Sending Office: Honorable Christopher H. Smith
Sent By:

Dear Colleague:

For more than 50 years, February has been recognized as American Heart Month.  As co-chairs of the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, we hope that you will take some time this month to reaffirm your commitment to combatting heart disease – the nation’s
No. 1 and most costly killer.

Heart Month was created by a congressional joint resolution approved on December 30, 1963.  Since that time, advances in biomedical research, improved emergency response systems and treatment and prevention efforts have helped Americans fight back against
cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Between 2000 and 2011, death rates from heart disease declined by an annual average of 3.7 percent.

Yet in the last few years this remarkable progress has stalled. The burden of heart disease is now growing faster than our ability to combat it due to the obesity epidemic, poor diet, high blood pressure and a dramatic rise in Type 2 diabetes – all major
risk factors for heart disease. In a frightening reversal, the overall decline in mortality rates have flattened to less than 1 percent per year since 2011, and rates have even worsened for our most at-risk populations. In 2015, the death rate from heart disease
increased by 1 percent for the first time since 1969, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

Your participation in Heart Month could help reverse this decline.  Please consider engaging in some of the following activities.

Help Recognize February as American Heart Month

Join us in commemorating American Heart Month during a “one minute” or Morning Business speech on the floor in February. If you cannot speak on the floor, we encourage you to recognize American Heart Month and help raise awareness about heart disease in
some other way, such as submitting a statement for the Congressional Record or including an article about heart disease in your constituent newsletter.

Sponsor or Participate in an American Heart Month Event

We also encourage you to consider sponsoring or participating in an American Heart Month event during February. For instance, wear red and encourage your staff to wear red on Friday, February 2, National Wear Red Day, or join with a local hospital or clinic
in offering heart health screenings for your constituents.

Attend a Briefing Sponsored by the American Heart Association and WomenHeart

We would like to bring to your attention an invitation to attend a briefing sponsored by the American Heart Association and WomenHeart entitled, African American Women and Heart Disease: A Guide to Staying Healthy. The briefing will be held on February 28th
from noon to 1pm in Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2075 and will feature a discussion on the basic facts of heart disease in African American women, the latest research on the disease, and what women can do to remain healthy.

Promote Heart Month on Social Media

Keep your constituents updated on your participation in Heart Month activities and share with them information you learn about staying heart healthy using the hashtag #GoRed.

Join the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition

Finally, you can help advance the fight against heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases by joining the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition. The coalition, which is made up of over 100 Members of the House and Senate, works to raise
awareness of the seriousness of cardiovascular disease and acts as a resource center on heart and stroke issues. To join the coalition or learn more about any of these events, please contact Rebecca Alcorn with Senator Crapo (,
Max Kanner with Senator Durbin (, Marisa Kovacs with Representative Smith ( or Kevin Carson with Representative
Beatty (




Mike Crapo                                                                                                              Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator                                                                                              United States Senator



Christopher H. Smith                                                                                               Joyce Beatty

Member of Congress                                                                                               Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: HealthCare

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