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.
John Maa, MD, is Chair of the Western States Affiliate Advocacy Committee and also a member of the Greater Bay Area Board of Directors. In addition to being a general surgeon – he is also a steadfast advocate.
After three great health wins on the ballot last week (three Bay Area local soda taxes, a state tobacco tax and tighter gun control), he was featured in a KTVU FOX news story. The station contacted him to find out more about how political activism is a conduit to saving lives.
A stand out from the story is Dr. Maa’s philosophy on the key to success, the “three P’s:” patience, persistence and public education. We are so thankful for Dr. Maa and his passion for public health in both the medical and hospital world and through every day public policy change.
Thank you, Dr. Maa, for everything you do to support our mission!
What a great day for the Western States Affiliate. Our team of volunteers and staff have worked tirelessly for the last several months to support several ballot initiatives that will improve the health and wellness of our communities. I am happy to share that we were overwhelmingly successful!
Here is a summary of some of our initial results:
- Proposition 56 in California: Voters put California’s health and wellness first yesterday by overwhelmingly supporting Prop 56, which will raise the tax on tobacco products by $2 per pack.
Passage of this very important proposition will reduce the number of youth who become addicted to tobacco, increase the number of people who are able to quit smoking, and lessen the tragic and costly burden of death and disease that our state has borne for too long. The impact of their “Yes on 56” vote will be felt for generations.
- Sugary Drinks in Northern California: On a day of unprecedented moves, three Bay Area cities voted to put the health of children and family’s first.
This is how it broke out:
Albany #YesOnO1: 70.67%
San Francisco #YesOnV: 61.87%
Oakland #YesOnHH: 60.75%
It is estimated that the health of nearly 200,000 children will improve with the passage of these measures. If we add Berkeley (the first city in the nation to pass a sugary drinks tax) into the mix, that number rises to nearly 250,000 lives positively impacted. This number doesn’t include those adults living with Type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions associated with overconsumption of sugary drinks.
- Measure M in Los Angeles: Measure M, will use a half-cent sales tax increase to improve transportation and mobility options in LA County. We believe this measure will improve the health of residents by making it easier for people to walk, ride a bike and be active. With voters passing Measure M, we are on track to achieving the goal of transforming LA County into a community where the healthy choice to be active every day is the easy choice for all, regardless of where you live.
Measure M 69%
Studies have shown that people who live in walkable neighborhoods generally get more physical activity each week and have a lower risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other diseases, compared with those who live in communities that are less walkable.
- Ballot Question 5 in Las Vegas: Ballot Question 5 will generate significant revenue for walking and biking projects to help create a heart-healthier community.
Ballot 5 58%
This funding will help create a Culture of Health — a community where the healthy choice to be active every day is available to all Las Vegans. Question 5 will improve Clark County’s walkability and bike-ability by increasing access to bike lanes, repaving and building new sidewalks to make walking the neighborhood safer, planting more street trees, upgrading traffic signals and street lighting, and other projects in the Cities of North Las Vegas and Las Vegas.
As you know, changing public policy is key to driving us to our 2020 impact goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.
To all of our volunteer advocates: from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for the coalition meetings you attended, the calls you made, the social media posts you shared and the conversations that you had on our behalf. Thank you for helping us drive so many important policies to victory. Thank you for being a passionate, caring and thoughtful advocate. Your actions will save lives!
On October 27-28, the Phoenix Division held the first inaugural United Healthcare Conozca Su Corazón training for Community Health Workers and Promotoras in Arizona. This is the first of a three-year sponsorship and the first of its kind in our Arizona offices. The Conozca Su Corazón Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Program thrives with community empowerment. Conozca Su Corazón/ Know Your Heart CHWs are health advocates trained to serve the difficult-to-reach and largely uninsured Spanish-speaking populations at high risk for heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular diseases affects all Americans – but Latinos, where cultural diet, lifestyle and disproportionate lack of access to health care have made this demographic prime candidates for heart disease, diabetes, heart failure and early death.
Conozca Su Corazón: Community Health Workers Training Program are dedicated to changing the way people live — improving health and wellness. We have experienced great success through training people who live, work and play in those communities to become our Conozca Su Corazón mentors. The training focuses on learning by doing and is founded on core competencies, including Life’s Simple 7 prevention information, and the Check.Change.Control. community model for evaluative practice.
To enhance the impact of this program American Heart Association will continue to work with United Healthcare and each of the attendees in completing in at least four engagement activities in their own communities. They will also be sharing stories about their impact in their communities after going through our training. That is a potential 80 or more activities on heart health education that would have not happened otherwise without the support of sponsors like United Healthcare!
We also have plans to do a training for several people who are interested in training in Spanish! Great work, Team Arizona!
It’s not unusual for teens to oppose their parents, but last week in East San Jose, it was all in the name of healthy eating. In an epic cooking battle, 30 teens competed against their parents to celebrate the culmination of the first two sessions of the Teens Cook With Heart program, at Latino College Prep Academy. Prior to the event, the students met bi-weekly for an eight-week heart-healthy cooking class that taught them to prepare and cook healthy meals.
An audience of 200, consisting of community members, high school students and faculty witnessed the cook-off. Seven judges representing the food industry and school trustees sampled an entrée and a dessert created by the contestants using a tilapia (fish) as the main ingredient, and incorporating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, natural spices and ingredients. Parent and students were judged on taste, color, health benefits, affordability and teamwork. In the end, students won for both best entrée and best dessert.
The Teens Cook With Heart program instills the knowledge of living a healthy lifestyle and inspires students to develop a healthy relationship with food. The program hopes to encourage a love for cooking and healthy eating at an early age.