The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and voluntary led organization in the United States. Their mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources.
Katie Schumacher, Executive Director, explained that our focus is to provide resources for the community to live a longer, healthier life. This past year, we trained 31,000 community members in hands-only CPR. The AHA, along with other key volunteers, organizations, and legislators, were the relentless force behind the lifesaving CPR in Schools bill. The bill requires all schools to implement CPR training to all graduating seniors. Because of your support, more children are equipped with the knowledge to act when someone is in need. We are also advocating for our community members’ health by working on tobacco legislation, food financing and other health incentives.
In addition to our advocacy work, we are working with local healthcare systems and EMS to ensure the best quality care for patients in the Lowcountry. Our Get with the Guidelines program and Mission Lifeline initiative encourages physicians and first responders to use research-based guidelines when treating patients. These quality improvement programs impacted cardiovascular disease treatments for 3,000 patients. Last year, 300 clinics were recognized by our blood pressure program: Target BP.
We are also investing in our youth to take the necessary steps toward a healthier life. More than 4,700 students in the tri-county area participated in our Kids Heart Challenge, which prepares kids for success by supporting their physical and emotional wellbeing.
We are proud to partner with well-known companies that have a huge impact in the Lowcountry. Our local “Life is Why” sponsors are MUSC Health and the InterTech Group, and Blackbaud is our community health sponsor. They all are valuable sponsors that are committed to building a healthier community with us.
We are very proud to fund lifesaving research that impacts our Charleston community. The American Heart Association is currently funding more than $4 million of groundbreaking research that targets health disparities right here in the Lowcountry. We are also supporting research at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina. Right now, MUSC Health researchers are exploring the relationship between Alzheimer’s and heart disease, researching health disparities in stroke, researching connectivity and motor recovery after stroke, among many others.
We offer several heart-healthy events to the community throughout the year. Our core events are the Lowcountry Heart Walk, Hard Hats with Heart, Charleston Heart Ball and the Go Red for Women luncheon. The Lowcountry Heart Walk is set for Spring 2020, the Charleston Heart Ball is on May 1, 2020, and the Go Red for Women Luncheon will take place in June 2020.
We are excited to be an active member of the Obesity, Nutrition and Physical Activity Subcommittee of the Tri-County Health Improvement Plan (TCHIP). Healthy Tri-County is a vital part of improving the health of our community by promoting the benefits of collective impact strategies among all their partners. The impact will be far reaching and have lasting results for years to come. We are looking forward to collaborating with local leaders and organizations as we work to build a healthier community!
If you want to learn more about the American Heart Association, head to heart.org/lowcountry or email AHACHS@heart.org.