Since March, when I began working at American Heart Association as in Intern in the Advocacy Department, I have learned a lot about the work that goes into passing legislation that reflects the mission of the organization. Staff, volunteers, and members of the state legislature all work tirelessly to pass legislation to benefit the general public when it comes to community health. The AHA is a leader in advancing public policies that improve cardiovascular health.
This year, in my home state, the American Heart Association worked with lawmakers to pass a bill (HB-897) to ensure that all Texas high school students will receive basic CPR training before graduating. I went to high school here in Texas, and received this training before I graduated. What I didn’t realize is that not everyone had the opportunity to receive this valuable training.
Including this in the curriculum of all graduating students in the state of Texas will guarantee that a large group of people will have a better understanding of potentially-lifesaving measures that can be applied to an emergency situation.
According to the AHA website, as of 2011, as much as 70% of the population feels helpless and unaware of what to do during a cardiac emergency. This bill will hopefully reduce that figure, and secure the confidence of more bystanders to perform CPR in the event of a medical crisis.
One of the things that stood out to me while observing this campaign (and all the others from the most recent legislative sessions across the affiliate) was the impact that volunteers can have on a campaign. From live testimony in front of a legislative committee, to signing cards to be taken to state representatives, volunteers can effectively demonstrate the importance of an issue to lawmakers.
This realization motivates me to continue to volunteer at AHA events, and contact my legislative representatives in support of AHA- legislation.