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Daughter of Former President, Barbara Bush, Comes to Springfield

On Wednesday night, Barbara Bush, daughter of former president George W. Bush, was in Springfield for the Public Affairs Conference at Missouri State University. KSMU’s Adam Hammons sat down with her for a few minutes before she made her public remarks.

Barbara Bush is a Yale graduate and founder of Global Health Corps, which is an organization that places fellows around the world to bring change to under-served and impoverished regions. I was able to talk with her in a room at Juanita K. Hammons Hall before she gave her speech…

Adam: Ms. Bush, thank you for joining us today.

Barbara: Thank you for having me.

Adam: Okay so today you’re going to talk about how everybody has the ability to give back. How can one person make a difference in today’s world?

Barbara: Well I personally work in global health right now and I’m focused on encouraging young people to join the global health field and use the skills that they already have to make a difference in global health. Whether it be technology skills that they have to build electronic medical records, business management skills to do program management in communities that need additional assistance in terms of spreading health, spreading good health, whether it be education. So I think there’s a lot of ways that young people can give back, I’m most interested in health, but I think, choose any issues or problems we have right now, young people have a tremendous capacity to work on them. They have a lot of energy and a lot of passion, so I think just devoting time can make a really big difference in different areas.

Adam: Thank you. We asked our KSMU listeners if they had any questions for you, and we chose this one. How do you think your father’s policies on stem cell research and his administration’s stance on women’s health and sexual education have affected global and national healthcare and how do you think it will affect global and national healthcare?

Barbara: Thank you for that question from your listeners. I think health is a really tricky topic. I think in terms of my father’s administrations and policies, I think he did tremendous work on global healthcare. Whether it be through other president’s emergency plans for AIDS relief, or the president’s malaria initiative, I think his administration took a huge stance on implementing health policy throughout the world that have been game changers. In terms of how we’ve seen developing countries approach HIV, maternal health, malaria, etc. So I’m very proud of that legacy of the healthcare policies that he instituted.

Adam: Okay now we can go to less of a policy question. How has growing up in the White House affected you as a person?

Barbara: Well, lets see my father became president when I was 18 and so I never had the full luxury of living in the White House, but I was in college and I did have tremendous opportunities to travel with my parents to Latin America, South America, Africa, China, and I think through the exposure that they provided my sister and me to travel with them, to learn with them, to meet tremendous people like: Wendy Kopp who started Teach for America, Václav Havel who became president of the Czech Republic after he had been imprisoned. I think I was inspired by all those people, and it instilled in me a great desire to use them as role models and to do everything that I could to give back and to use them as a great stepping stone to learn in as many ways that I can. I really am very thankful for the opportunity to take advantage of that.

Adam: Okay thank you, Ms. Bush thank you for talking with us today we appreciate it.

Barbara: Thank you so much.

That was part of my conversation with Barbara Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush. She gave a public address Wednesday night at Missouri State called “One person can make a difference: Confronting today’s global health challenges.” In this address, Bush talked about her experiences starting Global Health Corps and the experiences of people who are involved in the organization.

We have a link to more information about Global Health Corps at

For KSMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.