Advocacy in South Dakota

Updated:Apr 19,2018

Our advocacy volunteers and staff work with elected officials and leaders at all levels throughout the year to change public policies that affect the cardiovascular health of South Dakota residents. 

You don't have to be a doctor to save lives - become an advocate with the American Heart Association You're the Cure network.

As a You’re The Cure member, you will receive occasional e-mails from your South Dakota AHA advocacy staff, as well as from national AHA advocacy staff, regarding timely issues facing decision-makers at the local, state and federal levels. With a simple click on a link in those messages, you can send important messages to your representatives that can help further our mission of building healthier lives free from cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Our statewide priority issues include:

Statewide STEMI and Stroke Systems of Care

  • Ensure access to the highest quality system of care for ST-Elevated Myocardial Infarction and Stroke patients, including rapid and appropriate emergency response, acute care, secondary prevention, rehabilitation services and quality improvement.
  • Support efforts which will lead to EMS agencies obtaining and/or upgrading all appropriate emergency response vehicles with 12-lead ECG field devices.
  • Achieve statewide designation of Primary Stroke Centers in South Dakota.
  • Funding for Heart Disease & Stroke Program
  • Increase state funding for a dedicated cardiovascular health & stroke program within the SD Department of Health.

Tobacco Control

  • Defend smoke free law in the next legislative session
  • Defend the tobacco prevention program dedicated funding

Obesity Prevention

  • Establish minimum levels of weekly physical education for elementary and middle school
  • Require nutrition policies that are consistent with the beverage, snack, and reimbursable meal guidelines for the Healthy Schools Program
  • Promote comprehensive obesity prevention strategies in early childhood programs
  • Provide safe routes to schools and school sites that offer walking/biking options for most students.

Acute Care

  • Secure funding to place AED’s in schools in conjunction with training and a medical emergency response plan;
  • Require psychomotor skills based CPR as a requirement for graduation
  • Require CPR certification for all middle school and high school certified coaches;

Quality & Availability of Care

  • Promote access to healthcare via policies that fund programs for the uninsured.
  • Support policies that ensure the availability of essential cardiovascular disease preventive benefits in private insurance and public health programs that are consistent with the AHA position statement, “Recommended Model Benefits Package: Preventive Cardiovascular Services.” Support policies that reduce and eliminate cost-sharing (including co-pays and deductibles) associated with these cardiovascular disease-related preventive services.
Health Equity

  • Support the creation of an Office of Minority Health.
  • Support efforts to educate local lawmakers on the various minority awareness activities such as Go Red for Women, Go Red Por Tu Corazon and Power to End Stroke
For more information about advocacy in South Dakota, please contact:


Justin Bell
Regional Vice President, Advocacy
(952) 278-7921

Sarah Sanchez
Grassroots Director
(952) 278-7908