Advocates Shine in North Carolina


On November 15th, the NC Advocacy Coordinating Committee held its fall/winter meeting. The committee undertook strategic planning for the 2015 session, heard presentations on healthy corner store initiatives and closing the coverage gap in our state, and set the calendar for upcoming advocacy events. In addition, this was a special time for the committee to celebrate the past year and present the annual advocacy awards.

The NC AHA Heart of a Champion Award was presented to Representative Yvonne Holley (D-Wake) by Chair, Yolanda Dickerson, Committee member Peg O'Connell, and Betsy Vetter, and is given to a decision maker who has made valuable contribution to moving the mission of the AHA through policy change. Representative Holley was recognized for her tireless work to promote policies that improve access to healthy foods and eliminate food deserts.

The committee also awarded the 2014 NC AHA Dr. Robert Blackburn Award for Advocacy Excellence to You're the Cure member, Mary Kay Ballasiotes. Mary Kay is a passionate and dedicated advocate for pediatric stroke survivors. She recently co-produced the video "A Stroke Can Happen Anytime" with the AHA/ASA, using the expertise of IAPS pediatric neurologists, and an infographic that is used to help others about stroke. She is an active member of the You're the Cure network and has attended both state and national lobby days in Raleigh, NC and Washington, DC. The award is named for Dr. Bob Blackburn, a retired educator who has been an AHA volunteer for more than forty years. He is also the past chair of the NC AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee that selected Ballasiotes as its recipient.

The NC AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee is looking forward to continuing to lead the work of You're the Cure in 2015. As volunteers, the Committee is dedicated to moving the AHA mission through the promotion of high impact public policies.

A healthier NC is why.

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