Meet Tracy Russell, Government Relations Director for Kansas and Missouri.
What brought you to be an advocate for the AHA?
Heart disease has been my family’s legacy and curse. My Dad had a quadruple bypass at the age of 60, saving his life. He continues to thrive today. I am so thankful for the medical advances that AHA has invested in that advocacy seemed a natural fit.
What Issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?
I am passionate about tobacco control and have worked to drive down use rates for a number of nonprofits. Tobacco use is the single, most preventable cause of death and I will continue to make noise on this critical issue!
What is a favorite advocacy memory so far and what made it great?
Coordinating the effort that resulted in a statewide smoke-free law in Kansas is my best memory! Changing our cultural norms and moving the health needle makes all the work worth it! After passage, I visited with a waitress in Pittsburgh, KS who said, unprompted, that the smoke free law had so changed her quality of life at work.
Favorite way to be active?
I like to walk with friends so I can do as much chatting as walking! As the mother of two active boys, I am constantly moving!
Favorite fruit or vegetable?
I never pass on cherries in the summertime and munch on carrots when I crave a healthy snack.