Tuesday, April 12, 2011

AHA Honors Advocates of the Year

On April 11th, the American Heart Association honored its 2011 Advocates of the Year at the Heroes Luncheon held at You’re the Cure on the Hill. The awards were presented by Debra Lockwood, Chair, and Nancy Brown, CEO. These outstanding advocates have demonstrated their commitment to advancing the mission of the Association through their advocacy work on the local, state, and federal levels. Congratulations to this year’s awardees.

2011 Science Advocate of the Year- Dr. Stephen Cook

Dr. Stephen Cook from Fairpoint, New York “embodies the ideals of translational research”. He was instrumental in developing the Healthi Kids initiative in Monroe County and its policy agenda to reverse childhood obesity. This coalition involved community, government and academic sectors to increase physical activity and improve nutrition for children. Dr. Cook is also the Chairman of the childhood Obesity Committee for the New York State chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; serves on state and national committees of the American Heart Association; and is a member of the National Advocacy Task Force of The Obesity Society.

2011 Survivor Advocate of the Year- Cindy Flynn

Cindy Flynn from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania has actively and enthusiastically participated in association events and has been an unstoppable advocate for heart and stroke issues. As a four-time stroke survivor and a passionate You’re the Cure advocate, she has established strong relationships with lawmakers to help advance heart disease and stroke legislation. She takes her role and responsibilities as a Pennsylvania State Advocacy Committee Field Representative very seriously and reaches out to advocacy staff regularly with updates about the work she is doing. She has also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the association’s Great Rivers Affiliate and been recognized for her efforts to engage federal and state officials in Go Red for Women activities and policy issues.

2011 Volunteer Advocate of the Year- Newt Williams

In addition to his passion, Newt Williams of Nashville, Tennessee has brought his extensive knowledge of the legislative process and relationships with key officials to his work as a You’re the Cure advocate. He played a key role in the passage of local menu labeling regulations and has actively advocated for accessible and affordable health care for all Americans. He has served as a spokesperson and a media advocate- and takes every opportunity to educate others on our issues and recruit new advocates.

2011 Youth Advocate of the Year- Abby Michaelsen

Abby Michaelsen of Newport Beach, California has been a role model to other young people in her community and has demonstrated amazing leadership in educating and helping others live healthier lives. After losing her father to heart disease, Abby became an advocate for the association to help prevent heart disease in her community. In 2009, she founded Newport Harbor High School’s first Heart and Health Club and since then over 50 students have regularly organized community events including a Heart Month health fair and the Great American Smokeout. She has mobilized her peers to get the message out on tobacco-free legislation and testified to policymakers to support smoke-free parks. Abby has even developed a “Start Your Own Heart Club Toolkit”, so that students at other local schools can start and run their own clubs.

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