Get to know Indiana advocacy staffer Alex Meixner!
hero_image_alt_text===Pic of Alex Meixner
thumbnail_alt_text===Pic of Alex Meixner
How long have you been with the American Heart Association?
I joined the AHA in September of 2010, initially working on advocacy issues in Illinois out of our Chicago office.
What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?
I’ve probably spent the most time working on policies aimed at improving the emergency care of stroke and CVD patients, increasing CPR instruction rates, and increasing insurance coverage, and in all of those cases it’s the stories of individuals and families that stick with me and drive the work forward. That said, the more I work on prevention issues the more excited I get about the potential to really make a generational change for the better, especially with regard to helping folks eat better and smoke less.
What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?
There are lots to choose from, but the memory that springs to mind is the passage of a CPR in Schools law in Illinois a few years ago. We had run into a brick wall of objections from legislators who didn’t want to put any additional educational mandates on the books, but luckily we had volunteer leaders who wouldn’t take no for an answer and drove a truck through that brick wall. George and Mary Laman had lost their daughter Lauren to an in-school sudden cardiac arrest when no one know how to do CPR or how to use an AED. The Laman’s were determined to pass what became the Lauren Laman CPR and AED Training Law, and they made sure that legislators knew the cost of inaction. We were also fortunate to be joined by Harry Bell, a high-school student who had used the CPR he’d learned at school to save his father’s life when he had collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest. The Bells made sure that legislators know just how effective in-school CPR training could be. The one-two volunteer punch overcame all opposition, and hundreds of thousands of high-school students are now trained as life-savers every year.
What is your favorite way to be active?
While I enjoy taking the time to get out for a run or into the gym (though those opportunities are definitely harder to come by then they used to be), most of my physical activity these days is running around after my two sons (Emmett is 3-and-a-half, Ellis is 9 months).
What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?
I’ve rarely met a meal I didn’t like, so I’ve tried to make sure that at least half of my plate is green whenever I can. Spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, whatever (preferably with some hot sauce on top).