Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Take Action!

BIG NEWS: This afternoon, health reform cleared another crucial hurdle in the Senate, with the Finance Committee passing its legislation. This brings us that much closer to making health care reform a reality this year.

But we must continue to raise our voices to ensure the legislation that is passed will result in meaningful reform for heart disease and stroke patients. That means fixing what is broken in our current system, while building on what works well.

These next few weeks will be critical to make an impact, and we need your voice.

If you haven't told your lawmakers how you feel about health care reform, right now is the time. Click here >>>

For nearly 100 years, Washington leaders have floated ideas to fix the health care system, but they've never been as close to comprehensive reform as they are today.

We have our best opportunity in nearly a century to finally relieve the burden on patients and their families struggling under our broken health care system. They are counting on reform that makes health insurance accessible, affordable, and adequate THIS year. Can we count on you to help?

Please email your lawmakers on Capitol Hill TODAY>>>
(It only takes 30 seconds)

The fight for meaningful reform belongs to all of us. And we won't win without you. As the American Heart Association calls on you to act over the next several weeks, we urge you to stand with the 80 million Americans currently living with cardiovascular disease and those at risk.

Thank you in advance for standing with us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Supermodels Unlimited Magazine cover and article

Monday, September 28, 2009

From the AMA

Congress is closer than ever to passing a health system reform bill, and we can't lose this opportunity for real health reform. However, members of the AMA's Patients' Action Network and doctors from around the country--in states like Florida, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Missouri--are all concerned about how this legislation will affect your access to your doctor.

In the U.S. Senate, the health reform bill that's been proposed would use Medicare as a foundation--and that foundation is crumbling because of an archaic payment system already in place. This system is scheduled to cut Medicare physician payments by more than 20 percent Jan. 1, 2010, with repeated annual cuts coming after that.

These annual cuts are a huge problem for patients--and for many families--because they will prevent doctors from taking on new Medicare patients, discourage many from investing in new health technology and make some think about closing their medical practices altogether.

Right now, the Senate is promoting another one-year Band-Aid for this problem, which means that we’ll be dealing with an even bigger problem next year.

Watch doctors from around the country discuss the reality of what this means for you and your family, then call Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D) and Sen. Mark Lunsford Pryor (D) at (888) 434-6200 or e-mail them here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

From Senator Blanche Lincoln

This Week in Washington: Senate Finance Committee Begins Debate on Health Care Reform Legislation

Rising health care costs are unsustainable and a growing burden on our families, businesses, and economy. That’s why health care reform is critical for our nation’s future economic security.

This week, the Senate Finance Committee has taken a significant step by beginning the democratic process of considering the initial health care reform bill. Several of my amendments have been included in the legislation, which continues to be a work in progress.

I continue to work with my colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee to craft a fiscally responsible product that reins in rising health care costs, provides stability to those who like their current health care coverage, and provides better options for those in need of affordable coverage. Throughout this process, it has been my goal to ensure health insurance reform works for small businesses and the self-employed so that they have quality health care options, just like federal employees.

Watch portions of my opening statement before the Senate Finance Committee by clicking on the YouTube icon below.

With Arkansas Pride,
Blanche Lincoln

Monday, September 21, 2009

Emceeing Humane Society Fashion Show

I had such a wonderful time emceeing the Humane Society Benefit Fall Fashion Show! There were so many wonderful pieces shown, and over a thousand dollars raised for the Humane Society. And no, I do NOT use notes when I speak. I am reading the list of sponsors for the evening. The community came out en masse for this event, and the list of sponsors was literally a page long! Congrats to Adam, Abby and Rick for an amazing and successful event. Thank you for allowing me to be part of it.

Heart attack rates drop after smoking bans, continue downward over time

DALLAS, Sept. 21, 2009 — One year after passing smoking bans, communities in North America and Europe had 17 percent fewer heart attacks compared to communities without smoking restrictions, and the number of heart attacks kept decreasing with time, according to a report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The report is a meta-analysis of 13 studies in which researchers examined changes in heart attack rates after smoking bans were enacted in communities in the United States, Canada and Europe.  The researchers found that heart attack rates started to drop immediately following implementation of the law, reaching 17 percent after one year, then continuing to decline over time, with about a 36 percent drop three years after enacting the restrictions.

“While we obviously won’t bring heart attack rates to zero, these findings give us evidence that in the short- to medium-term, smoking bans will prevent a lot of heart attacks,” said James M. Lightwood, Ph.D., co-author of the study and assistant adjunct professor in the department of clinical pharmacy at the University of California–San Francisco.  “The studies on this issue now have long enough follow-up periods so that we can see exactly how big the effect is.” 

Lightwood also noted that the community effect is consistent with probable individual risk and exposure scenarios.

For example, according to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2009 Update, non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work have a 25 percent to 30 percent increased risk of developing heart disease.  This new research suggests that the individual increased risk may be higher, said Lightwood.

“This study adds to the already strong evidence that secondhand smoke causes heart attacks, and that passing 100 percent smoke-free laws in all workplaces and public places is something we can do to protect the public,” Lightwood said.  “Now we have a better understanding of how you can predict what will happen if you impose a smoking-free law.” 

David Goff, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and Professor of Public Health Sciences and Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, and an American Heart Association national spokesperson said the paper provides strong support for the contention that smoke free laws will improve public health.  “This is good evidence that the benefits are realistic and consistent with reasonable estimates of the harm imposed by secondhand smoke,” Goff said. 

“It is important to move forward now with widespread implementation of smoke-free laws,” he added.  “At a time of great concern over the financial sustainability of our healthcare system, smoke free laws represent an inexpensive approach to reducing heart attacks, and, probably, other cardiovascular conditions.”

Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., co-authored the study.  Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Cancer Institute funded the study.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lung Cancer Advocates in the News

Each year, the Partnership hosts an Advocacy Summit - a two-day conference where lung cancer advocates gather to learn about how to raise awareness in their communities, how to engage the media and other grassroots advocacy strategies.

Congratulations to Kathryn Joosten and Montessa Lee, two Advocacy Summit alumni, for using the skills they learned at the Summit to get national press coverage for their stories.

Kathryn Joosten, two-time Emmy winner for her role as Mrs. McCluskey on ABC's Desperate Housewives, recently found out she once again has lung cancer. After eight years cancer-free, she was surprised by this new diagnosis.

Instead of just taking the news, though, Ms. Joosten took it on. To try to combat the stigma associated with the disease, she has told her story to People Magazine and E! Online, where she was profiled on Ted Casablanca's blog, The Awful Truth.

Kathryn Joosten

Montessa Lee was only 28 when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. It took several visits to her doctors to get them to realize what she had. They never considered a young woman who had never smoked could possibly have this disease. She tells her story for all to know in the October issue of SELF, as well as on the SELF Magazine website.

Our deepest thanks to Ms. Joosten and Ms. Lee for sharing their stories so broadly to raise awareness of this disease!

Montessa Lee

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One email Can Help Women with Heart Disease

One E-mail Can Help Women with Heart Disease
Did you know that today, a woman can be charged health insurance premiums 150% higher than a man of the same age?

Unfortunately, it’s true. Studies have found that women pay significantly higher premiums than men of the same age for individual health insurance policies providing identical coverage. And these higher health care costs can put coverage out of reach for women with heart disease and even for women who are taking preventative measures to reduce their risk. And in most states, those with a pre-existing medical condition as common as high blood pressure can be denied coverage altogether or charged unaffordable premiums.

That’s why we’re calling on you, as a member of the Go Red for Women movement, to make your voice heard and join us in letting Congress know that the fight against our Nation’s No. 1 killer of women requires urgent action on health care reform.

On September 30th, American Heart Association advocates will be on Capitol Hill to discuss the challenges they face as heart disease survivors in affording health care coverage -- and they need your help to make their message impossible to ignore. Email your Members of Congress today and let them know women with heart disease need their support in reforming the broken health care system

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So much to do, so little time to blog!

First, I must apologize.  I was just certain that upon giving up my title I would have copious amounts of free time.  How wrong I was!  Things are indeed steamrolling along, and sadly my blog has taken more than a back-seat.  It has been located somewhere in the vicinity of the trunk of my "car" of life, wedged somewhere under the floor mat between the spare tire and the first aid kit.  You get the idea, I'm sure.

My work with the AHA continues strong.  The third week of August I was asked by Monica Flores, national cause director of Go Red for Women to help author the Best Practices document for the AHA and International pageant system.  We worked to put into place a plan of action that will help the new state and national titleholders continue the partnership with the AHA I was so honored to work toward.  This document will be disseminated to all the state affiliate offices, encouraging them to use the International titleholders at not only Go Red events, but also You're the Cure events, in PSA televised announcements, and a myriad of other AHA events.  The idea is to broaden the impact of the International pageant group for the AHA, and gain more publicity for both groups.  Luckily, the new Mrs. titleholder lives within 10 minutes of the Dallas offices, where the Go Red movement is housed. This should certainly facilitate a smooth transition and open up ease of action for both programs.  I'm so honored to get to continue my work on behalf of both of these amazing organizations.

On a personal level, I'm thrilled to report that dads forth set of scans came back clear!  We are now at one year from his completion of chemotherapy.  This has been both the longest and shortest year of my life-strange how that can be truth.  We pray for his continued strength and protection from a return of any form of the disease.

I've returned to the "real world" of work, which is stressful but refreshing.  I've also been asked to join our local Junior Auxiliary, and am excited about the opportunity.  It gives me the chance to give back and serve at the community level, which is wonderful.  I'm in my provisional year, and will earn full membership after serving 36 hours.  I think I can do that!

The AHA season is getting geared up again after the summer hiatus, so stay tuned for more updates.  We're going strong-Heart Strong!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Take Action!

Thank you for recently supporting the American Heart Association by participating in National CPR/AED Week.  Your actions can truly make a difference in the fight against heart disease.  

You can also help save lives by supporting a proposed law that would greatly enhance the training and placement of AEDs in schools.   Click here to tell your U.S. Senators to support the Josh Miller Hearts Act. 

The Josh Miller HEARTS Act was prompted by the tragic death of a 15-year old high school student who suffered sudden cardiac arrest at a school without an AED.  The bill would establish a grant program so that more schools can purchaseautomated external defibrillators (AEDs) and be trained to use them as part of an overall medical emergency response plan for school communities. 

This bill has already been passed by the U.S.House and is only a couple steps away from becoming law.  Just click on the link below to take action today.  Thanks!     

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Go Red luncheon Little Rock

Just a couple of pictures from the Go Red luncheon in my home city, Little Rock

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lobby Day on Capitol Hill

Kevin and I are shown after our meeting with US Senator Blanche Lincoln.  Senator Lincoln has been a powerful ally in the fight against women's heart disease, and was a co-sponsor of the Heart for Women act.
Kevin, Dr. Melchert and I start our second day of Congressional meetings on Capitol Hill
I was interviewed in front of the US Capitol by a documentary film crew about the AHA's Lobby Day, and the Mrs. International pageant
Kevin and I, along with Dr. Russell Melchert, attend the You're the Cure on the Hill rally

My story shared on the national blog!

My story of survival and advocacy is shared on the national You're the Cure blog.  You can view it at

Activities During Lobby Week!

My story of advocacy and survival is shared with the 200 attendees of the 6th annual Survivors Luncheon on the Hill
I was a special guest at the 6th Annual Survivors luncheon on the Hill

Arkansas is one of 14 states that have funding for Heart Disease and Stroke prevention.  I'm honored to be part of the reason we have that funding!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mrs. International Goes to Washington!

We've arrived on Capitol Hill for the American Heart Association's National Lobby Day! I'll keep the pictures coming.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Governor Beebe signs Act 1204, and the 2009 Heart Ball

What an exciting month February has been in the state of Arkansas. Looking over my blog entries I cannot believe it has been 12 months since I wrote a glowing report about the activities in which I took part in February of 2008. So much has happened in my personal life and in my volunteer work! This February has seen the passage of Act 1204, and at left you see a picture of our states Governor signing the act into law. Act 1204 increases the excise tax on tobacco by 56 cents, funneling nearly 90 million dollars into the Arkansas budget. Those funds will be used to fund life saving programs across the state and will enable us to improve and increase the availability of health care for the citizens of Arkansas. I commend our Governor for his hard work and dedication to this cause, I thank speaker Robbie Wills of Conway for his impassioned support of this Act, and Senator Steele for this unwavering belief that this Act was necessary for the health and well being of the children of our state! We on the Advocacy Committee in Arkansas feel that the 2009 legislative session has been an incredible success already.
We also celebrated the 2009 Heart Ball this week. Kevin and I are honored to serve on the auction board, and want to commend our friends Scott and Shayla Copas on a job well-done as the 2009 Heart Ball chairs. Scott serves on the board for the South Central affiliate, and he and his lovely wife are valued and honored volunteers with the AHA. Under their leadership the 2009 Heart Ball raised more than 1 million dollars for research, education and awareness.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This just in: I just came from the Senate floor where the tobacco tax PASSED the Senate!!!!  Act 1204 now goes before Governor Mike Beebe, who will sign it, and will create funding for AED's in schools, CPR training, and a state-wide trauma system!!!!  Years worth of work on the part of the the Arkansas Advocacy Committee, the Step Up Coalition and volunteers across the state has come to fruition!  Thank you  Barbie Kumpe for all your hard work!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February-off with a Bang!!

What an amazing week the first week of February has been. I started the week in committee meetings with the House Rules committee of the state of Arkansas. We with the AHA and the Step up Coalition have been working tirelessly with Governor Beebe to get Act 1204 passed this session. Act 1204 will increase the state tobacco excise tax by 56 cents, and will fund life saving programs life the placement of AED’s in schools, CPR training for all school staff, a statewide trauma system, and dozens of other life healing or life saving programs. I was so honored to be in the House Rules committee meeting when they passed the Act unanimously. Act 1204 went to the House Thursday, and was passed. We now go before the Senate, where the battle will certainly be more difficult. Republican Senators have signed a “pledge” promising they will not vote for any new taxes this session. Unfortunately, they do not understand the harm that they will wreak if they do not vote for this act, nor do they understand the support they will lose. They seem unwilling to realize that this is not a general tax, but rather is a luxury tax or at the very least an elective tax. We have a difficult road ahead of us, but it is a short one. The Act will go before the Senate this week. We are hopefully optimistic.
Later that afternoon I was thrilled to be present in the Senate as they read the 2009 Go Red resolution. It’s always a joy to get to be involved in events where my personal life’s passion garners attention by our state and national lawmakers. From there it was on to the 2009 Go Red reception in the Capitol rotunda. First lady of our state, Ginger Beebe, was in attendance, as were a number of our state-lawmakers.
On Thursday I flew out to New York City, to host the second Go Red for Women national casting call. I was so honored to have the opportunity to tell my personal story of survival, as well as introducing such important personages as David Josseran, chairman of the AHA, and the CEO’s of Merck and Macy’s. I also introduced actress Andie McDowell, who shared her own story of loss due to heart disease. Andie lost her mother at the young age of 53. It was amazing to get to spend time with Monica Flores, and the rest of the national Go Red staff. Afterward Kevin and I were treated to lunch, where we were honored to get to spend time visiting with the New York AHA staff. The event was well attended by both the public and by the press. I was even featured in three editorial press photos on Getty Images, not something I ever expected to be part of! The event occurred in Grand Central Station, in the gorgeous Vanderbilt Hall. What an amazing opportunity to be part of such a historic event in such a historic location!
Looking forward to many many more amazing events in this and the coming months!
Stay tuned for photos-dozens to upload!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tobacco Tax Increase; Savvy Magazine article

I wanted to share with you a snap shot from my most recent appearance on the news.  Friday morning I had the opportunity to speak on the channel 11 news about the proposed increase in the excise tax on tobacco in my home state of Arkansas.  I cannot tell you how important this increase is for my state, and the good those funds will do.  We hope to raise the tax by 56 cents a pack, which will increase state revenues by 87.8 MILLION dollars annually.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Those funds will go toward CPR training for all public school personnel, the placement of life saving AED's in every public school in Arkansas, and the creation of a statewide trauma system.  Each and every person in the state of Arkansas will be touched by the programs that will be put into effect with these funds. We are thrilled to have the support of Governor Mike Beebe.  Governor Beebe normally is not a fan of "designated funds", but understands the importance of these life saving programs and is willing to set aside his personal preferences for the greater good.    I have a great deal of respect and admiration for him, and am honored to be working with him on this issue.  If you are a Republican in the state PLEASE contact your Senator and urge them to support this tax.  The Republican members of the Senate signed an oath not to raiser taxes this session. However, please stress to them that this is a luxury tax, not an across the board tax, and that the good it will do far outweighs the negative connotations that most "taxes" have attached to them.  

This month also saw the publication of Savvy magazines 5th edition.  I am honored to be featured in their "Beyond Beauty" section.  I was asked by editor Stacey Kole to share the story of my journey as an advocate for women's heart health.  Since my crowning my story has  been featured in such state publications as 501 life, AY, Inviting Arkansas, Women's Inc, and Arkansas Life, but this is the first publication to take that story to the national level.  I cannot thank Stacey and Jessica enough for their willingness to let me be part of their incredible publication.
If you are interested in taking part in my campaign to increase the tobacco tax in Arkansas please visit  I'm off to New York City next week to promote the Go red for Women casting call.  See you there!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A visit to the Pacific Northwest

My year as Mrs. International has  been filled with so many blessings, and yet each day seems to bring some new and wonderful addition. Since my crowning in July I've had the opportunity to travel to Illinois, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma and all across my home state. However, last weekend I was blessed to travel to a part of our amazing nation that I have never before seen; the Pacific Northwest.  The state director of the Oregon International system invited me to be her guest for a special workshop for her contestants.  Leslie was an incredible hostess, and it was an honor to be her guest and help her promote the system in her state.

We started our appearances as soon as I stepped off the plane, with a quick stop by the Paul Mitchell school.  They are so excited to be part of the International pageant system, and are going to be offering a scholarship to Leslie's winners.  The next morning we started off with a visit to the local American Heart Association offices. It was fantastic to get a chance to sit down with the Pacific Northwest team and discuss what legislative agenda issues they are working toward for their 2009 session. As in my home state Oregon is pushing for an increase in their states tobacco excise tax.  They also are working toward legislation for a healthier tomorrow for the children of Oregon, and I was thrilled to discuss with them the impact that the 2003 BMI act has made in my home state.  They were unaware of the legislation, and very interested in seeing if it could be implemented in their home state.  They are also moving toward placing AED's in their public schools, as Arkansas did in 2007.  Overall, it was thrilling to see how the AHA's goal of decreasing death by heart disease and stroke by 25% by 2010 is being realized across the nation.
After leaving the AHA's office we stopped for a quick bite of lunch with Mrs. Oregon International Debra Gilmore, and then off to site-see.  Then, it was on to BiMart to sign autographs.  BiMart of the executive sponsor of the Oregon International pageant, and they were thrilled to have us as their guests for the afternoon. That evening we closed our day with a pajama party with former Mrs. Oregon International Tamara Wissbaum and Kim Wylder.  I was so honored to get to spend some time with these fabulous women, and now count them as dear friends!
Saturday Leslie hosted a fabulous workshop for her contestants, where I presented tips on creating winning paperwork.  It was such a joy to get to meet the wonderful women of Oregon, and I look forward to getting to see the winners this summer in Chicago.  After the workshop  Leslie treated me to the best pedicure I've ever experienced at Pink and White nail salon; then it was off to dinner at The Nines, one of Portlands' most beautiful boutique hotels.
I cannot thank Leslie enough for the incredible experience she provided for me in her beautiful home city.  The weekend went by far too quickly!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pass the Heart for Women Act!!

A New Year’s Resolution for Congress – Pass the HEART for Women Act!
January marks the beginning of the 111th Congress and a new opportunity to pass the HEART for Women Act. The bill, which would help to eliminate disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke in women, had wide bipartisan support in the 110th Congress (with an amazing 281 cosponsors!), even passing the full House of Representatives before time ran out in the last session. Now, it will be re-introduced in Congress in mid-February, and we need your help to make sure the bill has as many original cosponsors as possible when it is introduced.
With Senators and Representatives, new and returning, busy setting their priorities for the coming year, this is our chance to make sure HEART for Women is at the top of their lists. Ask your legislators to become original cosponsors of the HEART for Women Act today!
Together, we can make 2009 the year that Congress passes the HEART for Women Act!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lung Alliance Update!

Are you passionate about raising awareness of lung cancer
but aren't entirely sure how to do it?

Do you wish the media paid more attention to this nation's #1 cancer killer
but you don't know how to engage reporters?

Are you already an established lung cancer advocate but want to gain more tools
and network with others who share your vision?

Then apply for National Lung Cancer Partnership's 2nd Lung Cancer Advocacy Summit: Acquiring Tools, Effecting Change in Dallas, TX from April 23-26!

The goal of the Summit is to empower advocates by providing training, resources, knowledge, and courage to take action in their communities.
Health and research professionals, media and advocacy trainers, and advocates like you will share their experiences through workshops, small group discussions, networking, and a trip to research laboratories at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Download an application form and learn more about the Summit at
The application deadline is February 13, 2009.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Arkansas Life Feature

Over my tenure as an American Heart Association advocate I've been featured in a number of periodicals. In 2005 I was featured along-side my mother, for whom I fight this battle. This January mother and I are begin featured again in Arkansas Life, as part of a story on women who have fought cardiovascular disease and won! What an honor it is to be part of this amazing publication, and to take part with my beloved mother, and three other brilliant and beautiful heart disease survivors. You can see the feature article photo below, and read the article here: