My name is Martha Auster and I am thrilled to join Kristin Salvi and Robin Vitale to complete the expanded government relations team for New York State!
I first witnessed the extraordinary reach of American Heart Association volunteers and staff early in my public affairs career when I was a staff member at the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. During this time, I collaborated with the AHA to achieve significant public policy victories in state tobacco control. From the voluntary health world my work lead to the provider sector where I had the privilege of advocating on behalf of NYS physicians as a lobbyist for the Medical Society of the State of NY. I am most proud of leading a legislative campaign that secured passage of legislation to require newborn hearing screening in New York State. All of this experience, plus several years in the biotechnology industry, gives me the foundation to lead the AHA engagement on issues related to emergency response, systems of care and assuring access to the best treatment for heart disease and stroke patients.
The “Life is Why” focus (learn more here ) of the AHA has particular resonance for me as both of my parents died from heart disease. My dear father had a massive myocardial infarction and despite the best efforts of EMS, could not be revived. He diligently made healthy lifestyle choices but simply could not overcome a strong genetic predisposition to heart disease. My mother was a life-long smoker and despite several attempts to quit, she was unable to break her nicotine addiction and ultimately died of a ruptured aorta. My story is far from unique, therefore to honor the lives of my parents and to secure a healthy future for my children, foe me “Family is Why.” I look forward to working with the amazing AHA advocacy volunteers to achieve Mission 2020.