The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • Spielberg, Hanks and Winfrey Join Forces to Support Our Troops

    Watch a Joining Forces PSA featuring Tom Hanks, here.

    Three of the biggest stars in America are lending their voices to Joining Forces, the initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr.Jill Biden to bring attention to the unique needs and strength of America’s military families. Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have each created public service announcements (PSAs) that tell real stories about America's military families and call on all Americans to give back to ensure service members and military families have the support they have earned.

    "The entertainment community answered the Joining Forces call and has done what they do best -- bring to life stories that move us," said Mrs. Obama. "Through this PSA campaign, Americans will learn more about the unique challenges and needs of our military families, see their strength, resilience and service, and find out how they can give back to these extraordinary troops and families who have given us so much."

    The project was conceived by Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen, who leads the Inter-Guild Joining Forces Task Force, an entertainment industry coalition that provides creative and production support for Joining Forces. Each of the PSAs tells the story of a military family  as they endure the hardship of a deployment overseas. The PSAs will be airing on A + E, CBS, NBC,  ABC, FOX, and WB networks.

    Dr Biden, whose son served in Iraq, said, "As a military mom, I know just how much it means when people reach out to show their support for our service members and their families. The first lady and I hope that this campaign will inspire more Americans to take action and reach out to military families in their own communities around the country."

    Watch a Joining Forces PSA featuring Oprah Winfrey, here

    Watch a Joining Forces PSA featuring Steven Spielberg, here

  • Dr. Biden: October Is the Time for Each of Us to Consider the Role We Can Play in Combatting Breast Cancer

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it’s an important time to consider the role that each of us can and must play in combating this disease. Far too many of us have lost a loved one to breast cancer – or seen a neighbor or a colleague endure painful treatments or a long battle with the disease.

    We know that early detection can make all the difference. And I am proud to be a part of an Administration that is working hard to ensure that affordable and accessible preventive care is a reality. Thanks to the health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, most private health plans and Medicare cover women’s preventive health care – such as mammograms and screenings for cervical cancer –with no co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs. This year to date, 3.8 million women in traditional Medicare have received a free mammogram.  

    Last week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Jennifer Aniston, and I toured a state-of-the-art breast health center in Northern Virginia. We met with committed health professionals as well as with women who shared personal stories about their battles with breast cancer. 

    There is no question that we have a lot of work ahead of us – but I will say that we were all inspired and hopeful after the visit. Please take a minute to see some highlights of our visit, and hear first-hand from some of these inspiring women. 

    Forward this video to your loved ones, together we will win this fight!



  • Is there a Hero in Your Neighborhood?

    Watch First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden announce the Joining Forces Community Challenge, here. 

    The First Lady and I are excited to announce that the submission deadline for the Joining Forces Community Challenge has been extended to October 31, 2011.

    In a previous post, we highlighted a sample of the submissions and nominations that we have already received.  Since that post, we have been amazed by the flood of applications featuring people around the country that are working to support our military families. Whether as an individual, a small regional organization, or a nation-wide effort, you continue to be an inspiration to us all. 

  • Honoring Hispanic Heritage

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a Hispanic Heritage Month Reception

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., September 29, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Last week, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception at the Naval Observatory to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and recognize the outstanding contributions of Hispanic Americans across the military, government and private sector.  As Social Secretary to the Vice President and Dr. Biden, I was pleased to open up the doors of the Vice President’s residence for this special occasion – the third Hispanic Heritage reception they have hosted at their home.

    The Vice President spoke before a crowd that included veterans and active duty service members, as well as Hispanic business leaders from around the nation. Noting the particular influence of Hispanic immigrants on American society, Vice President Biden said, “we have never once in our history not been stronger and richer and more vibrant as a consequence of the waves of immigration. … it is the thing that enriches us.”

    The reception also recognized the continuing sacrifice and dedication of Hispanic American service members, with veterans from the Vietnam War to the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in attendance.

  • Famine in the Horn of Africa: Be a Part of the Solution

    Dr. Jill Biden on the Late Show with David Letterman

    Dr. Biden and David Letterman refer to a map of Africa while discussing the Somalia famine relief efforts. (Photo from the Late Show with David Letterman)

    Last Monday, the U.S. Agency for International Development, in partnership with the Ad Council, launched a public awareness campaign called “FWD” – standing for Famine, War, Drought - to draw the attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. 

    The campaign is calling on Americans to FWD the Facts.  FWD them to your friends, FWD them to your neighbors, FWD them to everyone you know. 

    A few of the facts: 

    • More than 13 million people are in crisis – making this the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
    • More than 700,000 people have fled from their homes in Somalia to Ethiopia and Kenya – creating the world’s largest refugee camps.
    • 1 child is dying every 6 minutes in Somalia.
    • More than 750,000 people are projected to perish from starvation in Somalia within the next four months if humanitarians are not allowed access in to southern Somalia. 

  • 17 Years After Violence Against Women Act, Vice President Calls on New Generation to Take Action

    Last night, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden held a reception at the Naval Observatory to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) being signed into law, as well as call on a new generation to take action to reduce the high rates of violence and assault that continues to threaten young men and women across the country.

    Speaking before a crowd that included many of the men and women who supported the Vice President’s efforts to see the Act become law on September 13, 1994, the Vice President remarked on how it was VAWA that exposed a “flaw that lay as part of the fabric of American society”– the fact that the mere discussion of violence and abuse being committed against women was considered by many to be taboo.

    Beyond shattering this notion, the law redefined the way domestic violence is handled through changes in law enforcement, improvements in the criminal justice system and the establishment of shelters and services for victims.

  • Be Part of the Joining Forces Community Challenge

    I’m writing today about a very special project, the Joining Forces Community Challenge.

    In that past few years, the First Lady and I have seen incredible examples of people and organizations reaching out to our military families in creative and meaningful ways.  Individuals and groups are coming together in communities all across this country to make a difference in the lives of our service members by hosting baby showers, providing free accounting help during tax season, or recognizing military families during community events.  As an Army mom, I am especially grateful for this outreach.

    To recognize and celebrate these individuals and organizations, the First Lady and I launched the Joining Forces Community Challenge earlier this summer.  The challenge will award several national prizes later this year that recognize citizens and organizations for their efforts in support of military families.

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Greet People at the Warrior and Family Support Center

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden greet people while visiting the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, Texas, April 13, 2011. The First Lady and Dr. Biden met with service members and their families during their visit to the facility, which helps care for family members of Wounded Warriors whose recovery is expected to last a long period of time. The center was built with private donations and is run by volunteers from the surrounding community. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

  • Observing the Tenth Anniversary of September 11

    This weekend, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden remembered those who were lost in the attacks on September 11, 2001. September 11th has been designated as a National Day of Service and Remembrance and the First Family started the weekend by joining Americans from across the country in participating in service projects to honor those whose lives were taken ten years ago.

    On Saturday, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden were joined by President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and former First Lady Laura Bush in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to participate in a dedication ceremony for the first phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial.

    Watch a glimpse of the Memorial with the Vice President and Dr. Biden here.

  • The Humanitarian Crisis in Africa: How You Can Help

    Watch the video on the humanitarian crisis in Africa.

    Dr. Jill Biden and the US officials who joined her on a trip to a refugee center in Kenya want the American people to understand how severe the crisis caused by a combination of drought, famine and war has become, especially on the most vulnerable population, the children of Somalia.

    “It touched my heart,” said Dr. Biden about reading the news and seeing the footage of the spreading humanitarian crisis, “as a mother, I watched these children … saw them starving and thought, we have to do something.” Earlier this week, she traveled to the Dadaab refugee complex in Eastern Kenya, where approximately 420,000 people who have fled war-torn Somalia in search of food, water and shelter, are currently living in a tented city originally built to accommodate 90,000.

    Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, another member of the delegation, says more must be done to help famine victims. "A lot of people don't realize, especially in this environment of what's happening in terms of the economy here and at home, that this is the most acute food security emergency anywhere in the world now and in recent years," he said.

  • On the Ground in the Horn of Africa

    Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the USAID Impact blog.

    Eighty kilometers from Kenya’s border with Somalia, the Dadaab Refugee Complex—already the world’s largest refugee camp—has seen on average 1,500 exhausted and starving men, women and children arrive each day.  Fleeing from famine that is now gripping a large portion of southern Somalia largely inaccessible to aid workers, thousands of refugees have walked days—or even weeks—to reach help.  The United Nations estimates that over 12.4 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including food, water and medical care, across the drought-stricken eastern Horn of Africa.

    Yesterday, I arrived in Dadaab with representatives from across the United States Government, including Dr. Jill Biden, Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith, Senator Bill Frist and Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz.  The trip underscored the commitment of the U.S. Government—the single largest donor in the region—to respond to the immediate crisis with life-saving assistance and investments in long-term solutions to hunger. Ultimately, we know that it is smarter and cheaper to invest in food security than face the consequences of famine and food riots.