Advocate Spotlight: John Potvin

Captain John Potvin is a firefighter/paramedic who serves as Director of Emergency Medical Services and Deputy Emergency Management Director for the East Providence Fire Department in Rhode Island. John has been a You’re the Cure advocate for more than a decade – and to say that he goes above and beyond as a volunteer is an understatement!

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John is currently immediate-past chair of the AHA’s Rhode Island Advocacy Committee, and he has also served on the Southern New England Board of Directors.

John’s passion for our advocacy initiatives is unparalleled. He is incredibly generous with his time and has spent countless hours at the Rhode Island State House fighting to advance our policy priorities. His persistence and perseverance have led to many victories over the years. 

“As a firefighter and paramedic, I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Advocacy provides an ability to make a difference by influencing federal, state, and local policy to help make our communities healthier. Through these actions we can help Americans build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”- John

John spearheaded Rhode Island’s CPR in Schools campaign; helped secure passage and implementation of the Stroke Prevention and Treatment Act; helped secure funding for the state’s 911 system to address serious deficiencies and training needs; and most recently helped lead efforts to enact T-CPR legislation that requires all 911 operators to be trained and certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) and prepared to provide CPR instruction over the phone in the event of a cardiac arrest.

Though his passion lies with emergency cardiovascular care, that hasn’t stopped John from fighting for other policy priorities on the prevention side. John has testified on tobacco issues, never hesitating to take on tobacco industry lobbyists, convenience store owners and e-cigarette retailers. He has also advocated for strong school nutrition standards, water access in schools, healthy restaurant kids’ meals and bike/pedestrian funding. John has been a local media spokesperson for the AHA for many years.

He also chairs the RI Ambulance Service Advisory Board and serves on the RI Stroke Task Force. John was awarded the 2020 Eastern States Leadership Legacy Award in recognition of his tremendous work on behalf of the organization.

We thank John for all of his help and leadership in American Heart Association’s advocacy work!

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