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, 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 28, 2010

Schools prep for new statewide physical education standards

Teacher Karin Harris, holding a foam noodle, tries to tag other participants during a game at Century Middle School in Lakeville. The class was presented to teachers by Jack Olwell, a teacher in the Farmington school district, who was sharing games he'd developed that mix games with academic exercises. (MPR Photo/Tom Weber)

Schools prep for new statewide physical education standards
by Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
June 28, 2010

Lakeville, Minn. — Schools in Minnesota have long had statewide standards to follow in math, reading and science. Now they'll have to do the same for physical education, thanks to a new state law Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed last month.

The new law has Jack Olwell, who teaches physical education in the Farmington school district, reviewing some of the ways he's learned to blend games like tag with spelling and word-building. The trick is to have children focus on the games so they don't notice that they're learning, said Olwell, who claims to have helped several students read to their grade level.
He also shares his methods with other teachers, which has its drawbacks.

"When we did it in Minneapolis, we had a pulled hamstring," he said. "In another district we had a sprained ankle because the adults are just like the kids, they want to get these done. Muscles aren't as limber; it's fun to watch them but it scares me."

Olwell's efforts as a physical education booster have also extended to the state Capitol, where he testified in support of the new statewide standards for physical education that just became law. Before it passed, there was no unified statewide effort before these standards were in place, he said.

"When we adopt them in unison as a state, then we're making a statement: 'Hey, we're in line with what's going on nationally.' " Olwell said.

States use standards to ensure some uniformity. The state establishes standards and school districts then buy the textbooks and other curriculum to help teachers meet those standards.

In math, for example, children in Minnesota must leave kindergarten knowing how to count forward and backward to 20. They also have to recognize basic shapes, like circles and triangles.
Statewide standards for physical education also will establish benchmarks. Children will have to leave kindergarten able to jog or continuously move for three to five minutes. They'll also have to be able to identify basic body parts, like hands, feet and nose.

Legislators also wrote the concept of sharing into the P.E. standards for kindergarten, along with the old adage of 'playing well with others.'

Standards grow more complex with each grade, so by ninth grade, for example, students will learn the mechanics and difference between a forehand and backhand in raquet sports.

Supporters say many districts probably won't have to change their P.E. courses because they've already been using such standards. But others will have to re-evaluate their programs.

The standards establish a floor that schools cannot sink below, said Rachel Callanan, a lobbyist with the American Heart Association who pushed for the law's passage.

"The reality is school districts have been cutting back physical education programs," Callanan said. "It's one of the first areas they look at when they're cutting programming at schools. This will really help stop that bleeding by setting that bar."

Minnesota is a latecomer to statewide P.E. standards. It had been one of just three states without them until the new law was signed. Having standards also will make Minnesota schools eligible for some federal grants related to physical education.

But supporters are calling this year's efforts a baby step. Even though standards will be in place, there is still no requirement that students take P.E. classes. The only law in Minnesota regarding P.E. is that schools offer it.

State Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, said that's where the work fell short. But she said it would have been tough to pass a requirement that students take P.E. because several lawmakers saw that as an unfunded mandate during a time of extraordinarily tight budgets.

"We would have liked to have had something much stronger," Norton said. "But given the environment we're in, we didn't want to walk away from it."

But Norton said more children are becoming obese, so something had to be done.

She said her ultimate goal is to make P.E. required for all students in Minnesota, but it's not something she'll likely pursue until the state's budget improves.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Anniversary of FDA Tobacco Law Ushers in Important New Regulations to Protect Americans from Tobacco Use

From Last Week:

June 17, 2010

The one-year anniversary of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act brings new consumer protections that will make it increasingly difficult for the tobacco industry to recruit the next Marlboro man, woman or child. With many important provisions already in effect, we can celebrate the lives we have saved with rules restricting Big Tobacco’s deceptive marketing practices, particularly towards children. The ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes has brought a halt to the industry’s shameful campaign to entice children with harmful products and increase their risk for heart disease, stroke and other chronic illnesses. And the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now has the regulatory muscle to hold the industry accountable and ensure that children are no longer a primary target of Big Tobacco’s advertising juggernaut. New color-coded cigarette packages and other manipulative products on the market intended to circumvent the ban on terms such as “light,” “mild,” and “low-tar” on cigarette labels will not disguise the fact that tobacco is lethal and must be treated as such.

The American Heart Association wholeheartedly supports the FDA’s efforts to enforce the law and move swiftly to implement several critical provisions including those taking effect on Tuesday, June 22, the first anniversary of the law. Among them, the ban on “light,” “mild,” “low-tar” and similar descriptors in all advertising, labeling and marketing of existing cigarettes and smokeless products; larger, stronger warning labels required on all smokeless tobacco packages and in ads; and new regulations that severely restrict the marketing of tobacco products to children. These new rules will support the association’s goals to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by the year 2020 and reduce heart disease and stroke death rates linked to tobacco use.

We continue to applaud Congress and the Administration for taking bold action with enactment of this historic legislation. However, more work lies ahead of us. All Americans must have access to comprehensive smoking prevention and cessation programs in their communities that are adequately funded, and state legislation to increase tobacco excise taxes and establish smoke-free workplaces must be enacted. This anniversary should be a celebratory occasion as well as an opportunity to redouble our efforts to make our nation 100 percent smoke-free. For more information visit

Friday, June 4, 2010

Join Us at the 2010 Twin Cities Heart Walk at Target Field!

Start! Heart Walk 2010
Through the Start! Heart Walk, we create opportunities for people to improve their health by walking and simultaneously raise funds for life-saving research and public education in the fight heart disease and stroke.

Walkers can organize teams at the companies where they work or with family and friends. Walkers ask others to support their walk effort by sponsoring them with a donation to the American Heart Association.
Twin Cities Start! Heart Walk 2010 - at Twins' Target Field
Fee: Free event.
Participants are encouraged to collect donations.
Location: MN Twins Target Field Warehouse District Minneapolis, MN 55403

Inspire Change by walking
Celebrate Your Success with health activities at the walk
Create Hope by registering
Register now!It's easier than ever! Sign-up and begin sending e-mails to fundraise online.
Getting to the Heart WalkDownload this document with easy instructions on riding, driving, biking or parking in downtown Minneapolis.

Start! Living Active with Metro Transit
DID YOU KNOW… Transit users get about 20 minutes more exercise walking each day, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control. That's why the 2010 Twin Cities Start! Heart Walk is partnered with Metro Transit to encourage residents to ride so they can walk more and live longer!

Ride FREE to the Heart Walk. More information here

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!