Advocacy in Illinois

Updated:Jul 6,2017

IL Capitol BuildingYou're the Cure
All you have to do is respond to the issues and action alerts that you feel are important. 

We'll make it easy for you to email, fax, phone or even visit your legislators.  And we'll keep you informed on the progress you're making as one of the very important voices for the cure.

Please join the American Heart Association's You're the Cure network.

Current members can log in and view important action alerts.

Illinois EMS Alliance
The Illinois EMS Alliance is a fast-growing coalition of EMS providers and stakeholders from across the state that support increased resources and smart reforms for EMS. 

Key 2011 Legislative and Regulatory State Policy Priorities of the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association in Illinois


  • Promote a state law or local municipal regulations requiring restaurants with five or more locations and not covered by the federal menu labeling law to display calorie counts on their menus and menu boards in a manner consistent with federal law. Research shows that when consumers know the “health cost” as well as the price before they place their order, they make healthier choices.
  • Help students eat healthier by improving their food choices in schools as well as their nutrition education. Give students healthier alternatives in the school cafeteria and in school vending machines.
  • Clarify liability rules on the use of school owned recreational facilities by other government and non-governmental entities for the purpose of physical activity by imposing liability for property damage and injury on the user as well as providing that the school not be held liable.
  • Support significant increases in excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages at the state, county or municipal levels in accordance with AHA criteria.
  •  Eliminate the use of industrially-produced trans fats in schools including the elimination of partially hydrogenated oils in food preparation and require that all food brought in contain zero grams of trans fat as labeled.


  • Require private health insurers to cover cessation services for current tobacco users including both counseling and pharmacotherapy.
  • Raise tobacco taxes. Increasing the cost decreases the demand for this deadly product.
  • Utilize payments established under the national Master Settlement Agreement between tobacco companies and the states to fund tobacco prevention for young people and tobacco cessation services for smokers. Scientific evidence proves that prevention and cessation programs work. Over the last several years the demand for services in Illinois has significantly increased while tobacco funds have been cut.
    Page 2 (AHA/ASA Legislative Priorities – 2011)
  • End the practice of selling cigarettes and other tobacco products to underage minors. The current system does little to discourage retailers from selling tobacco to minors. The State of Illinois should enact provisions that will license and regulate the sale of tobacco in a manner similar to the system in place for alcohol sales.


  • Establish STEMI Systems of Care in line with the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Campaign. Current practices often lead to delays in life-saving treatment of patients with ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI). There is a need to promote efforts to build an inclusive and coordinated statewide system of care to improve treatment of STEMI patients.
  • Finalize rules and regulations implementing the law which gives authority to the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish state-designated Stroke Centers of Excellence. Stroke patients frequently find themselves wasting precious time in emergency rooms due to the failure by emergency responders and medical personnel to recognize stroke symptoms and due to the lack of medical resources necessary for urgent, effective stroke treatment. Some of these issues can be resolved by establishing state-designated stroke centers and addressing related matters such as emergency medical transport protocols and improving telemedicine infrastructure and practices.
  • Encourage CPR and AED use. We will continue to promote efforts to save lives by promoting laws, regulations and appropriations encouraging learning and utilization of CPR and AEDs by the general public as well as specific groups such as teachers and students. Such shifts have led to the chronic under funding and deterioration of our state’s EMS capacity.


  • Promote policies to make health care available and affordable to all Americans.
  • Ensure quality care through adherence to best-practice clinical guidelines and treatment protocols. Expand opportunities to utilize quality and performance indicators and survey tools such as AHA’s Get With the Guidelines program as a means for driving health care QI.
  •  Illinois’s Medicaid program must cover all evidence-based (USPSTF A and B recommended) preventive services with no cost-sharing.
    Page 3 (AHA/ASA Legislative Priorities – 2011)


  • State funding is needed to assist local communities and units of government in purchasing automated external defibrillators, 12-lead EKGs, ambulances and other equipment and infrastructure.
  • Funding of CPR and AED training state-wide as well as professional training for EMTs and other EMS providers is needed.
  • We are seeking an appropriation of $500,000 to the Illinois Department of Public Health to fund a matching grant program to improve the Stroke System of Care. 

Stay informed!
Learn more about your state legislators and legislation — Illinois General Assembly

Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other (SSEEO)
This group of survivors and caregivers from across Illinois work to support each other, educate the public and bring about policy change.  Learn more about SSEEO and register as a member.

Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco (ICAT)
The Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco (ICAT), headed by the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, represents more than 100 organizations and individuals working together to reduce the use of tobacco in Illinois.

For more information about advocacy in Illinois, please contact:

 American Heart Association   

Julie Mirostaw
Senior Government Relations Director, Illinois
(312) 476-6657

Anne Simaytis
Sr. Regional Grassroots Advocacy Director, Illinois & Minnesota
(414) 687-0376

Rae O’Neill
Advocacy Associate, Illinois
(312) 476-6689