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Advocate Spotlight: Matt Prokop

Access to Health Care and Tobacco Prevention is why

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What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American Heart Association often partner together on several important health related pieces of legislation on the local, state, and federal levels. These issues may include improving access to health care and tobacco prevention. I've had the privilege of working with AHA staff and volunteers through a variety of different advocacy activities in Nebraska through my six years with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. While we have made great strides in tobacco prevention which include having a strong smoke-free law in Nebraska, there is a great deal of work we need to accomplish to save more lives and reduce tobacco use among our citizens. Working on tobacco prevention campaigns often gives us the opportunity to work with youth. To see the passion and creativity from these advocates in their work is truly inspiring and uplifting.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

In 2018, the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and the American Lung Association hosted a coalition day at the capitol event in Nebraska on tobacco prevention. Getting the opportunity to join together to work on such an important issue in public health was a great experience. The work from these advocates at this event assisted our efforts to get a $500,000 increase in appropriations for the Tobacco Free Nebraska program.

What is your favorite way to be active?

I enjoy any opportunity to play sports. Whether it being hitting the links for a round of golf or playing basketball with my friends I love the competitive nature of athletics.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable and any tips for how you serve or prepare it?

I enjoy including several fruits and vegetables in my diet. My favorite would be asparagus that I cook inside seasoned chicken breast.

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