just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference in your cardiovascular health.”

A person is 1.5 to 2.4 times more likely to have coronary heart disease if he or she is inactive, but walking vigorously for 30 minutes a day can help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Adults should get at least two and a half hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity. Studies show that some adults may gain as many as two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular, vigorous physical activity.

About Start!
Start! makes sticking to a walking plan easier than ever with FREE tools at, including:
Three customized walking programs (beginner, intermediate and advanced);
Online tracking tools to document calories consumed, steps taken and routes walked;
Sole-mates social networking capabilities to find and support like-minded walkers;
A grocery list builder and heart-healthy recipes; Downloadable seasonal walking guides with tips to maintain a routine regardless of weather; Start! walking videos, produced in collaboration with ExerciseTV, making an at-home workout easier with tips and motivation; Start! social media daily walking guide with daily walking guides, inspirational messages, heart-health tip of the day, video content from Exercise TV, community chat capability and a private journal.

Start! is sponsored nationally by SUBWAY® Restaurants, and locally by Aetna, Meijer and Schneider Electric. For more information, visit

About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, we’re the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers — we fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Keep PE in our Schools and AEDs in our Communities

Keep PE in our Schools and AEDs in our Communities

Illinois Senate Bill 618 threatens a number of top AHA priorities. First, it would lead to the elimination of physical education in our schools. Second, although many lives have been saved by automated electronic defibrillators in school buildings, the bill would jeopardize the placement of AEDs in our school athletic facilities.

Follow the link below to tell your Senator to vote NO on SB 618:
Keep PE in our Schools and AEDs in our Communities

SB 618 will allow school boards to ignore state laws if they aren't getting money to implement them. SB 618 calls these laws "unfunded mandates."

However nice that might sound to some, the bill's potential consequences -- intended or unintended -- would be dire.

Illinois cannot allow the elimination of physical education in a time when our country faces an unprecedented children's obesity epidemic. Maintaining and expanding access to lifesaving AEDs in some of the community's busiest public buildings should be a priority.

To make kids healthier and communities safer, please tell your state senator to vote "NO" on this legislation.

Keep PE in our Schools and AEDs in our Communities

Thank you for your help on this important health issue.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Statement from American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown

The U.S. House of Representatives took an historic and bold step forward to expand health care to millions of Americans to guarantee accessible, affordable, and high quality care. We all acknowledge that such a complex piece of legislation like the final health reform package isn’t perfect -- no package of similar magnitude has ever been perfect at the outset -- but this is the first step of a legacy building process that will transform American health care. This measure takes important steps forward by enacting needed insurance reforms, increasing affordability and reducing costs, emphasizing value over volume and placing a greater emphasis on prevention and wellness. For the American Heart Association (AHA), health care reform has always been about the needs of heart disease and stroke patients and we’re gratified that lawmakers didn’t lose sight of the concerns of those facing pre-existing medical conditions, lifetime and annual limits and other challenges with the health care system.

We now have health care reform that makes significant progress towards embracing the excellence of available health care in America while improving a health care delivery system that was untenable for too many Americans and unsustainable for all Americans.

We realize the current system cannot fully accommodate the current and growing burden of disease. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses are on the rise and will only worsen if attaining better health does not become a high priority. The AHA will continue to do its part and now with this legislation all Americans will have preventive benefits that help lower rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use and diabetes. First dollar coverage for evidence-based preventive services and appropriate treatments and medications that allow patients to lead productive lives after a heart attack or stroke will be key components in our efforts to reduce the burden of disease and extending prevention into communities, especially those of the underserved, will be invaluable.

This vote for health care reform represents a major milestone but not the end of the journey. We believe the work on health care reform is just beginning. The AHA remains committed to working with Congress, the Administration and our partners in the public and private sectors to further improve the health care system, to monitor and implement this legislation and to transform the current system into one that fulfills our American generational promise to make life better for future generations.

New Heartsaver AED Grant Rules Adopted in Illinois

From the 3/19/10 issue of the Illinois Register:

2) Code Citation: 77 Ill. Adm. Code 530
3) Section Numbers: Adopted Action:
530.100 Amended
530.200 Amended
530.300 Amended
530.400 Amended
530.500 Amended
530.600 Amended
530.700 Amended
4) Statutory Authority: Section 2310-371.5 of the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois [20 ILCS 2310/2310-371.5]
5) Effective Date of Rulemaking: March 2, 2010
6) Does this rulemaking contain an automatic repeal date? No
7) Does this rulemaking contain incorporations by reference? No
8) A copy of the adopted amendments, including any material incorporated by reference, is on file in the agency's principal office and is available for public inspection.
9) Notice of Proposal Published in Illinois Register: August 28, 2009; 33 Ill. Reg. 12076
10) Has JCAR issued a Statement of Objection to these rules? No
11) Differences between proposal and final version: The following changes were made during First Notice in response to comments and suggestions of JCAR:
1. Section 530.100 – "[20 ILCS 2310]" was added at the end of the definition of "Act".
2. Section 530.100 – in the definition of "Applicant", after "recreation", "district" was changed to "department".
3. Section 530.300(a), "Be" was added and "be" was stricken. ILLINOIS REGISTER 3623 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
4. Section 530.500(c)(1), "address" was added after "e-mail.
5. Section 530.600(e), "are" was added and "were" was stricken.
6. Through the entire document, eight references to "33 Ill. Reg." were changed to "34 Ill. Reg.".
12) Have all the changes agreed upon by the agency and JCAR been made as indicated in the agreements issued by JCAR? Yes
13) Will this rulemaking replace any emergency rulemaking currently in effect? No
14) Are there any amendments pending on this Part? No
15) Summary and Purpose of Rulemaking: Public Act 95-0721 renumbered and amended Section 371 of the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois regarding the Heartsaver AED Fund Grant Program. The revised law expands the eligibility for the grant program to include: private schools, colleges and universities; forest preserve districts; conservation districts; and municipal recreation departments. The legislation also eliminated the requirement that eligible applicants be required to have an automated external defibrillator pursuant to the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act.
16) Information and questions regarding these adopted amendments shall be directed to:
Susan Meister
Division of Legal Services
Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson, 5th Floor
Springfield, Illinois 62761

PART 530
530.100 Definitions
530.200 Referenced Materials
530.300 Eligibility for Grants
530.400 Grant Requirements
530.500 Application Requirements
530.600 Review of Applications
530.700 Use of Grant Funds
530.800 Termination
530.900 Denial, Suspension or Revocation
530.1000 Grant Funds Recovery
530.1100 Hearings

AUTHORITY: Implementing and authorized by Section 2310-371 of the Department of Public
Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois [20 ILCS 2310/2310-371].
SOURCE: Adopted at 30 Ill. Reg. 12288, effective June 28, 2006; amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010.
Section 530.100 Definitions
Act – the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois [20 ILCS 2310].
Applicant – an Illinois school, public park district, forest preserve district, conservation district, municipal recreation department, college, or university that is applying for a grant under this Part. (Section 2310-371.5 of the Act)
Automated External Defibrillator (AED) – a medical device heart monitor and defibrillator that: ILLINOIS REGISTER 3625 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
has received approval of its pre-market notification, filed pursuant to 21 USC 360(k), from the United States Food and Drug Administration;
is capable of recognizing the presence or absence of ventricular fibrillation and rapid ventricular tachycardia, and is capable of determining, without intervention by an operator, whether defibrillation should be performed;
upon determining that defibrillation should be performed, either automatically charges and delivers an electrical impulse to an individual or charges and delivers an electrical impulse at the command of the operator; and
in the case of a defibrillator that may be operated in either an automatic or manual mode, is set to operate in the automatic mode. (Section 10 of the Automated External Defibrillator Act)
Department – the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Director – the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Division – the Division of Emergency Medical Systems and Highway Safety, Department of Public Health.
Fund – the Heartsaver AED Fund in the State Treasury.
Grant Recipient – an Illinois school, public park district, forest preserve district, conservation district, municipal recreation department, college, or university that receives a grant under this Part. (Section 2310-371.5 of the Act)
Physical fitness facility or facility – includes any indoor establishment that meets all of the following requirements:
In whole or in part, is owned or operated by a park district or by a public elementary or secondary school, college, or university.
Is supervised by one or more persons, other than maintenance or security personnel, employed by the park district or public school, college, or university for the purpose of directly supervising the physical fitness ILLINOIS REGISTER 3626 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
activities taking place at any indoor facilities listed in this definition. (Section 5.25 of the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act)
Serves a total of 100 or more individuals. In calculating the number of individuals served by a facility, the greater of the seating capacity, the capacity of the facility under applicable fire code, pool, or similar standards, or the number of members of the facility shall be included in the final determination. The number of members of the facility includes the complete facility membership, whether or not these members are present at the facility at the same time.
Is a swimming pool; stadium; athletic field; track and field facility; tennis court; basketball court; volleyball court; aerobics studio; dance studio; boxing gym; martial-arts or self-defense studio; wrestling gym; weight-lifting facility; treadmill or stationary bicycle facility; velodrome; racquetball court; gymnastics facility; or any other indoor establishment focusing primarily on cardiovascular exertion where participants engage in relatively continuous active physical exercise that uses large muscle groups and that substantially increases the heart rate.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.200 Referenced Materials
The following materials are referenced in this Part:
a) Illinois Statutes
1) Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act [210 ILCS 74]
12) Automated External Defibrillator Act [410 ILCS 4]
23) Illinois Grant Funds Recovery Act [30 ILCS 705]
1) Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Code (77 Ill. Adm. Code 527)
12) Automated External Defibrillator Code (77 Ill. Adm. Code 525)
23) Rules of Practice and Procedure in Administrative Hearings (77 Ill. Adm. Code 100)
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.300 Eligibility for Grants
ToIn order to be eligible to receive a grant from the Fund, the applicant shallmust meet all of the
following criteria:
a) Be Must bean Illinois school, public park district, forest preserve district, conservation district, municipal recreation department, college, or universitya public school, public park district, public college or public university; (Section 2310-371.5 of the Act); and
b) Must meet the definition of physical fitness facility in Section 530.100 of this Part; and
bc) Demonstrate that they have the funds to pay 50% of the cost of the AEDs for which matching grant moneys are sought Must be willing and able to pay 50 percent of the total cost of an AED as that cost is determined by the State Master Contract or in the absence of a State Master Contract as determined by the Department. (Section 2310-371.5 of the Act).
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.400 Grant Requirements
a) Grant recipients shallmust comply with all applicable provisions of the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act, the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Code, the Automated External Defibrillator Act and the Automated External Defibrillator Code. ILLINOIS REGISTER 3628 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
b) Grant recipients shall match the grant award received and shall spend the grant award on the purchase of an AED to be used byhoused at the grant recipientfacility.
c) Grant recipients shall return a signed contract to the Department in the specified time period and shall comply with the provisions of the contract.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.500 Application Requirements
a) Applications shallmay be submitted to the Department through the website established for this purpose or at the following address:
Heartsaver AED Grants
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Emergency Medical Systems & Highway Safety
500 East Monroe Street, 8th Floor
Springfield IL 62701
b) Faxed and e-mailed applications will not be accepted.
cb) Applications shall be submitted on the form prescribed by the Department and shall include, at a minimum, the following:
1) The name, address, e-mail adress and phone number of the primary contact and the secondary contact designated by the applicantfacility to be responsible for administering the grant funds;.
2) The Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) for the applicant; and2)An agreement that the organization submitting the application is required to have an AED pursuant to the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act.
3) An agreement by the applicant that, if awarded a grant, the grant will be matched by the grant recipientfacility.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010) ILLINOIS REGISTER 3629 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
Section 530.600 Review of Applications
a) The grant cycle runs from July 1-June 30. Applications for grants from the Fund may be submitted to the Department beginning on July 1 of each year.
b) The Department will review applications Applications will be reviewed by the Department for compliance with the requirements of this Part. During the course of its review, the Department may contact the applicant for additional information if the information provided is incomplete, inconsistent or unclear.
c) Applicants whom the Department determines not to be eligible for grant funds will be notified in writing of this decision.
d) Distribution of grants is dependent on available funding. Available grant funds will be distributed on a "first come, first served" basis, based on when the Department received the completed application was received by the Department. If the Department receives several completed applications are received by the Department on the same date and funds are not available to award each of these applicants, a random selectiondrawing of applications will be used to determine grant recipientsawardees.
e) Applicants shallmust submit a new application each State fiscal year in order to be considered for funding. Applications are only applicable to the State fiscal year in which the applications arewere received.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.700 Use of Grant Funds
a) The entire amount of the grant award, plus matching funds from the facility, shall be used to purchase an AED to be kept in that facility. AEDs shall be used at facilities owned or controlled by the grant recipient or at events authorized by the grant recipient that are held at facilities owned or controlled by the grant recipient.
b) Grants are limited to one AED per eligible physical fitness facility. Any school, public park district, forest preserve district, conservation district, municipal recreation department, college or university applying for the grant shall not receive more than one grant from the Heartsaver AED Fund each fiscal year. (Section 2310-317.5 of the Act).
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)