Dr. Jim Blaine of Springfield, MO, knows the importance of prevention. As the Medical Director of the Ozark Technical Community College Health & Wellness Clinic, he has seen cardiovascular events decrease over the last four years by helping patients focus on diet, exercise, and taking the proper medication to manage heart disease and stroke risk factors. And it is the theme of prevention that helped him make a strong case for the Safe Route to School program when he came to Washington, DC on March 7th.
With funding threats to the Safe Routes to School program looming, Dr. Blaine and 16 fellow advocates brought their message about the need for safe, walk-able and bike-able communities from their hometowns to the halls of Congress. Armed with letters of support from local business, education, and government leaders, Dr. Blaine met with Senator Roy Blunt and Representative Billy Long, as well as staff from Senator Claire McCaskill’s office.
“This is a very worthwhile project and, thanks to the AHA, we had an enjoyable and, hopefully, effective DC experience,” said Dr. Blaine.
On March 29th, both the House and the Senate passed a 90 extension of the current transportation bill, giving Members until June 30th to reach an agreement. The American Heart Association will continue to advocate for Safe Routes to School funding to be included in the final package.