WHO IS BARBARA PIERCE BUSH?
Barbara Pierce Bush is the daughter of former President George W. Bush and co-founder in 2009 of Global Health Corps, which provides opportunities for young professionals from diverse backgrounds to work on the front lines of the fight for global health equity.
Global Health Corps pairs its fellows with organizations that require new thinking and innovative solutions, and works right now in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, the United States, and Zambia.
Bush met the four people with whom she would co-found Global Health Corps at a UNAIDS conference five years ago, and collectively, the founders felt that although there was a lot of interest on college campuses in health, it was difficult to transform interest into action.
Bush says, “We wanted to figure out a way to channel the energy and interest of that age group into a tangible way to take action. We chose to do that through a fellowship program and highlight that there is a place for so many other skills sets besides being a doctor or nurse.”
You can learn more about Barbara’s work here:
IN TOR 003 YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
- The origin of Health Corps, a global heath initiative that looks to bring new and existing solutions to health care to places with great need in Africa and the rest of the world.
- The origin of Barbara’s mission and her decision to make health delivery her career.
- Barbara’s views on the power of partnerships, people and organized communities.
OUR CONVERSATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Public health
- Health delivery and access
- Washington, DC
- East and Southern Africa
EPISODE CRIB NOTES
Health Corps Inspiration
Met the co-founders at the UNAIDS conference.
They were working on HIV issues and had tried some awareness work.
She was noticing unsuccessful efforts by colleges. It’s difficult to build young leaders that enact action.
Bush had some experience regarding health in the developing world.
They decided to work on something related to global health action.
Members come from different countries and backgrounds.
A lot of effort has gone into building strong relationships with the right partners.
Work has taken directions not foreseen. Architects have worked in health issues. Their background has helped in designing physical solutions for hospitals.
The above case is also an example of how some types of problems or solutions exist, but do not seem to be available for the development sector other than by random chance.
These discoveries also give hope in the search for finding new health care paradigms, particularly for the developing world.
Just back from Rwanda and India. “When I first got interested in global health I was in college, PEPFAR was being launched. I was on summer break so I joined to go to East and Southern Africa for the launch. My memories from the experience probably shaped the rest of my professional life.”
She realized how expensive it was to get medicine there, especially for people in rural areas. She witnessed people on the streets waiting for medical help. Access could be improved so much further, the medicines, technologies and delivery systems already existed in most parts of the world. She spoke with desperate mothers of sick children whose lives were on the balance. She took it upon herself to help bring access there.
Continuous learning, gaining power
Health Corps invests in people. That has been inspiring.
Efficiency comes almost naturally for people invested.
This has allowed Barbara to meet new people.
The power of community work is a constant source of amazement.
Partnerships accelerate, there is room to be done, and gaps have been bridged.
“It’s critical to learn as much as you can, then keep learning.” From the community, technical issues of medicine, pharmacy and logistics; then global political and economic issues. And so on.
“Be useful, relevant, humble.”
“Don’t assume what the answers are.”
“Listen to people constantly.”
“Always be looking for partnerships.”
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