Dr. John Maa -- Advocate Superhero

Updated:Dec 9,2016

MaaAwardThe Greater Bay Area’s KTVU FOX television recently aired a story featuring American Heart Association (AHA) volunteer John Maa, M.D., regarding his extraordinary work toward the passage of local soda and statewide tobacco tax initiatives that were on the Nov. 8 ballot. We are grateful that four initiatives benefitting heart health were voted into law in California. The tobacco tax increase, Prop. 56, will prevent more than 170,000 kids from ever starting smoking, and the three soda taxes will positively impact nearly 200,000 kids in the Bay Area, 108,000 in San Francisco alone.

A surgeon at Marin General Hospital in San Rafael, Dr. Maa is a staunch advocate for policies that support healthy communities. He was named the 2015-2016 American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Physician Volunteer of the Year, in part for the work featured during his recent KTVU interview. He is pictured left, with Western States Affiliate Executive Vice President, Kathy Rogers, receiving his award .

An AHA volunteer since 2004, the Greater Bay Area Board Member and Affiliate Advocacy Committee Chair reminded viewers that patience and keeping your eye on the prize are key to success in producing change in public policy on community heath. This is particularly true for Prop. 56, which will increase the state tobacco tax by $2 on each pack of cigarettes, with equivalent increases for other tobacco products.

Dr. Maa has worked diligently to drive local, state and federal public policy for the AHA. On a local level, he has worked successfully to establish a soda tax in Berkeley, and in raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 in San Francisco, before it was signed into law state-wide by Governor Jerry Brown in May of this year.

He has logged over 100 Capitol Hill visits to meet with members of the House and Senate in hopes of advancing heart health legislation. He has discussed health policy with President Obama and hopes that President-Elect Trump will be willing to meet with him in the near future.

"The most important lesson I've learned over the past 13 years is to focus on the issues rather than individuals. Individuals come and go. But if you focus on doing the right thing for the health of the public, for the state and for our nation, you're always on the right side," he said in his KTVU interview.
JohnMaaBesides meeting with heads of state, his work also includes hours of educating “Promatoras” (Community Health Workers) in our Check.Change.Control blood pressure program as well as working at phone banks, making calls to potential voters to ask that they support local and state initiatives. No job is too small for Dr. Maa, as long as it moves the needle forward.