For nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association (AHA) has opened doors to equitable health through policy and system changes that save and improve lives. When it comes to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, a lot is at stake, especially in the Greater Washington Region where approximately a quarter of adults have hypertension, one-in-four kids use tobacco products, and 10% of residents are food insecure.
As champions for health equity, we are advancing cardiovascular health for all by identifying and removing barriers to quality care, expanding access to nutritious and affordable food, and protecting future generations from the harmful effects of tobacco products.
The Greater Washington Region recently introduced its 2023 public policy agenda focused on:
- Making water more accessible in schools.
- Supporting universal access to healthy school meals so that all children have the nutritious fuel they need to live healthy lives.
- Securing funding for CPR education in schools, which trains over 160,000 new lifesavers each year in DC, MD, and VA.
- Expanding self-measured blood pressure coverage for Medicaid patients with hypertension.
- Increasing access to healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables for SNAP enrollees.
- Protecting communities from Big Tobacco through equitable enforcement and implementation of DC’s law restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products.
“Alongside our You’re the Cure advocates and coalition partners, we are advancing equitable health for all in the Greater Washington Region,” said Dr. Federico Asch, immediate past president of the AHA Greater Washington Region Board of Directors. “Through these priorities, we are committed to ensuring everyone, everywhere has the opportunity for a longer, healthier life.”
This equity-focused agenda builds on the AHA’s community health impact in 2022, including newly enacted legislation that:
- Restricts the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and menthol, in the District.
- Requires training for DC’s 911 call takers to effectively provide CPR instructions over the phone, to increase bystander CPR and cardiac arrest survival rates.
- Expands healthy food and drink options on restaurant kids’ menus, impacting over 2 million people in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.
- Improves outcomes in maternal health by expanding Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months.
- Enables low-income DC residents to access healthy food through the District’s Produce Rx program.
This impact is possible through the support of community advocates pushing forward policies that have an undeniable impact where people live, work, and play. To get involved, visit https://www.yourethecure.org/.
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