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Jaimie Racanelli: Advocating for Longer, Healthier Lives Through Heart Health

Jaimie Racanelli: Advocating for Longer, Healthier Lives Through Heart Health

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Hi everyone, Spiffy here, your one and only interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. Today I’m thrilled to be talking to Jaimie Racanelli, an entrepreneur working to make the world a better place. Jaimie is the vice president of development (New York City) for the American Heart Association. Are you ready to be enlightened?

Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Jaimie! What challenge are you addressing through your work for the American Heart Association?

Jaimie: Hi Spiffy, thanks for having me! Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We work every day to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to lead that healthy life. We take science and turn it into tools, resources, and guidelines to ensure communities across the country are leading heart and brain healthy lives. Our organization is addressing equitable health in our local communities to improve blood pressure rates, ensure access to healthy affordable foods, address mental well-being, eliminate tobacco and vaping, combat gender disparities and the unique risk factors that affect women, and equip our community with what they need to save a life such as access to Hands Only CPR education and training.

Spiffy: Wow that’s amazing! What motivates you to do it?

Jaimie: I'm motivated by the fact that not everyone has an equal opportunity to lead a healthy life and to ensure that this changes. In addition, as a woman, it is incredibly important for me to raise awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of women and to ensure that women understand the unique risk factors that we face when dealing with heart disease. 

Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?

Jaimie: The impact of our work is broad. One of our priorities, which is a particular passion of mine as I said earlier, is women and heart disease. Heart Disease is the number one killer of women—claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Nearly 45% of women over age 20 are living with some form of CVD. Since 2004, Go Red for Women®, the American Heart Association’s signature women’s initiative, has been dedicated to educating and empowering women to take action to protect themselves from the threat of cardiovascular disease and helping all women reduce their risk by removing the barriers they face to better health and well-being. This movement has had a profound impact on women’s health and continues to be a champion for women.

Spiffy: Such necessary and important work! Can you tell me about a recent milestone or initiative by the Association and the impact it makes on your community?

Jaimie: Go Red for Women® has reached many milestones since its inception in 2004 when we released updated treatment guidelines in the first women-focused issue of American Heart Association’s scientific journal, Circulation. More recently we launched Research Goes Red in an effort to build the most highly engaged women’s health registry and research marketplace.  In 2022, Go Red’s work continues to align with solutions including culturally aware education and prevention, more diverse, women-oriented studies, and more data collection so we can save the lives of more mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, and friends.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Jaimie: It is so important for you to be an advocate for your health and well-being. What you do when you're younger will greatly impact your health as you get older. It is never too early to start taking care of your heart and the American Heart Association has so many resources to help you in your journey!

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Jaimie—it’s been an honor!

Over more than 11 years, Jaimie Racanelli has built her career with the American Heart Association and, most recently, serves as The Association’s Vice President of Development in New York City. In this role Jaimie partners with volunteers to drive strategic relationships to propel the mission of the Association forward. (Nominated by Dr. Sonal Bhatia at the American Heart Association. First published on the Ladderworks website on January 31, 2023.)

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.