Barbara Bush Fights for Global Health


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When you hear the name “Bush” it’s easy to only think of Presidents George H.W and George W. Bush, Governor Jeb Bush currently running for president, and Laura Bush, literacy advocate.  But what about Barbara Bush?  No, not the wife of former president George Bush, but Barbara Bush Jr., former First Daughter.  Ms. Bush has made quite good use of her time out of the White House and is certainly a Smart Girl making headlines for her work in global health.  That’s right, Barbara Bush Jr. is the co-founder and President of Global Health Corps, a nonprofit organization working towards health equity where it is needed most.

 

When you hear the name “Bush” it’s easy to only think of Presidents George H.W and George W. Bush, Governor Jeb Bush currently running for president, and Laura Bush, literacy advocate.  But what about Barbara Bush?  No, not the wife of former president George Bush, but Barbara Bush Jr., former First Daughter.  

BBush_at_weddingMs. Bush has made quite good use of her time out of the White House and is certainly a Smart Girl making headlines for her work in global health.  That’s right, Barbara Bush Jr. is the co-founder and President of Global Health Corps, a nonprofit organization working towards health equity where it is needed most.

 

Global Health Corps was officially founded in 2009, but for Ms. Bush, it began in 2003 when she accompanied her father on an official trip to Uganda.  On that trip, she says, she was “staggered” by the toll AIDS was taking on the population.  After taking health classes while at Yale, she traveled to South Africa where she mostly worked with children with AIDS.  Six years later, in 2009, she and five friends founded Global Health Corps.  GHC operates along the same lines as Teach For America, placing young and passionate leaders in areas of need.  In the case of Global Health Corps, these young professionals complete a year-long paid fellowship in pairs with one American student and one foreign student from the host country (to promote cross-cultural awareness) in a diverse array of specialties.  Global_Health_Corps_Logo

Fellows do not necessarily need medical experience, as GHC encourages applicants with a wide variety of skills who can assist in all facets of the healthcare industry, from developing programs to digitally record charts, to designing hospitals, to helping prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.  This is to reinforce the idea that just because you are not a doctor with a medical degree does not mean that you cannot in some way help bring more effective medical care to places in desperate need, such as South and East Africa, where GHC operates most heavily.  This notion that only medical professionals can be involved in global health is one of the greatest challenges that Global Health Corps is trying to banish.  GHC places fellows with organizations such as Partners in Health (co-founded by Dr. Paul Farmer), for example, to help these organizations get the staffing that they need.

 

What makes Barbara Bush Jr. a Smart Girl is that she saw an issue that struck her, and then figured out what she could do to make a difference.  She is putting her family name and her passions to excellent use.  Ms. Bush started a nonprofit that receives over 6,000 applications for 150 fellow spots each year and she is spreading the word that anyone, as long as they are passionate and dedicated enough, has a place in the fight for global health equity.  

 

To learn more about Barbara Bush and Global Health Corps, click here!

 

And for more inspiration about Smart Girls doing good, check out these articles about female entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs under 30, and the Heifer Project!

 

Sources:


Nicholas Kristof and Wikipedia

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Kate Labonte

Katie joined SGG in 2013 and is the Executive Editor for Smart Mail, Women's News writer for the Smart Girls Guide, a blogger in Smart Girls Media Sisters, and mentor in the Smart Girls Mentorship program. She is a junior at Fordham University, where she is studying Political Science, Middle Eastern Studies, and Theology. She is currently spending a year at the London School of Economics, studying government and international history. Her smarts are in current affairs, international relations, history, women’s issues, and organizing. When she’s not working on Smart Mail over a cappuccino in London, she loves to read, travel, visit museums, cook, and practice yoga.