Greater Washington Region Public Policy Agenda Strives Toward Equitable Health for All

For nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease and stroke by pioneering scientific discovery, community impact and public policies that help our families and communities thrive. Over 50 million people in the United States face a higher risk of heart disease because they lack access to the most basic needs, and across the DC area, a quarter of adults have hypertension, one-in-four kids use tobacco products, and 10% of residents are food insecure.

We’re advocating for lifesaving legislation that will increase access to healthy and affordable food, build a Nation of Lifesavers through CPR and AED awareness, protect the next generation from being hooked by Big Tobacco and more.

In 2024, the Greater Washington Region will advance equitable health for all by:

  • Keeping kids in DC fed for success through free, healthy school meals for all.
  • Securing funding for CPR education in schools, which trains more than 160,000 local lifesavers each year across the DMV.
  • Making water more accessible in schools.
  • Ensuring accessible AEDs and cardiac emergency response plans (CERPs) are in place wherever our kids learn, grow and play the sports they love.
  • Expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
  • Supporting the equitable implementation and enforcement of DC’s law prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco – including menthol and e-cigarettes.

“We can only achieve the realization of our full health potential by focusing our vision, our voices and our votes on health equity. To achieve health equity, we know that we must address the conditions in which people are born, grow, learn, live, play, pray and age,” Greater Washington Region Board member Yolandra Hancock, MD, MPH said. “Our chances of good health are driven by our choices… How can we survive or thrive if our food choices are limited to food swamps and food deserts? That’s why the American Heart Association works diligently to tackle disparities and fight for health equity.”

This equity-centered agenda builds on our recent impact in the Greater Washington Region, including helping pass legislation that:

  • Requires training for DC’s 911 call takers to provide CPR instructions over the phone.
  • Makes the healthy choice the easy choice for over 2 million Prince George’s and Montgomery County residents by expanding healthy food and drink options on restaurant kids’ meal menus.
  • Gives SNAP a Raise through a 10% monthly cash increase, enabling more DC residents to stretch their dollars to afford healthy, fresh produce.
  • Improves maternal health outcomes by extending Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months.
  • Funds the enforcement of DC’s historic flavored tobacco law.
  • Connects patients at risk of diet-related conditions with the fresh fruits and vegetables they need to thrive.

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

View the entire 2024 Greater Washington Region Policy Agenda or learn more about our local impact.