American Heart Association

The WSA Exchange

For healthy hearts and minds

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.

“Healthy Selfie” photos are already coming in!

The “Healthy Selfie” photos are already coming in – thank you to everyone who has already shared!

We’ve had some questions, so I wanted to clarify quickly on the contest: I am happy to include all pictures that show how you are living a healthy lifestyle this summer, however, for contest and prize purposes, the ones that will be considered must be selfies taken after the contest start of June 19th.

Healthy Selfie Melissa Morales paddle board


Melissa Morales and her pup Koa enjoyed some water time on a stand-up paddle board. Melissa shared that she and her husband try to get out a few times a week. This picture was taken in Dana Point Harbor. Way to involve the whole family in summertime exercise!


Kristine Kelly healthy selfie Los Angles stairs


Kristine Kelly and her brother took their parents to one of Los Angeles’s “secret stairs.” This one in Silverlake, was recently named “Esther’s Steps” in memory of a Danish immigrant and avid pedestrian who loved to walk these stairs to visit with friends in the neighborhood. Kristine shared that she was so proud because her mom and dad (both age 70) conquered the 246-step stairway with ease and a smile on their faces!

Healthy Selfie Patty Riddle and friends rock climbing



Patty Riddle recently went on her first outdoor rock climbing trip. She picture shown is of her climbing “Last Temptation Cliff,” and the group picture is in beautiful Castle Rock State Park (Los Gatos, CA). The friends hiked into the park at 9 a.m. and climbed until 7 p.m.! Patty shared that it “was the perfect way to spend the summer solstice weekend.”



blog Karen Hake and her daughter in New York CityWhile visiting her daughter Elizabeth in New York City, Karen Hake said they walked miles! This shot was taken from the Williamsburg Bridge that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn. Keep walking, Karen!

Hawaii beat is a hit

It seems we just can’t get enough good Hawaii news this week…

Hawaii beat - #beathi aussieinhi instagramThe Hawaii division’s new young professionals’ event beat debuted with great success, surpassing the revenue goal of $60,000 while providing a hip social affair with more than 300 of Hawaii’s top young leaders. It was a party with a purpose, and guests enjoyed food, fun, fashion and philanthropy in support of our mission.

Beat was the site of Hawaii’s first SideWalk CPR training, with 165 people trained in hands-only CPR, 60 signed sodium pledges, and 70+ sign-ups for advocacy Hawaii beat jackiekatsusauce #beathi instagramsupport to make CPR a high school graduation requirement. Beat party goers are committed to our cause!

Thank you to our event chair Lance Kaneshiro and members of HYPe (Heart’s Young Professional execs) for their outstanding contributions to the fundraising and organization of beat, and to our event sponsors including presenting sponsor UHA Health Insurance.  This is a beat we don’t want to miss, and we can’t wait until next year!

Hawaii beart #beathi surfhunni

Historic advocacy victory in Hawaii – minimum age for tobacco purchase raised to 21!

say no to tobaccoWhat a pleasure it is to share a historic victory for our Advocacy team and its awesome Hawaii volunteers! Governor David Ige has signed legislation making Hawaii the first state in the nation to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco or e-cigarettes to 21!

The entire Hawaii division staff and their You’re the Cure volunteers rallied to support our Advocacy team’s expertise pushing forward this legislation. Don Weisman led the charge, with strong grassroots support by Grace Henscheid and Kami Sutton.

The Institute of Medicine recently reported that increasing the legal purchasing age to 21 will likely prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults and will help keep new generations from starting to use tobacco. Two other WSA states have taken a step in that direction – Alaska and Utah now require tobacco purchasers to be at least 19 years old.

Congratulations to Don, Grace, Kami and the entire Hawaii division staff and volunteers on this groundbreaking victory in Hawaii!

Hawaii raises tobacco purchase age to 21

Los Angeles Heart & Stroke Ball Raises More Than $432,000

Los Angeles Heart & Stroke Ball with Space Shuttle EndeavorClose to 400 guests gathered under the magnificent Space Shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center in Los Angeles for the American Heart Association’s second annual Heart & Stroke Ball. The event raised more than $432,000 for the mission.

The event, chaired by Union Bank Managing Director and Regional President Leticia Aguilar, and presented by Toyota, included a special musical performance by comic, singer and Emmy Award-winning actor Wayne Brady who got people on the dance floor with lively renditions that included a spontaneous song improv.

Two community leaders were honored for their contributions to creating a culture of health in LA’s diverse community – Richard Cordova, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, whose remarkable legacy spans 40 years of service in the health care industry, and Robi Reed, vice president of talent and casting for Black Entertainment Television and founder of Reed for Hope Foundation, which addresses health disparities in communities.

Thank you to all of the volunteers and staff who helped make this a special night for so many!

Wayne Brady with people at the Los Angeles Heart & Stroke Ball on the dance floor