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!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tobacco Addiction documentary debuts October 31 on Twin Cities Public Television

This Sunday, tune in to Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) at 8 p.m. to watch Tobacco Addiction: The Unfiltered Truth, a thought-provoking look at the harm caused by tobacco use and the tobacco industry.

ClearWay MinnesotaSM, in partnership with tpt, produced a 60-minute documentary about the impact tobacco has on real Minnesotans – moms, dads, daughters, brothers, aunts, grandparents, friends, coworkers – and how the industry has successfully attracted people to its products for over a century. Premiering on Minnesota public television stations on October 31, Tobacco Addiction: The Unfiltered Truth puts a face on tobacco use by following the journeys of four Minnesota tobacco users – from their first cigarette, to attempts to quit, to health consequences they now face.

Featuring insights from tobacco users, former smokers and the medical and public health communities, the documentary is an unprecedented look into the human, health and economic impact of tobacco addiction. The candid conversations in Tobacco Addiction: The Unfiltered Truth inspire us and give us hope that, together, we can improve the health of our communities.

For a sneak preview of the documentary, to view show times, and to learn more about tobacco addiction and the tobacco industry’s role, visit

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

World Stroke Day

Did you know?
Friday, Oct. 29, is World Stroke Day. The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are joining with the World Stroke Organization, an international health organization, to spread the message about the global threat of stroke. This year’s theme is “One in Six: Act Now!”

One of every six people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and the second-leading cause of death in the world. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. Find out what you can do to Act Now by using American Heart Association and American Stroke Association tools and resources listed at the bottom of this page.

Here’s something else you can do on World Stroke Day: At precisely 1:06 p.m., take the My Life Check assessment to learn where you stand with health factors that could lead to stroke. Then share the link with six special people in your life. The assessment tool allows you to determine your level of heart health, identify risk factors and change behavior.

The World Stroke Organization also wants you to Act Now by taking on these six challenges to lower your stroke risk:
  • Know the risk factors for stroke that you can do something about — high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood cholesterol — and work to keep them in a healthy range.
  • Be physically active and exercise regularly
  • Adopt a healthy diet.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, seek help to stop now.
  • Learn to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and how to take action.

Act Now! Consumer Resources

* Learn your stroke risk
* Learn the warning signs of stroke and TIA
* Warning: Stroke Ahead – Take our quiz!

Track and control your No. 1 modifiable stroke risk factor: High Blood Pressure
* Online tracker
* Printable tracker and wallet card

* Take your medicine
* Live a healthy lifestyle
* Join or start a stroke support group

The power is in your hands to prevent and overcome stroke. Power To End Stroke is the American Heart Association’s education and awareness campaign that embraces and celebrates the culture, energy, creativity and lifestyles of Americans. Join the Power To End Stroke Movement now!

* Be an advocate – You’re the Cure
* Receive quality care
* Save a life and donate

Act Now! Healthcare Professional Resources

* American Stroke Association Stroke Library
* Take the NIH Stroke Scale online course
* Join the Stroke Council
* Get With The Guidelines/Target Stroke

To learn more about World Stroke Day and the World Stroke Organization, click here.

Vote for Heart Health in Minnesota

In less than two weeks, Americans will go to the polls and make important decisions for the future of Minnesota 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 Minnesota

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

Vote for Heart Health in Minnesota

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 Minnesota.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Legislators and American Heart Association honored with Awards from the MNAHPERD at their Annual Conference

Rep. Bob Dettmer * Sen. Terri Bonoff * Rep. Kim Norton

The Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MNAHPERD) is honored to recognize Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), and Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) with their Health and Fitness Advocacy Award. MNAHPERD honors Bonoff, Norton, and Dettmer for their leadership in making policy to help Minnesota’s youth grow up to be healthy adults.

Rep. Bob Dettmer, Rep. Kim Norton and Sen. Terri Bonoff led the charge last year to form a childhood obesity working group. The recommendations of that working group led to the creation and successful passage of the Healthy Kids/Physical Education Bill. The bill guarantees that every Minnesota child meets quality physical education standards and has the opportunity to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day as well as healthier food options at school.

“It's crucial to hold schools to high standards in regard to academic outcomes in all content areas." says Mary Thissen-Milder, President of MNAHPERD. “However, there also needs to be a balance. We need our schools to be healthy places for our students.“

Summary of the Minnesota Healthy Kids/Physical Education Bill
• Adoption of NASPE Physical Education Standards as Minnesota’s statewide standards
• Minnesota Dept. of Education will develop best practices to promote active recess.
• Minnesota Dept. of Education is encouraged to include physical education classes, district physical education standards, and local physical education graduation requirements that districts offer as part of the Minnesota common course catalogue.
• Establishment of a Healthy Kids Awards program to reward schools that promote better nutrition and physical activity for their students. Schools meeting the criteria will have a designation or recognition on the School Report Card that the school is a Healthy Kids Award school.
• School wellness policies are required to be posted online so that parents may access them and take an active role in implementing them.
• Authorize the Complete Streets proposal to ensure safer roadways for bicyclists, pedestrians, and children walking/biking to school which would encourage physical activity and safety.

The Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance is honored to recognize Rachel Callanan and Shep Harris with the Presidential Award. MNAHPERD honors Rachel and Shep for their personal dedication to navigate the legislative process to recommend policy change that impacts the health and well being of Minnesota youth.

Through tireless efforts, over years of challenges, Rachel and Shep stayed focused on their primary goal of reinstating statewide physical education standards in Minnesota. Through their leadership, the Minnesota Healthy Kids Coalition was formed to deepen grassroot support for physical education. MNAHPERD was one of over 25 agencies, organizations and higher education institutions to support this effort.

By utilizing their expertise of the political process, Rachel and Shep brought together informed partners, created fact sheets and press releases, initiated email action alerts, facilitated Days on the Hill, hosted in-district meetings, and organized testimony for legislative committee hearings. Their constant presence at the capitol was a continual reminder to policy makers of the importance of physical education. In the summer of 2010, the decision was made to form a bipartisan childhood obesity working group that was chaired by key legislators who also identified children’s health as a priority. Senator Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), Representative Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), and Representative Bob Dettmer led the working group and utilized the opportunity to educate their fellow policy leaders and make a legislative plan. Rachel and Shep played key roles in identifying critical information that was shared in this process.

The final product was the passage of the Minnesota Healthy Kids Act that not only reinstated statewide physical education standards, but also identified other school based actions that would positively impact the health of Minnesota’s youth.

Even though both Rachel and Shep will clearly state that there is more work to be done, MNAHPERD is proud to take a moment to recognize their hard work. This is a success story to be celebrated.

Monday, October 18, 2010

You're the Cure: Network News

Advocacy Making a Difference in Minnesota
Fall Edition
E-Newsletter of the American Heart Association & American Stroke Association

American Heart Association welcomes Justin Bell to the MN Advocacy team!

Please welcome Justin Bell, our new Government Relations Director in Minnesota. Justin will be working on policies ranging from improving the treatment of stroke across the state, to ensuring that Minnesota students have the opportunity to learn CPR before they graduate.

Justin will be working alongside our Regional Vice President for Advocacy, Rachel Callanan, who will now focus more directly on policies concerning obesity prevention and tobacco control in Minnesota. Both Rachel and Justin's contact information are below - feel free to contact them at anytime if you have any questions on these policy areas!

Justin Bell
Government Relations Director (952)278-7921

Rachel Callanan
Regional Vice President for Advocacy, MN and WI

American Heart Association announces participation with "Raise it for Health" campaign
The American Heart Association is proud to announce our participation with Raise it for Health, a coalition of Minnesota's leading health and nonprofit organizations who share a common goal of reducing tobacco use.

As you know, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and tobacco use continues to be a major contributor to the state's escalating health care costs. Raising the price of tobacco is one of the most effective tools we have to reduce tobacco use.
You helped us pass the "Tic Tac" Tobacco Act in 2010 to protect our kids from the candy flavored and innovative new tobacco products coming onto the market. This year, we ask you to join us in our efforts to prevent more than 6,000 kids from smoking and save Minnesota $1 billion in future health care costs by raising the price of tobacco.
Want to volunteer to help with this campaign? Contact Rachel Callanan at

Healthy Schools Conference: Creating a Strong Foundation for Student Success, November 15th, 2010

The American Heart Association and our partners are co-sponsoring the Healthy Schools Conference to promote a healthy school environment. The conference will be titled "Creating a Strong Foundation for Student Success" and will be held November 15th, 2010 at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus.
School health policies and practices can have a direct impact on student academic and behavioral outcomes.
Join us to learn about effective and practical strategies to create healthier schools, where students and staff thrive. The keynote address will be delivered by Howell Wechsler, Ed.D. MPH, Director, Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Follow the link below for more information about the conference and how to register:
We invite you to save the date to join us on April 7, 2011 for our annual Heart on the Hill at the Minnesota State Capitol.
This year we will be joining forces with our coalition partners to ask legislators to RAISE IT FOR HEALTH!
Our annual Heart on the Hill is a great opportunity for you to meet your legislators and rally for Minnesotans' health. Please mark your calendar today. More information coming soon!

American Heart Association Guidelines: A new order for CPR, spelled C-A-B

DALLAS, Oct. 18, 2010 — The American Heart Association is re-arranging the ABCs of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in its 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommending that chest compressions be the first step for lay and professional rescuers to revive victims of sudden cardiac arrest, the association said the A-B-Cs (Airway-Breathing-Compressions) of CPR should now be changed to C-A-B (Compressions-Airway-Breathing).

“For more than 40 years, CPR training has emphasized the ABCs of CPR, which instructed people to open a victim’s airway by tilting their head back, pinching the nose and breathing into the victim’s mouth, and only then giving chest compressions,” said Michael Sayre, M.D., co-author of the guidelines and chairman of the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Committee. “This approach was causing significant delays in starting chest compressions, which are essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body. Changing the sequence from A-B-C to C-A-B for adults and children allows all rescuers to begin chest compressions right away.”

In previous guidelines, the association recommended looking, listening and feeling for normal breathing before starting CPR. Now, compressions should be started immediately on anyone who is unresponsive and not breathing normally.

All victims in cardiac arrest need chest compressions. In the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, victims will have oxygen remaining in their lungs and bloodstream, so starting CPR with chest compressions can pump that blood to the victim’s brain and heart sooner. Research shows that rescuers who started CPR with opening the airway took 30 critical seconds longer to begin chest compressions than rescuers who began CPR with chest compressions.

The change in the CPR sequence applies to adults, children and infants, but excludes newborns.

Other recommendations, based mainly on research published since the last AHA resuscitation guidelines in 2005:

  • During CPR, rescuers should give chest compressions a little faster, at a rate of at least 100 times a minute.
  • Rescuers should push deeper on the chest, compressing at least two inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants.
  • Between each compression, rescuers should avoid leaning on the chest to allow it to return to its starting position.
  • Rescuers should avoid stopping chest compressions and avoid excessive ventilation.
  • All 9-1-1 centers should assertively provide instructions over the telephone to get chest compressions started when cardiac arrest is suspected.

“Sudden cardiac arrest claims hundreds of thousands of lives every year in the United States, and the American Heart Association’s guidelines have been used to train millions of people in lifesaving techniques,” said Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. “Despite our success, the research behind the guidelines is telling us that more people need to do CPR to treat victims of sudden cardiac arrest, and that the quality of CPR matters, whether it’s given by a professional or non-professional rescuer.”

Since 2008, the American Heart Association has recommended that untrained bystanders use Hands-Only CPR — CPR without breaths — for an adult victim who suddenly collapses. The steps to Hands-Only CPR are simple: call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast on the center of the chest until professional help or an AED arrives.

Key guidelines recommendations for healthcare professionals:

  • Effective teamwork techniques should be learned and practiced regularly.
  • Professional rescuers should use quantitative waveform capnography — the monitoring and measuring of carbon dioxide output — to confirm intubation and monitor CPR quality.
  • Therapeutic hypothermia, or cooling, should be part of an overall interdisciplinary system of care after resuscitation from cardiac arrest.
  • Atropine is no longer recommended for routine use in managing and treating pulseless electrical activity (PEA) or asystole.

Pediatric advanced life support (PALS) guidelines provide new information about resuscitating infants and children with certain congenital heart diseases and pulmonary hypertension, and emphasize organizing care around two-minute periods of uninterrupted CPR.

The CPR and ECC guidelines are science-based recommendations for treating cardiovascular emergencies — particularly sudden cardiac arrest in adults, children, infants and newborns. The American Heart Association established the first resuscitation guidelines in 1966.

The year 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of Kouwenhoven, Jude, and Knickerbocker’s landmark study documenting cardiac arrest survival after chest compressions.

A complete list of authors is on the manuscript.
Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy most manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at