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Jan Collins, Madison

Our 2017-18 Mississippi Advocacy Committee is composed of individuals from across the state with different occupations, who have a great interest in advocating for policy change for heart-health issues. Throughout the year, we will introduce some of our members. Today, we'd like you to meet Jan Collins of Madison.

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Occupation: Executive Director of the Madison County Business League & Foundation

How long have you been a volunteer with the American Heart Association? Three years

Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the American Heart Association? I attended a Go Red For Women luncheon and was touched by the personal stories of survival and the success of the American Heart Association's efforts.

What heart-healthy issue is most important to you and why? Raising awareness among women of the warning signs of heart attacks and stroke, and how they differ from men’s warning signs. My mother, father and mother-in-law all died of heart disease and my husband was diagnosed with two blocked arteries before his death in a car crash.

What are two ways you stay healthy? I try to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle by working out and regularly exercising. I also have routine check-ups with all of my physicians and specialists.

In which way is your community healthy that makes you proud? My organization has worked closely with the American Heart Association and partnered with the Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition. Madison County, adopted a comprehensive smoke free ordinance on Monday, June 19. All four municipalities in Madison County have passed smoking bans, as well as, the non-incorporated areas of Madison County.  I worked closely with Rochelle Culp, Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition Director. We worked tirelessly for nearly two years to get this ordinance passed. This is a great step for the county, as it will create a healthier workforce and will therefore attract more businesses to the county.   

How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state? The mission of my organization is to unite the leading business owners, CEOs, presidents (decision makers) with elected/appointed officials on all levels from local to the Miss. delegation in D.C., to discuss topics that affect economic development such as healthcare, education, infrastructure and quality of life issues.

If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why? It’s cultural in Mississippi. Healthier food choices for all in the south. Our southern cuisine can still be delicious and enjoyed, just prepared in healthier ways. 

Do you have a favorite American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association event you annually attend? What is your motivation to participate? The Go Red For Women luncheon and all the Circle of Red events! I like to be informed so I can utilize my position to educate my family, friends and relatives.

What have you learned in your time being a You’re the Cure advocate? That the American Heart Association plays a more prominent role in advocating for healthy heart issues than the business community and public could ever imagine!

Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You’re the Cure? We have all been touched by heart disease of a family member, friend or co-worker. Be informed so you can be committed to eating and living a healthy lifestyle, if not for yourself, for your children and family.

Tell us a few unique things about yourself. I am a cancer survivor! I have cancer and heart disease in my immediate family. Some of my favorite activities include: Body Pump exercise class, going to the movies, local theatre, symphony performances, cooking, eating and tailgating in the Grove at Ole Miss in my Zebra Tent!

 

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