Now that our elected officials have returned to St. Paul, we are off and running in the advocacy department as well.
Before we jump right in and ask you to make those important phone calls and send those urgent emails to the legislature, here is a quick rundown of the issues we're going to be focusing on this legislative session.
· Prevent and Reduce Obesity – Main the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) funding
- Maintain the $35 million of current program funding. SHIP provides state funding to local communities to support local efforts for reducing tobacco use, and increasing opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating.
· Prevent and Reduce Obesity – Strengthen P.E. in Minnesota Schools
- Evidence demonstrates that healthy, active children are better learners. Yet schools continue to reduce the amount of physical education provided to our children. AHA advocates legislation that will strengthen physical education in schools across Minnesota.
· Active Transportation – Funding for Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure
- American Heart Association recommends sixty minutes of physical activity daily and bicycling and walking can provide a good opportunity for physical activity if it’s safe. AHA, as part of the Move MN campaign, will seek to pass a statewide comprehensive transportation bill that invests significant new funding in all modes of transportation including the first-ever dedicated funding for biking and walking to ensure we have the infrastructure and programs necessary to make it a safe choice to walk and bike.
· Stroke Systems of Care – Funding for the Minnesota Stroke Registry Program
- Secure state funding for the Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Unit at the MN Department of Health specifically to support the MN Stroke System, including support for the MN Stroke Registry Program, support for hospital designation, EMS and hospital training and a stroke hospital site visit program.
· Stroke Systems of Care – EMS Transport Protocols
- Seek legislation requiring EMS agencies to have written transfer protocols for Stroke patients that follow current national guidelines and best practices.
Sounds pretty ambitious, doesn't it? The American Heart Association believes that everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. That is our why. As always, we're going to need your help to be successful with these policy priorities, so as you look at the list above, ask yourself which of the issues fits in with your why.
Whatever the reason, if you’d like to get more involved and work hand-in-hand with us on any of these issues, please send me an email (email@example.com) or drop me a line (414-227-1410) anytime!