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!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chicago hospital group to drop sugar-sweetened drinks

MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, one of four Vanguard hospitals in Cook County, is offering healthier choices in its cafeteria and vending machines. (Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / April 24, 2012
By Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune reporter * 9:51 p.m. CDT, April 24, 2012

Salad bars stocked with fruits, grains and heart-healthy veggies. Meat produced without antibiotics. And farmers markets right outside the building.
In recent years, hospitals have been cleaning up their food choices, adding healthier fare for patients, visitors and employees. Now, Vanguard Health Chicago, which operates four hospitals in Cook County, is taking the next step, one that few others have taken: a phasing out of all "sugar-loaded beverages,'' including soda and sports and energy drinks, starting now.
Over the course of this year, the hospital group hopes to refine its choices, eventually phasing out diet drinks and sweetened juices until it offers only unsweetened drinks or those that contain less than about a teaspoon of sugar per 12-ounce serving. By comparison, a can of Coke contains more than 7 teaspoons.

The change comes at a time when the American obesity rate has hit an all-time high and certain foods, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, are coming under increased scrutiny for their role. One government-funded study found that sugar-sweetened beverages accounted for 20 to 40 percent of all weight gained by Americans between 1977 and 2007.
"Sodas, sports drinks and other drinks that are artificially loaded with sugar are associated with a host of negative health effects and increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, dental problems and even cancer," said Dr. Anthony J. Tedeschi, Vanguard Health's chief medical officer. "The health care community has an obligation not only to treat but to help prevent these conditions, some of which are at epidemic levels."
Once the changes have been implemented, Vanguard Health Chicago says, more than "6,000 employees and tens of thousands of patients and visitors will substantively benefit from a healthier, reduced sugar environment."

"This really fit in with our mission to help people achieve health for life," said Scott Steiner, the chief operating officer of MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, which is part of the Vanguard Health Chicago and has, among changes, removed its deep fryers, overhauled vending machine offerings and added a high-nutrition, low-cost salad bar in its cafeteria.

Steiner said that some of the changes have elicited grumbling from staff members, but "with each change the grumbling has decreased, and for everyone one who complains about the changes, two people thank us and say that this is the kind of place where they want to work."

Calls to other large hospital groups in the Chicago area reveal that Vanguard is breaking new ground.
"I think this is pretty rare," said Cheryl Reed, communications director of University of Chicago Medical Center, where sugar-sweetened beverages are available. The hospital does offer calorie counts at its food outlets.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital also still serves sugary beverages but says it places them and other less healthful options in the back of the cafeteria, while more nutritious options are stationed at the front.

Rush University Medical Center and Advocate Health Care also said they have no plans to remove sugar-sweetened beverages. Cook County Hospitals, however, have recently implemented the county Health Department's "Rethink Your Drink" campaign that encourages citizens to choose more healthful beverage options.

"The posters for (Rethink Your Drink) are all over," Cook County Hospital Systems spokeswoman Marisa Kollias said. Although there are still sugar-sweetened beverages offered at Cook County facilities, the hospital now stocks more water in vending machines and is aggressively encouraging its employees to be mindful of the effects of sugar-sweetened beverages, Kollias said.
As national coordinator for the Healthy Food in Health Care program, Michelle Gottlieb said the sugar-sweetened beverage issue really took off for hospitals about a year ago.
This year 10 Boston hospitals announced a variety of strategies to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, including total elimination at one. The move came after Boston Mayor Thomas Menino phased out sugary beverages in all city buildings last year. Other notable municipal awareness efforts on the issue have sprouted in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Vermont and New York City, advocates note.
Much of the work on this issue has been supported by research from the American Heart Association, which has long urged Americans to limit added sugar consumption to reduce risks of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The group recommends no more than six and nine teaspoons a day for women and men, respectively. Government surveys, however, show average intake for Americans to be about 22 teaspoons.
Institutions that adopt sugary-beverage reduction measures are eligible for federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grants are meant to create healthier food environments, "where the healthy choice becomes the easy choice," according to the Illinois Public Health Institute's Elissa Bassler, who is offering technical assistance to Vanguard and hosting a symposium Wednesday on clinical approaches to reducing sugary beverage consumption in Chicago.
But not everyone agrees with the move.

"That's their prerogative, but we would view that move as unfortunate," said Tim Bramlet of the Illinois Beverage Association, which represents bottlers in the state. "We believe that having a healthy lifestyle is about balanced diet and moderation, and bans don't promote that."

John Bluford is a trustee and former chairman of the 6,000-strong American Hospital Association, where last year he led a formal call to "create a culture of health and wellness in hospitals … to lead the way in improving the health of the communities we serve."

At Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., where Bluford serves as president and CEO, he said they have revamped the vending options, encouraged more walking and reduced the amount of fried foods in the cafeteria. He predicts the trend will gain steam as hospitals see a "return on investment."

"No. 1, those institution that have done it for a longer period have already seen positive results," he said. "And No. 2, it's the right thing to do."

Smoke-Free Parks & Playground and Smoke-Free Apartments Webinar

Event Name:          Smoke-Free Parks and Playgrounds Webinar

Many communities are interested in creating smokefree outdoor recreational areas such as parks, playgrounds, and sports fields. Eliminating secondhand smoke exposure and tobacco use in these areas can be an important way to improve public health.

What does it take to adopt and enforce this type of local policy?

Join us for this webinar on key legal and practical considerations involved in creating smokefree outdoor recreational areas. You'll learn about a variety of options and tools you can use to craft a strong smokefree parks policy, including model language and policy checklists. We'll also share tips on how to build a successful campaign for this kind of policy - and we'll recommend ways to carry out and enforce the policy effectively.

Date:                         Friday, May 4th
Time:                        10:00am -11:30am

Audience: Municipal leaders; representatives from park districts, law enforcement, & community organizations; health educators; community advocates; and parents

To Register: and clicking on the date of the webinar.

Event Name:              Smoke-Free Apartments

People who live in apartments, senior complexes, and other multi-unit housing developments are often exposed to secondhand smoke drifting in from a neighbor's unit. Secondhand smoke increases lung cancer and heart disease risk in adults and worsens asthma symptoms in children, with low-income families bearing the greatest burden.

How can community leaders create smokefree living environments to address this problem and improve public health?

Join us for this webinar to get a better understanding about smokefree housing policies and the different methods landlords, condominium associations, and local governments can use to make common areas and individual units nonsmoking.  We'll also share ideas on how to build community support for smokefree housing.

Date:                         Friday, May 11th
Time:                        10:00am -11:30am

To Register: and clicking on the date of the webinar.

Audience:  Landlords, Housing Authority representatives, municipal leaders, community organizations, health educators, community advocates, and parents

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SSEEO teleconference Stroke Striking Younger Patients Tuesday, May 8th

Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other (SSEEO) invites you to join a teleconference series for stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals!

The SSEEO Toll-Free Teleconference Series builds community, provides support and shares information by connecting survivors, caregivers, health professionals and other stroke stakeholders. The calls last approximately 60 minutes with the last 30 minutes reserved for questions and conversation. Please don’t forget to register by following the instructions below.

Tuesday, May 8th, 12:00-1:00pm central time: Stroke Striking Younger Patients presented by Franco Campanella, D.O. Advocate Christ Medical Center.

Think of strokes and you probably picture someone in their 70s or older. But an alarming number of stroke survivors are young parents or even high school students. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that almost 25% of young Americans hospitalized for stroke are under the age of 65.

This teleconference will address the needs of the younger stroke survivors ranging in age from 18 to 55 by addressing the issues faced by those who may be hoping to go back to school or work and resume their family roles and responsibilities. After the teleconference the lines will be open to all participants to have an open discussion about their stroke and share ideas and support.

Franco Campanella, D.O. is a graduate of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is a board certified neurologist since 2001. He is on staff at both Advocate Christ Medical Center (ACMC) in Oak Lawn, IL and Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, IL. At ACMC he is the Stroke Program Medical Director. He is an educator for both medical staff, patients and their families in all areas of neurology especially stroke. He has participated in many clinical research projects on stroke.

IMPORTANT CALL-IN INFORMATION: Participation on the calls is absolutely free but advance registration is required due to limited line availability. Please contact us at 1-888-988-8047 or and provide the following information: first and last name(s), mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number. We will get back to you with an 800 call-in number and pass code, which will allow you to access the conference call. Registration deadline is Monday May 7th.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New IDPH Director

Dr. La Mar Hasbrouck, formerly a county health official in NY, has been appointed the new head of IDPH.

Dr. La Mar Hasbrouck comes to the Department with an impressive record of eminent public health service around the globe as well as distinguished professional and scientific honors. A board certified medical internist, Dr. Hasbrouck most recently served as the Director of the Ulster County Department of Public Health in New York as well as Commissioner of the Ulster County Department of Mental health. He was the only county official in the state of New York to head both the health and mental health departments simultaneously. Prior to his public service in the state of New York, Dr. Hasbrouck spent 11 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He joined CDC in 1998 as a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, commonly referred to as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for diseases. While at CDC, Dr. Hasbrouck worked in Jamaica, Nigeria, Uganda, Haiti, Namibia, Vietnam, and was actively engaged in two of the largest global health initiatives in history: polio eradication, where he served as a consultant for the World Health Organization to Bangladesh; and, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, serving in a diplomatic appointment as the CDC Director and Chief of Party in Guyana, South American, for two years.

A graduate of the University of California-Berkeley and the UCLA – Drew School of Medicine, Dr. Hasbrouck completed his medical residency at the new York-Presbyterian Hospital. He has published numerous scientific articles, reports, and book chapters. He is also the recipient of several distinguished honors, including the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s Primary Health Care Policy Fellowship, the HHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service and the Meritorious Honor Award from the US Department of State.

As a physician, teacher, researcher, radio host, and public speaker, Dr. Hasbrouck has embarked on a mission to educate and empower underserved communities about their health. We are excited to have Dr. Hasbrouck lead the Illinois Department of Public Health through one of the most challenging yet dynamic periods in our state’s history. Please join us in welcoming Dr. La Mar Hasbrouck to IDPH.