Noteworthy: Chelsea Clinton reflects on why children’s health is close to her heart

By: Katelyn Godoy
Chelsea Clinton holding a microphone

Photo above by Ashley Jones

A member of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Board of Overseers, Chelsea Clinton is known worldwide for her commitment to advancing and improving the health and opportunities of children through policy, research, and education. As a mother of two, these issues are more than a passion; they’re personal.

Early this February, Clinton sat down for a conversation with Dr. Rainu Kaushal, chair of the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Cornell Medicine, as part of the Luminaries in Healthcare Leadership series. The series, in which industry leaders share their thoughts on the current issues in today’s ever-changing healthcare industry, is presented by the Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership program.

Rainu and Chelsea seated at the front of the room
Dr. Rainu Kaushal moderates the discussion with Chelsea Clinton on Feb. 5, 2019. (Photo by Ashley Jones)

Key takeaways from Chelsea Clinton’s conversation

Misinformation and public pushback against evidence and data is a pressing issue within health and science policy.

Back in 2000, said Clinton, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention effectively declared victory over measles in the United States. Addressing the issue of misinformation surrounding vaccinations for children, she expressed disbelief at the fact that, not even two months into 2019, there have been reports of multiple outbreaks of measles in multiple places across the country. Clinton underscored the unimaginable, potentially dangerous consequences of public pushback against evidence and data.

“Every parent, I’m convinced, loves their children and wants to do what’s best, and many cannot because of circumstance, but ignorance should not be an option,” she says.

Childhood obesity is one of the children’s health issues that Clinton is currently focusing on.

Through her work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a nonprofit founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, it’s clear that Clinton is intently focused on the next generation of Americans. Efforts have included an emphasis on healthier food options, as well as increased physical activity, in schools nationwide.

When deciding how and where to spend her time, Clinton asks herself two critical questions.

“Am I compelled by the mission, by what an institution is doing? Are the people who are already a part of that mission people that I want to spend time around?”

While much of her work is related to health, Clinton says that most everything else she’s involved in are “largely organizations or efforts driven by people that I really respect and I want to help and learn alongside.”

Read more about Chelsea Clinton’s conversation on Weill Cornell Medicine’s website.