Aloha, I’m Don Weisman, the American Heart Association’s Hawaii Government Relations and Mission:Lifeline Director. I’m not a doctor, but when people ask me what I do for the AHA, my first response is that I help to save and improve lives. It’s what every volunteer and staff member at the AHA does, some more directly than others.
Through my government relations role, I work with volunteers to help implement public policies aimed at improving health in our communities. In my Mission:Lifeline role I work with volunteers to improve and optimize our state’s system of care for treating heart attack patients. You’ll note that the overlapping connection between both parts of my job is the key role that volunteers play in our work. Without volunteers lending their expertise, community connections, and labor, it would be difficult if not impossible for the AHA to meet its 10-year 2020 goal to improve cardiovascular health by 20 percent, and reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke by 20 percent.
You may question what skills you can offer in saving lives, but everyone has an ability to help the AHA move toward achieving its goals. I encourage you to get involved, meet the other volunteers who inspire me each day in my work, and realize your potential to help improve and save lives. Helping others, you’ll find, will help you to fulfill an important niche in your life…making a difference.