June 1st, 2010
11:12 AM ET
13 years ago

Bush daughter launches global health non-profit

(CNN) – One of former President George W. Bush's daughters is aiming to change the face of global public health and she intends to use members of her generation to do it.

Former first daughter Barbara Bush's new non-profit, Global Health Corps, was inspired by a 2003 trip that she took with her parents to five African countries. The Bush family was in Africa at the time promoting the Bush administration's anti-AIDS initiative.

A visit to a health clinic for people battling HIV opened Barbara Bush's eyes to how she might make a difference in the health field.

"I think that was the first time that – I was not pre-med; I hadn't studied health – that was the first time that I thought well maybe, what am I doing? Maybe I should focus on this," the Bush daughter said in an interview Tuesday on CNN's American Morning. "And I can. You really can work in the health field even if you're not a doctor or a nurse."

Bush decided to take that premise and use it as the foundation of Global Health Corps, a non-profit that recruits young professionals who are age 30 or younger to work for a year in health organizations.

"They're not doctors or nurses. They're filling any needs that the organizations have. And what we've found is all of our partners want people with technology skills. They want program management skills. They want monitoring and evaluation support. They just want general program support – which are skills that tons of people have. They just don't know they can use them in the health field."

For example, Bush said one participant in the non-profit's first crop of fellows is a former Google employee with a background in product management who is now working on health management information systems in Tanzania.

The inaugural class consists of 22 fellows selected from a field of 1200 applicants. And Bush plans to expand to 40 fellows next year and 500 fellows five years from now.

The former first daughter said that her decision to focus the initiative on the 30-and-under set was not meant as any kind of disrespect for older, more seasoned professionals.

"We wanted to build the next generation of leaders in health," Bush told CNN's John Roberts and Kiran Chetry.

Bush credits her parents for both inspiring her to care about health issues and helping her set up Global Health Corps.

"Really, they've given me advice on everything," she said.

Specifically, Bush says that her father told her not to hesitate when she became interested in developing a way to get young professionals involved in the health care field.

"I was nervous just starting this in the first place and my dad said, 'You know, you're going to really regret it if you don't do it. So just do it. There's nothing to lose. It's a good idea.'"

Filed under: American Morning • Barbara Bush • Popular Posts
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Luke Brown

    It seems the girls take after their mother.

    June 1, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Wisconsinite - Conservatives want to take their country back. Progressives want to move their country forward.

    Good for her! This is what's going to change the world . . . young people understanding and working based upon the understanding that we are a GLOBAL community!

    June 1, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Rick

    Thoght Republicans didn't want health care. need to start in USA before going to Africa.

    June 1, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Hows that oil slick coming along Rush?

    I smell health insurance company money backing this project.

    June 1, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Peace

    I admire Bush's family. They have a heart of helping and feeling others pain. You are classic. Keep it up and you will be remembered for that!

    June 1, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. Angus McDugan

    Let's just sit back and watch the libs feast on this article. Don't talk about Obama's children but the gloves are off for Bush's.

    Gotta love the left!

    June 1, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Remember the Alamo

    GREAT WORK BARBARA – It's carrying out God's will for someone to come forward to help these unfortunate souls. Unlike others that had rather poke fun and say hatred remarks to SARAH PALIN AND HER DAUGHTERS you are doing something honorable and worthwhile. It's funny that these same individuals who said such horrible things about Palin are now in an uproa over what Glen Beck said about OBAMA and His daughter which was mild considering the hateful remarks said about PALIN from the left wing racists. It's alright though when they can make such remarks.

    June 1, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Willa-PA

    Good for her.

    June 1, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Tom

    There are already enough organizations which are active in this area. May be she should do an internship in one of those first and then see how to support them.

    June 1, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Ruty

    Haven't we had enough of the Bushes? Who paid for the African trip she was on when she had this great idea? I'm sure it wasn't dear old dad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. kimberly

    finally a smart bush! wierd that these girls are his, they must have all their moms genes

    June 1, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. jeff jackson, alabama

    Her father poured more than three
    times as much money into African
    nations to battle aids problems than
    the Clinton administration did. He also
    sent more than five times the money
    into minority college funds in the state
    of California than the Clinton administration
    did. Those are just the facts. Barbara Bush
    comes from a very generous and open
    minded family. Not until liberals get their
    heros in office do they find out that they've
    been had. ( Stalin, Castro, Chevez, Mao,ect.)
    But hey, don't let me interrupt your cool aid
    breaks .

    June 1, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    Congratulations, Ms Bush. You set a great example and make America proud.

    June 1, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. republicans hate america

    what about helping the health of your people right here in the USA

    June 1, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. joe

    what is it about africa that inspires so many celebs? seems every celebe that visits africa gets inspired to do something "good". i need to book a trip soon and maybe i'll get inspired for something.

    June 1, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Just Asking

    Good for her. Someone who is trying to make a positive difference in the world.

    June 1, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Estrella

    What a commendable, worthwhile idea put into action! Barbara Bush is wise in starting the ball rolling.

    May her organization grow and accomplish its goals.

    June 1, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. key

    This is very welcomed news in the health field myself I can't over state how important it is to keep young people aware of the need to make healthy decision. Thus making us healthier later in life

    June 1, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. HD

    Come-on, CNN, it is just a wasting time talking about this poor lady(ACADAMICALLY). Just figure-out from your own CO-WORKERS; who had a good or bad grade when they where in School. How did they get the job that they have now??? Who comes late to work? Who completes the PROJECTS/ASSIGNENTS before the dead line or earlier? Who contribute more for SUCCESS? Who cannot work with-out assistance?

    June 1, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Marry

    I comment Miss Bush for her engagement and effort and wish her lots of success. However, she will need a long life working very hard to make even a little dent alleviating a tiny bit of the misery her father caused here at home and around the world.

    June 1, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Patsy, Texas

    Good for her! We need the great young people of America to take
    over and I wish her the best!!!

    June 1, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. doug

    With so many Democrats in this country, being only guided by hate, selfishness, and closed-mindedness, it must be scary to be the daughter of President Bush.

    These sickos made movies about killing her dad, if the average Democrat realized who she is and was near her, well let's just hope she has great security.

    To add more anger to the lib, she is actually doing good and making a postive impact on this earth, while the lib can only talk about what they actually will never do, and everyone of them makes a negative impact on society with their hate, selfishness, and lack of integrity and decency.

    June 1, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. debbie

    Way to go Barbara. I don't care for your father's politics or actions as POTUS, but I can see that you got some good values and a conscience from somewhere.

    June 1, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. Jack

    What we d in this country is free tuition for those in medical school studying to become physicians or physician's assistants. Take the burden of tuition away and we would get more doctors going into general medicine. We also need more medical schools. This will not happen unless federal and state government helps. It would also help to get rid of the huge malpractice insurance payments doctors are stradled with.

    June 1, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Wendy

    Here is a young woman taking the initiative to do some good in the world and you people slam her for it? Need to start in the US? We have free health care for the poor, it is called Medicaide and plenty of people use it. We do not have people dieing of curable diseases like the do in Africa. I imagine if her Daddy was a democrat there would be nothing but love on this board. You people really do suffer from crainial-rectalimparement disease.

    June 1, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |