The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • Sidewinder Performs at the White House

    Sidewinder, the Missouri Air National Guard rock band, was at the White House Wednesday to help First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden celebrate the one-year anniversary of Joining Forces.

    While the band was deployed in the Middle East, a video taken by an audience member went viral on YouTube, garnering national attention. If you weren't one of the millions of people that watched Sidewinder's version of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" on YouTube, you may have seen them perform recently on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" or watched Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson on "The Voice." And if you haven't heard of Sidewinder before, be sure to check out their performance at the White House.

    Go backstage with the band at the White House and check out video of their performances, including their covers of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."

    Learn more:

  • America's Nurses Take the Lead in Caring for Military Families

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden participate in a Joining Forces nurses event

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden participate in a Joining Forces nurses event in the Irvine Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa., April 11, 2012. Joing them on stage is Navy Lieutenant Commander Pamela Wall. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of joining First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the University of Pennsylvania for arguably the most far-reaching announcement we have had to date in Joining Forces -- a commitment from our nation's nursing leaders to train more than 3 million nurses to have a better understanding of health issues impacting our troops, veterans and their families – with a specific focus on Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). 

    The announcement was made at the University of Pennsylvania -- one of America's leading nursing schools -- and the audience included our troops, nursing students and leaders from nursing organizations and schools throughout America. 

    The atmosphere was energetic -- and it was apparent from the minute Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden walked onto the stage that these nurses and nursing students were eager and excited to get to work and support military families. 

    Nurses are some of America's most trusted professionals. They are the first to care for us when we go to a hospital or clinic and they are known for their compassion for their patients. 

  • Dr. Jill Biden Honors Winners of the Joining Forces Community Challenge

    Yesterday, Dr. Biden joined General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Deanie Dempsey, to congratulate the finalists and winners of the Joining Forces Community Challenge. Dr. Biden and Mrs. Dempsey sat down with the winners to hear their stories. The winning organizations provide scholarships for military families, greet and support troops and families at an airport in Minnesota, collect hockey equipment for military children, provide retreats for military families reuniting after deployment, provide free mental health services for members of the military, and extend support from an entire community to a local National Guard unit. 

    Dr Jill Biden at a Joining Forces event at the Pentagon

    Dr. Jill Biden, Mrs. Deanie Dempsey and USO President Sloan Gibson congratulate the finalists and winners of the Joining Forces Community Challenge at the Pentagon.

    The JFCC winners told Dr. Biden and Mrs. Dempsey how important it has been for their organizations to establish a personal connection to the military families they support.  Shane, a founder of Defending the Blue line, shared how he and others in the organization have been personally impacted by the children they have helped.  The organization recently donated hockey equipment to a 7-year-old boy whose father was killed during his deployment.  They learned that the boy loved playing hockey, and that it was so important for him to get to the rink and bond with other kids.  His coaches formed a web of support for the boy while he was grieving, and they have become like father figures to him. The equipment Defending the Blue Line provided for him is helping him through his grief.  Shane told the group how that experience meant so much to him and other volunteers. 

    All twenty of the JFCC finalists are winners. They are making the difference in the lives of military families every single day. They are shining examples of what Joining Forces is all about, and Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden hope their stories inspire all Americans, and demonstrate that anyone can find a creative ways to support these brave families, who have given so much to all of us.

    Check out this slideshow highlighting the first year of Joining Forces:

    • Joining Forces Launch

      The First Lady speaks during the launch of Joining Forces in the East Room, April 12, 2010.

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    • Joining Forces Sesame Street

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden participate in a taping on the set of "Sesame Street" in Astoria, N.Y., April 18, 2011

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    • Joining Forces Panel At The Writer's Guild Of America

      The First Lady participates in a panel discussion at the Writer's Guild of America in Los Angeles, Calif.

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama Huddles With Military Family Children

      The First Lady huddles with military family children at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., July 5, 2011.

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama Visits The Naval Air Station Oceana Summer Camp

      The First Lady visits the Naval Air Station Oceana Summer Camp in Virginia Beach, Va., July 21, 2011.

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    • Joining Forces Extreme Makeover

      The First Lady reacts as the Jubilee House is revealed in Fayetteville, N.C., July 21, 2011.

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    • Joining Forces Military Family Cookout

      The First Lady talks with a girl during a Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord, N.H., July 2

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama And Dr. Jill Biden Paint A Wall

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden paint a wall in the home of Sgt. Johnny Agbi, Jr., left, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 2011.

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    • Lunch With Active Duty And Retired Military Personnel

      The President and First Lady have lunch with active duty and retired military personnel at a restaurant in Hampton, Va., Oct. 19, 2011.

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    • Joining Forces World Series

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden attend Game 1 of the World Series with Marine Lance Cpl. James Sperry and his daughter in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 19, 2011.

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    • Joining Forces U.S. Chamber Of Commerce

      The First Lady delivers remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Business Steps Up: Hiring Our Heroes” event in Washington, D.C., Nov. 10, 2011.

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    • joining Forces NASCAR

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden watch a NASCAR race with military families at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., Nov. 20, 2011.

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    • President Barack Obama Signs The Veterans Opportunity To Work To Hire Heroes Act of 2011

      The President signs the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 in the South Court Auditorium, Nov. 21, 2011.

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    • White House Christmas Tree

      The First Lady walks with children past the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, Nov. 30, 2011.

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    • First Lady Introduces President Barack Obama

      The First Lady introduces President Barack Obama at Pope Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, N.C., Dec. 14, 2011.

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    • President Obama And First Lady Greet Troops

      The President and First Lady greet troops at Pope Army Airfield, Fort Bragg, N.C., Dec. 14, 2011.

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    • First Lady Shakes Hands With Medical Personnel

      The First Lady shakes hands with veterans and medical personnel at Virginia Commonwealth University AAMC-Medical Center in Richmond, Jan. 11, 2012.

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama Joines The iCarly Cast

      The First Lady attends an iCarly screening at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 13, 2012.

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    • Dr. Jill Biden Greets Wounded Warriors

      Dr. Biden greets wounded warriors and their families at the Wounded Warrior Hope and Care Center at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 20, 2012.

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama At Little Rock Air Force Base

      The First Lady visits the dining facility at Little Rock Air Force Base in Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 9, 2012.

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    • Defending The Blue Line Youths

      The First Lady walks with participants in the Defending the Blue Line program in Minneapolis, Minn., March 16, 2012.

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    • Department Of Defense Dinner In The East Room

      The First Lady is photographed with a guest during the Department of Defense dinner in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 29, 2012.

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    • Best Practices To Support Military Spouses

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden stand for the national anthem at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Feb. 15, 2012.

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    • Joining Forces Marine Corps Flag

      A message written by First Lady is seen on a U.S. Marine Corps flag at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., April 4, 2012.

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  • Michelle Obama's Message to Military Families: You Do Live in a Grateful Nation

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden today marked the one year anniversary of the launch of Joining Forces with an event on the South Lawn of the White House, and Mrs. Obama used the occasion to renew her call of action, and challenged all Americans to keep finding new ways to show their support for military families.

    The First Lady told the crowd that over the past year, as she and Dr. Biden reached out on behalf of our military families, "not a single person that we've talked to, that we have approached, has told us that they could not help -- not a single person.  We've asked; they said yes.

    And the good thing is, is that once people get started, they just keep coming up with new ideas on their own.  We’ll present something, and they double it.  They want to do even more.  They just keep raising their goals even higher.  They just keep figuring out how to get more and more people involved."

    And her message for all military families, is that "you do live in a grateful nation."

  • Community Colleges Connect the Dots

    Ed note: This interview with Dr. Jill Biden by Mary Ellen Flannery originally appeared on the website for the National Education Association. This excerpt has been reposted with their permission.

    Suddenly, it seems everybody, including President Obama, is talking about community colleges and their vital role in creating trained workers for American jobs in manufacturing, health services, education, and more. But Dr. Jill Biden, wife to Vice President Joe Biden, has known for years that community colleges provide a low-cost, high-quality education for millions of Americans. That’s because Biden has a front-row seat at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has taught English as an adjunct professor since 2009. Recently Biden, an educator with more than 30 years of experience, conversed with NEA Today on issues ranging from college accessibility to her summer reading list.

    Q: When President Obama visited your campus (Northern Virginia Community College) in February, he told students, “The truth is that the skills and training you receive here will be the best tool you have to achieve the American Promise.” How is this true? What do you think your students aspire to – and how does the time that they spend in community college classrooms help them achieve those dreams?

    Dr. Biden: For the last 18 years, I have seen firsthand the power of community colleges to change lives. I have welcomed students to my classroom from a wide variety of educational, economic, and cultural backgrounds, and I have seen how the community college system offers them the same path of opportunity.

    I have students who attend classes on top of a full-time job. I teach moms who are juggling jobs and child care while preparing for new careers. I have many students working toward attending a four-year university.

    Community colleges connect the dots – granting two-year degrees, providing new skills training and certification, and providing an affordable path for those who want to move on to a four-year university.

  • Building the Workforce of the Future at Community Colleges

    Dr. Jill Biden was at the Mercer County Community College in New Jersey this morning, the latest stop in her “Community College to Career” tour. Last month, Dr. Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hit the road for a bus tour through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia where they visited community colleges that have formed innovative partnerships with local business leaders to train students with the skills they need to join the area workforce.

    Employers today are looking for skilled, educated workers, and they should be able to find those workers right here in the United States. Adam Dalton, a machine shop instructor at the Tennessee Technology Center in Harriman, Tennessee, said that “I have people calling me every week saying ‘I need guys and gals with this skillset, and we need them now.’”

    Secretary Solis said that community colleges are becoming more adept and more agile at listening to the needs of local businesses, and are helping pair trained workers who need jobs with the employers who are looking to hire.

  • Vice President and Dr Biden Celebrate Women's History Month

    Vice President and Dr. Biden host a Women’s History Month reception

    Dr. Jill Biden gives remarks at a reception in honor of Women's History Month at the Naval Observatory on March 26, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the Vice President and Dr. Biden hosted a reception last night in honor of Women’s History Month to celebrate the history, accomplishments, and contributions of women across the spectrum of American life, from academia and science, business and labor, philanthropy and advocacy, athletics and the arts, to the military and government. 

    Speaking to a distinguished crowd of women (and some men) who are at the pinnacle of their careers, the Vice President applauded their courage and achievements over the last few decades, saying “you’ve empowered entire generations” of women. He continued, “I’ve learned it from Jill, I learned it from my sister, and I’ve learned from the over thousand hours of hearings we held in the Violence Against Women Act that the single most important thing that empowers young women is powerful women – powerful women.” 

    Dr. Biden praised the guests for their "courage, strength and resilience." In addition, she paid special tribute to several members of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Female Engagement Team, known as the FETs, who attended the reception. These women volunteer to join otherwise all-male Marine patrols in Afghanistan, where they build relationships with Afghan women – a population mostly off-limits to male troops – learn about the country’s culture, and support our battlefield operations in Afghanistan. To highlight the incredible work of FETs, the Vice President and Dr. Biden also installed this photo exhibit of Female Engagement Teams at work in Afghanistan on the walls of the Naval Observatory.

  • Dr. Jill Biden: Military Support Will Define Future Leaders

    Ed note: This article was cross-posted from the Department of Defense site.

    Supporting troops, veterans and their families as they’ve supported the nation is a charge that will define America’s next generation of leaders, the vice president’s wife said today.

    Dr. Jill Biden cited the importance of enduring military family support to about 200 aspiring young leaders attending the 2012 National 4-H Youth Conference, sponsored by the Agriculture Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in Chevy Chase, MD.

    “You are all here today because of your extraordinary leadership and your commitment to service,” Biden, a longtime educator, told the audience. “You are role models and mentors. As you continue to achieve, we will look to you to keep making a difference in your communities and across the country.”

    The 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, has a long-standing history of military family support, Biden said in her prepared remarks. She cited the Military 4-H Club Program, which serves children on military installations, and Operation: Military Kids, which supports children impacted by deployment.

    “4-H has provided a sense of community for military-connected children for decades,” she said. “4-H has given military-connected children an outlet -- a chance to use their talents -- and helped them reach their full potential, even while they face some unique and difficult challenges.”

    As a military mom, Biden said, she’s all too familiar with these challenges. The Bidens’ son, Beau Biden, is a major in the Delaware Army National Guard. She recalled when their son deployed to Iraq for a year, leaving his two young children behind.

  • Community College Key to a Better Future

    Ed note: Dr. Jill Biden wrote this op-ed for USA Today.

    Danny Anderson is an American hero. He is also a role model — in more ways than one.

    Danny spent six years in the Army. He loved serving his country, and when he completed his time in the military, he was eager to find other ways to serve. So Danny decided to use his military benefits to earn his degree and enrolled in Hopkinsville Community College's nursing program. Through a partnership between Gateway Medical Center and Hopkinsville Community College in Kentucky, Danny became a registered nurse and is now employed in Gateway's emergency care department.

    I met Danny last month when I traveled with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on a five-state "Community College to Career" bus tour to highlight the types of successful community college industry partnerships that are working and can serve as models for the nation.

    The impact Danny's community college education had on his life is clear — and is one I see replicated on community college campuses across the country, as well as in my own 18 years as a community college professor.

  • Improving Healthcare for Military Families

    Medscape, the largest source of online continuing education for physicians and other health professionals, has teamed up with Joining Forces to ensure that our country’s servicemembers, veterans, and military families receive the best healthcare possible.

    Soon after the White House released “Strengthening Our Military Families” in January 2011, Medscape began working with leading experts in military healthcare to create 10 new online education programs on topics ranging from military culture to screening for post-traumatic stress disorder and helping families connect with VA services. The free modules include links to resources from the government, warrior advocacy groups and medical associations. More than 100,000 physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers have viewed these education courses in the past year.

    The curriculum that Medscape has created enables community health professionals to understand and meet the needs of military families.  As servicemembers return home to their communities, such preparation is imperative—only half of those eligible for VA services seek treatment there.