John Adams High School recognized by American Heart Association as Queens first CPR Smart School

The American Heart Association joined with school officials to announce John Adams High School has been designated Queens first CPR Smart School.

CPR Smart is an initiative by the American Heart Association to encourage high schools to require hands-only CPR training as part of either Health or Physical Education classes so that every student is prepared to respond to cardiac emergencies.

“I applaud John Adams High School for pioneering the CPR Smart initiative in Queens and becoming the borough’s first CPR Smart school,” said Physical Education Teacher, Ms. Josephine Nasta “I am looking forward to seeing even more of our borough’s schools equip students with these lifesaving tools.”

“John Adams High School is proud to be designated as Queens first CPR Smart School,” stated Principal Daniel Scanlon. “Science shows that the first few minutes are critical when it comes to responding to a cardiac emergency.  Together with the American Heart Association, we are preparing all of our students to respond quickly and responsibly in order to help save a life.  As a result, we expect Queens will be a safer place to live and work.”

“Heart disease is our city’s leading cause of death, with more than 325,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring annually in the United States,” stated Sean Scott, Community Grassroots Specialist for the American Heart Association.  “Unfortunately, about 90 percent of victims in our city do not survive.  With so few New Yorkers knowing how to do CPR, this is a crisis we hope to help fix.  These students today will become tomorrow’s lifesavers.”

Students will be taught the basic essentials regarding Hands-Only CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator.) Students will learn how to identify someone in sudden cardiac arrest, when to call 911, the importance of early Hands-Only CPR and the use of an AED. Students will be asked to perform a demonstration of the psychomotor skills necessary for quality chest compressions.

The American Heart Association has worked for years to have a CPR in Schools policy in place for New York high schools. Currently, twenty-one other states have implemented this training standard for high school students.  The training can be achieved in a number of ways that entail little or no cost for schools.  This winter, the FDNY announced they would devote significant training resources for schools to train their students.

Teachers do not have to be certified to help train students.  Just 30 minutes of time at some point over the 4 years of a student’s high school education, and the willingness to partner with available resources, and schools can comply with the training standard.

John Adams High School received a certificate of merit, an “honor roll” mention on the American Heart Association social media sites and CPR Smart window signage to proudly display.

A school can become a CPR Smart School by adopting a written policy that ensures students:

  •  learn how to recognize when someone is in possible cardiac arrest,
  •  learn hands-only CPR and practice compressions
  •  learn the importance and basics of an AED. Student certification is not required.

For an application or more information to become a CPR Smart School contact the American Heart Association’s Senior Government Relations Director Robin Vitale at robin.vitale@heart.org###


Healthy Memorial Day Tips from the American Heart Association

The long Memorial Day weekend is sure to be filled with picnics and barbeques. Choosing healthier foods and staying active can make for a healthier Memorial Day weekend, according to the American Heart Association.

Eating a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, the #1 and #5 leading causes of death in the nation. Studies show that up to 80% of cardiovascular events can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes, like walking more and eating healthier. The American Heart Association offers these tips for a heart-healthy Memorial Day weekend.

Don’t sit – get fit! The AHA recommends 30 minutes of physical activity daily for adults and 60 minutes for children. Plan a group hike or load up on sports equipment for your picnics to keep everyone active this holiday. Get up out of the lawn chairs and join in the fun with frisbees, basketballs, kickballs, traditional lawn games — all easily packable and enjoyed by adults and kids alike. To complete your heart-healthy Memorial Day, go out for a family walk after dinner and enjoy a parade honoring our armed services.

Eat Healthier! Here are the American Heart Association’s tips for healthy dining:

  • Go for broiled or grilled fish twice per week, including omega-3-rich salmon, trout and herring
  • Buy skinless chicken breasts & turkey or poultry burgers
  • Grilling red meats?  Choose “loin” and “round” cuts of red meat and pork and trim visible fat when you get home. Aim for portion sizes of 3-4 ounces or less, or the size of a deck of cards.
  • Watch the salt – cut sodium to 1,500mg daily. Avoid salty seasonings and prepared condiments like teriyaki, soy and barbecue sauce, or choose the low-sodium versions.
  • Eat more fruits & veggies – grill them, top sandwiches and salads, and make veggies the star of your plate. Try adding seasonal fruits to salads or grilling them for a low-calorie dessert
    • Skip the high fat potato chips, and instead serve raw veggies with a low-fat dip made from thick, fat-free Greek yogurt, not mayo
    • Choose whole wheat buns & bread for sandwiches and use baked whole wheat tortillas for a healthy fruit tart crust
  • Serve water, fruit juice spritzers or unsweetened teas. 

Buffet style service?

The USDA food plate recommends that half your plate be filled with fruits and vegetables. Behavioral psychology studies have shown that you can positively influence eating habits with a few easy changes like using smaller plates and placing the vegetables and salads in the beginning of the buffet. Displaying fruits in colorful bowls also leads to increased consumption. For free heart healthy recipes and menu ideas, visit www.heart.org/recipes.


Grilling Marinade (recipe & video: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyCooking/Universal-Marinade-and-Grilled-or-Roasted-Meat-and-Vegetables_UCM_429274_Article.jsp

Tuscan Grilled Chicken Kebabs recipe: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Recipes/Tuscan-Style-Grilled-Chicken-Kebabs_UCM_302112_Recipe.jsp

Grilled chicken with Strawberries & Pineapple Salsa recipe: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Recipes/Grilled-Chicken-with-Strawberry-and-Pineapple-Salsa_UCM_305201_Recipe.jsp


Faces of AFib Campaign Launches During American Stroke Month

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Volunteers Share Their Personal Stories

During American Stroke Month in May, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is launching a campaign to raise awareness about a type of irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation (AFib).  More than 2.7 million Americans live with this condition, and are at increased risk of heart-related death and at a 5 times greater risk for having a stroke. The campaign is made possible by a charitable donation from Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer.

Four Association volunteers share their personal experiences living with AFib:  Carl Romero, a high school teacher; Jane Golub, Director of In-store Marketing Programs for Price Chopper Supermarkets; Karen Christensen, an ice-skating coach and former Ice Capades performer; and, Mary Deas, a retiree and volunteer for both the American Heart Association and Arthritis Foundation. Each has had a unique experience, but all are living life to the fullest.   In addition to helping raise awareness about the risk factors and symptoms of AFib, these personal stories are also intended to help reassure those recently diagnosed with AFib that it doesn’t have to impact their quality of life. “The best advice that I would give to somebody who has just been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation is stay positive, take your medication and just live your life each day and enjoy it,” says Karen Christensen.

Their stories are on YouTube, and they will also be featured in public service and social media campaigns.  (Carl Romero, Jane   , Karen Christensen and Mary Deas)

To learn more about AFib, visit www.heart.org/AFib. To learn more about preventing and recognizing stroke symptoms, visit www.strokeassociation.org.

Lace Up and Move. It’s National Walking Day!

The American Heart Association wants people to lace up and get moving in celebration of National Walking Day (April 1).

These days, we’re spending more time at work and sitting in front of a screen than ever before. We’re becoming less active, which can increase our risk of heart disease, stroke and other diseases.

Simply walking has many health benefits. Research has shown that every hour of regular exercise can add about two hours to life expectancy, even if you don’t start until midlife. Plus, physical activity can relieve depression, improve your memory, lower your blood pressure and help prevent obesity.  On the other hand, being inactive is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are the nation’s leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability. They account for about one of every three deaths each year and more than $300 billion a year in health-related costs including lost productivity.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, and kids should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. But 80 percent of Americans don’t make exercise a regular habit, according to a recent American Heart Association survey. Statistics show that people tend to stick with walking more than other forms of exercise. That’s why the association promotes walking as one of the simplest and most effective ways for everyone to get moving. The American Heart Association provides a wealth of walking, physical activity and healthy living information online and sponsors local programs and events like the Heart Walk. 

How will you get moving on National Walking Day? Use the hashtag #AHALaceUp and let us know!



American Heart Association To Honor Scott L. Schubach, MD At Long Island Heart Ball

The American Heart Association is pleased to announce that Scott L. Schubach, MD, is the Chairman of the Department of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery at Winthrop University hospital will be the honored at the 52nd Annual Long Island Heart Ball.  In his role as Honoree, he will assist in raising support and creating awareness about heart disease and stroke as it pertains to the Long Island community. The 52nd Heart Ball will take place on Friday, May 8, 2015 at the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Restoration Village.

Three years ago, Dr. Schubach was asked to join the Board of the American Heart Association and now is Vice President of the Long Island Chapter. He is proud to be a part on one the most productive AHA boards in the country.

A Long Island native, Dr. Schubach grew up in Long Beach, NY. After graduating Long Beach High School, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, graduating Cum Laude. He then attended Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX graduating with honors and becoming a member of Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), the honorary medical society.

Dr. Schubach is Board Certified in General Surgery, Thoracic Surgery and Critical Care. Dr. Schubach is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American College of Cardiology and American College of Chest Physicians. He is an Associate Professor of Surgery at The State University at Stony Brook School of Medicine. Dr. Schubach plays in integral role in the Academic Programs at Winthrop, as Winthrop is a Clinical Campus and the major Academic Affiliate with the Stony Brook School of Medicine.

Dr. Schubach lives in Old Brookville on Long Island with his family.

Tickets are $500.  Cocktail Hour starts at 7:00 p.m. For more information, tickets or for sponsorship opportunities, visit http://nassaucountyheartball.heart.org or call 516-450-9129

3AWA_7849 Debra Halbert, John Tortorella, Terry Thompson, Howard Bluver, Meredith Cohen, Elaine Hammond

Glitzy Hamptons Heart Ball Kickoff Readies Crowd For Summer

Pictured: Debra Halbert, John Tortorella, Terry Thompson, Howard Bluver, Meredith Cohen, Elaine Hammond.

The theme of this year’s American Heart Association’s 19th Annual Hamptons Heart Ball is “Glitz & Glamour” and that is exactly what stood out at the kickoff event.  Held at the Martha Washington Hotel on March 24th, more than 200 people gathered to celebrate the upcoming event that is taking place on Saturday, June 13th at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton.

Those in attendance were treated to entertainment by DJ Cash and flapper tap dancers that went along with the theme of the evening. In attendance were Steven Victor, Anna Rhodes, Jon and Joanie Gruen, John Tortorella, Debra Halpert, Allen and Arlene Lazare, Allan & Joy Marks, Merv Matheson, Rocco Ancarola, Jane Pontarelli, Dean Christiansen, Judy Gilbert, Consuelo Costin, Robin Cofer, Randi Schatz, Andrea Wernick, Lucia Hwong Gordon and Nicole Noonan and Stephen Knobel.  Regional Director Barbara Poliwoda said “The event is forecasting to be very well attended and I am expecting it to break all fundraising records in its 19 year history.”

This year’s Hamptons Heart Ball will be chaired by Meredith Cohen. Cristina Civetta, heart survivor is Jr. Chair. The American Heart Association is proud to honor Howard Bluver, CEO, Suffolk County National Bank with the Distinguished Leadership Award. David H. Adams, MD, Cardiac Surgeon-in-Chief, Mount Sinai Health System and President, Mitral Foundation will receive the Distinguished Service Award.  Chris Wragge, News Anchor, CBS 2 News will emcee the event.

For more information about the 19th Annual Heart of the Hamptons Ball, to buy tickets or to get involved, please visit www.hamptonsheartball.heart.org

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Long Island Mother Marks 15th Anniversary of Her Son’s Death by Calling on Regents to Implement CPR in Schools

Fifteen years ago today, 14-year-old Louis Acompora died of sudden cardiac arrest on a lacrosse field.

Today, his mother sent a letter to every member of the New York state Board of Regents asking them to implement CPR in Schools. April 19 will mark 180 days since the CPR in Schools law went to the state Department of Education. By then, State Ed must make a recommendation to the Board of Regents to include Hands-Only CPR instruction in the curriculum.

“Louis was playing in his very first high school lacrosse game,” Acompora said. “We watched proudly on the sidelines. After he blocked a routine shot, we saw Louis collapse. Paramedics arrived almost 15 minutes after Louis collapsed but were too late. Louis went into sudden cardiac arrest and passed away. He was 14 years old.

“It seems unimaginable that my blue-eyed teenage boy would now be 29,” Acompora said. “Since that time, I’ve worked to help spare other families from this type of tragedy.  We passed Louis’ Law so that all schools in the state are equipped with AEDs.  I’m proud to say at least 86 lives have been saved.  And together we passed CPR in Schools legislation and convinced the Governor to sign the bill.  It has been a long journey…the final step is approval from the Board of Regents.”  It seems unimaginable that my blue-eyed, teenage boy would now be 29-years old. Since that time, I’ve worked with many of you to help spare other families from this type of tragedy. We passed Louis’ Law so that all schools in the state are equipped with AEDs. I’m proud to say at least 86 lives have been saved. And together we passed CPR in Schools legislation and convinced the Governor to sign the bill. It has been a long journey…the final step for CPR in Schools is approval from the Board of Regents.

Today, for Louis’ anniversary, will you join me? Please send a message to the Board of Regents to ask for their support for CPR in Schools.

Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. And everyone deserves a fighting chance. It’s time for New York State to have more lifesavers in the community.

In memory of Louis, please join my family to tell the Board of Regents: It’s time for New York to be CPR smart.

Acompora’s call to action to ask people to contact the Board of Regents is also posted on the American Heart Association’s CPR in Schools facebook page. As of 10 a.m. on Louis’ anniversary, March 25, 7,000 people had viewed it.

“I urge everyone to contact Acting Commissioner Berlin and Chancellor of the Board of Regents Merryl Tisch to tell them how important it is that all high school students learn Hands-Only CPR,” Acompora said.

“Losing Louis was tragic,” said Bob Elling, chair of the New York State Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association. “Karen has worked tirelessly to get AEDs into public places, and to get CPR in Schools. CPR is easy to teach and easy to learn.  That’s why 21 other states require students to learn this lifesaving skill.  It takes just one class period.  Surely, New York can do the same,” said Bob Elling, chair of the American Heart Association’s New York State Advocacy Committee. “Sadly, about 9 out of 10 victims of sudden cardiac arrest die.  We can change this grim statistic by teaching Hands-Only CPR to students.  The cost is negligible, since a YouTube video gives an overview, and a few manikins let students practice the skill. Let’s honor Louis by passing this law.”