Mass. Sen. Pres. Spilka to join online AHA forum on June 7

By advocating for public policies that build healthier communities, we can all make a difference in people’s lives.

On Tuesday, June 7, at 11 a.m., you will have the chance to speak directly to a key Massachusetts policymaker – Senate President Karen Spilka – at an online legislative forum hosted by the American Heart Association.

American Heart Association volunteer advocates are invited to join the call to talk with Spilka about legislative proposals that will make Massachusetts a healthier place to live and work.


This year in Massachusetts, the American Heart Association is advocating for policies that will increase access to healthy foods and opportunities to exercise; improve the medical care of patients with cardiovascular diseases; reduce tobacco use; and create healthier environments in the places where people live, learn, work and play.

Some key proposals include:

  • Taxing drinks based on sugar content to drive down consumption of unhealthy sugary drinks.
  • Raising tobacco taxes and increasing funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
  • Ensuring stroke patients are transported to the hospital best equipped to treat them, rather than the hospital located closest to them.

Spilka, a Democrat who lives in Ashland, had what she said was a “mild stroke” on Nov. 15, 2021. Since then, Spilka has publicly supported American Heart Association-backed legislation that would designate hospitals into a tiered system based on their ability to treat strokes at different severity levels. This would ensure stroke patients are transported by ambulance to the hospital best equipped to treat them.

“Time is a critical factor when seeking treatment for stroke patients and this potentially life-saving bill would better prepare our health care system and our residents so that we are doing it in the most safe and efficient way possible,” Spilka said last month, according to State House News Service. “The Senate hopefully will redouble their efforts in getting some of that bill or all of it passed. Because again, if we could save one person’s life that will make it worthwhile.”

Stroke accounts for approximately 1 of every 19 deaths in the United States.  On average, someone dies of stroke every 3 minutes 30 seconds in the United States.

The June 7 legislative roundtable is the second in a two-part series. The first was held Tuesday, May 31, with state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, who chairs the budget-shaping House Ways and Means Committee.