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AHA Announces 2021-22 Florida Advocacy Committee

The American Heart Association, a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives, this week announced its 2021-2022 Florida Advocacy Committee. The focus of the action-oriented group will be on developing, supporting and promoting state and local policy priorities within the framework of the American Heart Association as well as Voices for Healthy Kids.

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Among the several returning and new members are longtime advocates of the American Heart Association, doctors, government relations professionals, community leaders, survivors of stroke, retired law enforcement, firefighters and caregivers.

Members of the 2021-2022 Florida Advocacy Committee include:

  • Chair Latonja Richardson (Jacksonville), community volunteer and advocate for women and girls
  • Vice Chair Marsha Kiner (Tallahassee), executive director, Association of Florida Colleges
  • Christie Bruner (St. Petersburg), community engagement supervisor, Healthy St. Pete and the City of St. Petersburg
  • Frank G. Fernandez (Miami), chief of police (Ret.), director of public safety/assistant, city manager (Frm.)
  • Dr. Kerry Hyman M.S., O.D. (Orlando), Florida Eye Clinic
  • Dr. Yvette Lowery, DNP, MSN/Ed., FNP-c, CCRN, CEN, PCCN (Jacksonville), nurse practitioner (emergency room), North Florida Regional Medical Center; Norfolk State University alumni and member of NCNW Jacksonville Section and Chi Eta Phi Sorority Inc.
  • John Mouw (South Florida), director, Interprofessional and Allied Health Education Center for the Advancement of Learning, Baptist Health South Florida
  • Dr. Robert Sanchez, M.D. (St. Petersburg), medical director, The Heart Institute
  • Carl Shank (St. Augustine), fire rescue chief-projects, St. Johns County Fire Rescue, St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners
  • Crystal Collins Spencer, Esq. (Pensacola), Spencer Law
  • Brian Sullivan (Orlando), government relations manager, AdventHealth
  • Anita Wilborn, MD, PA (Palm Beach County), diplomat, American Board of Internal Medicine

“I am a long-time volunteer for the American Heart Association and feel personally connected to its work, myself being a survivor of stroke,” said Chair Latonja Richardson, who has served on the State Advocacy Committee for several years. “I am proud to serve alongside my fellow committee members and will be dedicated in our work to develop equitable health policies in Florida.”

The State Advocacy Committee serves as the advisory body to volunteers and staff on public policy issues -- the committee works with the government relations director to establish policy priorities each year. American Heart Association public policy priorities will be related to and may include issues connected to heart attack and stroke funding, health equity, telecommunicator CPR, tobacco cessation coverage and Medicaid postpartum coverage. Committee members will meet regularly to discuss advocacy and grassroots strategies and tactics, and they will engage in campaign activities to drive public policy success.

“I am honored to work with the State Advocacy Committee and I know their expertise, experiences and passion will be valuable in supporting the American Heart Association’s policy work in Florida throughout the year,” said Tiffany McCaskill Henderson, Florida government relations director for the American Heart Association.

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