How the American Heart Association Works to Improve Michiganders' Cardiovascular Health

How the American Heart Association Works to Improve Michiganders’ Cardiovascular Health

The American Heart Association’s (AHA) mission to fight heart disease and stroke is close to our heart, no pun intended. The organization has advocacy arms nationwide, and Michigan is no exception. Find out how the AHA works to protect your heart in the Great Lakes state.

They fought to require CPR training in schools. Michigan became the 35th state to require high schoolers to take CPR training as a graduation requirement. Governor Rick Snyder signed the new law in December 2016. The requirement also stipulates that students learn how to use automated external defibrillators beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. The result will be about 100,000 more CPR-trained state residents every year.

They’re committed to changing the health of all Michigan residents. Staff and advocacy volunteers work together to get issues that affect the cardiovascular health of Michiganders in front of lawmakers. Childhood obesity, tobacco control, and cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment funding are just a few of the many ways the AHA is working hard for the health of everyone in Michigan.

They invest in research at Michigan hospitals and universities. From 2010 to 2014, the AHA funded over $17.4 million in research that included 150 studies. Grantees included Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University and Beaumont Health System. Almost $145 million a year is spent nationally on heart and stroke research that has led to breakthroughs such as clot-busting drugs.

They inspire new parents to think about heart health. Through their Little Hats, Big Hearts program, a partnership with The Children’s Heart Foundation, they distribute tiny red hats to new babies born in February at participating Michigan hospitals. Volunteers knit and crochet the hats as a way to raise awareness about heart-healthy lifestyles and congenital heart defects.     

They put the fun in fundraising and creatively raise awareness. Whether it’s students jumping rope to raise dollars, using well-attended local events such as Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize to promote walking, or in-person appearances by Sneaky Salt to educate Michigan residents about hidden sodium in foods, the Michigan chapters of the AHA are clever and committed about their mission. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud to sponsor the annual Go Red for Women luncheon in Grand Rapids this Friday, Feb. 24, where local women will bid on “Purse-inality” packages and don their favorite red athletic wear. We’ll also have a presence at the Detroit luncheon on Friday, March 3, and the Metro Detroit Heart Walk on Sat., May 20.

Like what the AHA does in Michigan? Consider volunteering for the chapter closest to you.

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Photo credit: Glenn Lascuña

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