Advocates Rally at 2024 New York City Lobby Day

On Thursday, May 23, the American Heart Association hosted its annual Lobby Day at New York City Hall. More than 30 volunteers rallied together to visit their elected officials and advocate for CPR training in schools, increased accessibility to self-monitoring blood pressure equipment, and the inclusion of healthy options on NYC kids’ meal menus.

Greg Mihailovich, the AHA’s Community Advocacy Director, led a training for the volunteers at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office on the importance of advocacy and tips for how to advocate effectively. The training also included an inspiring personal testimony from Tabitha Ellis, AHA volunteer and Chair of the Association’s NYC Advocacy Committee. Ellis, a heart disease and stroke survivor, emphasized the vital role that personal stories play in advocacy.

After the advocacy training, the volunteers broke up into smaller groups and headed to their councilmember’s offices. Ellis and her group visited Keith Powers (District 4), Julie Menin (District 5), and Erik Bottcher (District 3). Each advocate spoke from the heart with his or her councilmember about our three priority causes for this legislative session.

One of the day’s asks was for the New York City Council to dedicate $500,000 to ensure that NYC high school students receive proper CPR and AED training as part of their CPR in Schools graduation requirement.

The American Heart Association has learned that many schools do not have the resources to provide this training. Allocating funds to schools for materials and equipment needed for effective CPR training increases the likelihood that a person experiencing cardiac arrest outside of a hospital will survive.

Another item on the advocates’ docket was the $1 million ask to invest in New York City’s self-monitoring blood pressure program. In July 2023, the City Council passed legislation which requires the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) support making at-home blood pressure machines available at no cost to the public at federally qualified health centers in five high-need areas. With this suggested investment, we estimate that 2.5 million New Yorkers struggling with hypertension will have increased access to better health.

The third item on the agenda was urging councilmembers to support and pass Intro 641-2024. This legislation will ensure that NYC restaurants offer a children’s menu inclusive of at least two healthy options, with the goal of increasing the health of our children. A similar bill creating more healthy choices for drinks on the children’s menu passed in 2019, making the default beverage served with children’s meals a healthy one.

Thank you to our volunteers, elected officials and staff who made our 2024 New York City Lobby Day possible. If you’d like to lend your voice, you can become an advocate by visiting

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