Welcome to the The WSA Exchange, for healthy hearts and minds. Kathy Rogers, American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Executive Vice President will share stories from across the affiliate.
Lisa Jones Barker is the Senior Vice President of Health Strategies for the Western States Affiliate. She is incredibly proud of the work and creative thought that so many from our Health Strategies Team put into this special grant opportunity. She submitted the following guest blog post:
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown’s recently launched a “Community Innovation Challenge” for AHA staff. The award of a $100,000 grant will be given to an internal team with a compelling, breakthrough vision for positioning our organization as a catalyst for improving health in communities through innovation and powerful partnerships. This is a great opportunity to really move our work in communities forward by trying new ideas. The concept includes positioning an idea to clearly demonstrate the AHA’s role as a catalyst for change to improve health in a community. The idea needs to be both scalable and replicable.
Western States, always on the cutting edge of innovation, submitted a whopping one-quarter of all the ideas sent forward—28 out of 100 applications! The ideas held the makings of exciting new ways we can change our communities and make them healthier. That alone is something of which to be proud! Congratulations to everyone who submitted an idea on their own, or who was part of a team submitting an idea! You, and the ideas you shared, are truly what makes our affiliate a brain trust for innovation.
What’s more, we now know that two of the four finalists selected to present their ideas in person are from Western States! Vice President of Multicultural Initiatives Sang-Mi Oh and Vice President of Advocacy Eric Batch were selected for the final round of competition.
- Sang-Mi submitted an idea to engage community-based pharmacists in improving blood pressure control rates. Pharmacy-based comprehensive medication management is a way to expand healthcare outreach for ongoing conditions like hypertension.
- Eric’s idea is to forge partnerships between the community of Los Angeles and police officers on the beat, to start a walking program that provides a safe space for exercise and dialogue. The District Music Group will also be a partner to produce a fun video promoting the program.
Let’s all wish Sang-Mi and Eric the best of luck as they present their fabulous ideas to the judges! The final idea is expected to be selected for funding no later than January 2017.
Special congratulations to our Hawaii Government Relations and Communications and Marketing Director Don Weisman!
Don was recently honored at a Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii Meeting and Awards Luncheon. Don received an Appreciation Award for Outstanding Support and Dedication. He recently completed 20 years of service on the Coalition’s Board of Directors. A founding member of the Coalition, Don won the Coalition’s Advocate of the Year Award in 2006, the year he served as Policy Committee chair and helped spearhead the passage of the state’s Clean Indoor Air Law (which remains one of the most comprehensive in the nation).
Other wins during Don’s tenure on the Board included a tobacco tax increase to $3.20 per pack (fifth highest in the nation), smoke-free state parks and beaches, the first tobacco to 21 state law, a smoke-free public housing law, smoke-free state hospital campuses, county clean air laws including parks, beaches and bus stops, restricting smoking in cars when minors are present, and a smoke-free University of Hawaii campus policy. They’ve also successfully defended the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Special Fund from numerous attempted raids.
Congratulations, Don, we are proud to work with you!
The first victory involved our goal around Competitive Foods in Schools. We want to increase the number of states that have statewide policies for schools to implement the beverage and snack guidelines in for all foods sold in schools. California is the fourth state in the WSA to pass this policy. Nevada, Oregon and Utah have also passed Competitive Foods policies. California SB 1169 will greatly improve the health of the school food environment and will further ensure that schools inform parents about the content of the school’s local wellness policy and nutrition programs, including the competitive foods standards, and make the policy available in a manner which will be both cost effective and widely accessible to the public.
The second success involves the passage of California Assembly Bill 1696. To help save lives from tobacco addiction, AB 1696 requires tobacco cessation medications, counseling and assessments to be covered for Medi-Cal patients. This win caps a transformational year in California’s fight against the death and suffering caused by tobacco. From the package of bills that was signed in May to the $2 tobacco tax increase passed by voters in the November election, these policy wins will help to ensure California remains among the top states in combating the leading preventable cause of death.
Members of the AHA Western States Affiliate Communications and Marketing Team and Union Bank received a Prism Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Los Angeles Chapter for outstanding public relations work in the category, Strategic Campaigns and Programs, Community Relations, Associations/Nonprofits/Education. The team’s entry, Union of Hearts: Bringing a Healthy Message to the 2016 Rose Parade, was recognized for its collaborative efforts that resulted in more than 93 million media impressions, 3.3 million social media impressions and exposure to 700,000 parade spectators and more than 70 million viewers around the U.S. and internationally.
Key AHA project contributors included Senior Communications and Marketing Director Kristine Kelly, Communications and Marketing Director Elena de la Cruz, Digital Strategies Director Jacque Marianno and Communications and Marketing Director Tamara White. Great work, communicators!