The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • Weekly Wrap Up: “Every kid in this country can make it”

    Promise Zones: The President announced on Thursday the first five “Promise Zone” locations, an initiative to partners with local communities and businesses to create jobs, expand access to educational opportunities and spur economic mobility.

    President Obama was joined in the East Room by students from Harlem Children’s Zone, an educational undertaking that inspired the Promise Zones, where he spoke about the importance of making sure a child’s path isn’t determined by their zip code, but rather by their hard work and determination. In his speech, the President mentioned how he wasn’t so different from one of the students who has benefitted from the Harlem Children’s Zone.

    “If you want to know why I care about this stuff so much, it's because I'm not that different from Roger,” President Obama said.

    There was a period of time in my life where I was goofing off. I was raised by a single mom. I didn’t know my dad. The only difference between me and Roger was my environment was more forgiving than his. That’s the only difference. If I screwed up, the consequences weren't quite as great. So if Roger can make it, and if I can make it, if Kiara can make it, every kid in this country can make it. 

    The Promise Zones, located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, are the first of 20 being launched over the next three years. You can read his full remarks here.

    Extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance: On Tuesday, President Obama called on Congress to extend emergency unemployment insurance. Two weeks ago, Congress failed to renew the vital lifeline that temporarily extends insurance for 1.3 million Americans who are currently looking for work. “Now, I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it zaps their motivation to get a new job,” the President said.


  • This Is The Affordable Care Act: Giving Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer Access to Free Chemoprevention Medication

    More than 20 years ago, my personal involvement in the fight against breast cancer started after four of my friends were diagnosed with the disease in the same year. After one of those friends lost her battle, I saw just what a ruthless adversary breast cancer could be. Far too many of us have lost a loved one to breast cancer or seen a colleague or friend endure painful treatments to fight the disease. 

    That is why I am so pleased that today the Administration is making clear that most health insurance plans must soon cover chemoprevention medications like tamoxifen and raloxifene that can reduce the risk of breast cancer for women who have an increased chance of developing the disease. In addition, these health plans will have to cover the medications at no cost to these women.

    Women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer face many questions. Now, if their doctor recommends that the benefits of this treatment outweigh the risks, one question women across the country won’t have to ask is whether they can afford it. 

    This is just one more way the Affordable Care Act is helping fight breast cancer. Already, the ACA ensures that about 47 million women have access to free mammograms every year or two, that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage or increase premiums due to pre-existing conditions like breast cancer, and new health plans can no longer set an annual or lifetime cap on someone’s health insurance benefits – meaning women diagnosed with breast cancer will not max out their insurance benefits while seeking treatment.


  • Dr. Jill Biden Hosts a National Guard Christmas Tree Dedication

    Dr. Jill Biden hosts a National Guard Christmas Tree dedication in her office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Dr. Jill Biden hosts a National Guard Christmas Tree dedication in her office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today, Dr. Biden -- herself a National Guard mom -- welcomed senior National Guard spouses, National Guard Family Program members, and their children to her office for a National Guard Christmas tree dedication.

    The 54 ornaments came from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Each state submitted one ornament, some of which were designed by military youth or service members.

    The National Guard tree is just one part of this year’s White House holiday décor honoring service men and women, veterans and military families. As visitors enter the White House for holiday tours, they will first see a tree featuring red, white, and blue star-shaped ornaments, to honor Gold Star Families – those whose who have lost a loved one serving in the military. And in the Blue Room, this year’s 18-foot-6-inch official White House Christmas tree  features decorations made by children living on bases across the country.

    Dr. Biden Hosts a National Guard Christmas Tree Dedication

    If you would like to share a message of thanks this holiday season, please visit www.joiningforces.gov.  

    For additional information about holidays at the White House 2013, go to WH.gov/Holidays. Holiday-related content from the White House will be tagged #WHHoliday.

    Melanie Kaye serves as the Communications Director to Dr. Jill Biden.


  • Giving Thanks: Honoring Our Wounded Warriors & Their Families

    Giving Thanks: Honoring Our Wounded Warriors & Their Families

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden bow their heads as Chaplain Barry Black gives the benediction during the fifth annual wounded warrior Thanksgiving dinner, at the Naval Observatory Residence, November 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Last night, Joe and I had the tremendous honor of hosting our fifth annual early Thanksgiving dinner for 13 Wounded Warriors and their families at our home.


  • Community College to Career Tour on the Road Again

    Today, Dr. Jill Biden and Labor Secretary Tom Perez will visit Cleveland Community College in North Carolina and Broward College in Florida as part of their “Community College to Career” tour designed to highlight innovative workforce training partnerships.

    Dr. Biden and Secretary Perez will meet with students, tour innovative labs and classrooms, and learn more about the Labor Department’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants. These unprecedented investments are helping leverage strong partnerships with local employers to transform community colleges into engines of economic growth across the country.

    Follow along with @LaborSec and @DrBiden on Twitter, and use the hashtag #CCTour to share how community colleges are helping your own community strengthen the workforce of today and train the workforce of tomorrow.

    Check out this video featuring 2012’s “Community College to Career” bus tour.


  • West Wing Week: 11/15/13 or "We Will Stand By Your Side"

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and beyond. This week, the First and Second Families honored Veterans Day, the President traveled to New Orleans and to Cleveland to speak on the importance of infrastructure to job creation, signed the EpiPen Law, discussed immigration reform with Faith Leaders and attended the 5th Annual Tribal Nations Conference. That's November 8th to November 14th or "We Will Stand By Your Side."


  • Helping Veterans Succeed in the Classroom

    Dr. Biden delivers opening remarks at Google's veterans' higher education event, Washington, D.C., November 13, 2013

    Dr. Biden delivers opening remarks at Google's veterans' higher education event, Washington, D.C., November 13, 2013

     
    Earlier today, Dr. Jill Biden joined Google for their announcement of a Global Impact Award to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Student Veterans of America, the Posse Foundation and Veterans of Foreign Wars to help ensure colleges and universities have the information they need to help veterans succeed in obtaining higher education.
     
    “I have seen it in my own classroom -- veterans bring the same determination and focus to their studies that they brought to serving our country,” said Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator and military mom.
     
    Dr. Biden said the efforts were “exactly what the First Lady and I hoped to see when we started our Joining Forces initiative two years ago … individuals, businesses, and nonprofits working with the public sector to step up and do what they do best to help veterans and military families."
     
    Over the next few years, more than a million service men and women will end their military careers and transition back to civilian life. For many, education will be at the front line of that transition. Ensuring that our returning veterans and military families have access to the programs and resources that will help them successfully navigate their educational paths is critical.
     
    As Dr. Biden noted, many of the student veterans she has met face unique challenges – they differ from their classmates in terms of age and experience, they often find a more relaxed schedule on campus to be very different from the rigid military schedule they are used to, and are juggling multiple priorities outside of school.
     
    As part of Joining Forces, Dr. Biden plans to visit programs at colleges and universities around the country who are supporting veterans and military families to learn more about how successful programs can be replicated at other institutions.


  • President Obama Commemorates Veterans Day

    This Veterans Day, the President honored those, past and present, who put on the uniform of the United States military and put their lives on the line.

    President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton

    President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, with Earlene Love-Karo, in the Blue Room of the White House, Nov. 11, 2013. Mr. Overton,107 years old and the oldest living World War II veteran, attended the Veteran's Day Breakfast at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    On Monday morning, the President hosted a breakfast in the East Room of the White House for veterans and their families. In attendance was Richard Overton from Austin, Texas. Richard is the oldest living World War II veteran. The President honored the veteran in his remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, and thanked Richard for his selfless dedication and his courage when he faced adversity.

    That’s what we owe veterans like Richard Overton, who served in the Army in World War II. He was there at Pearl Harbor, when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa.  He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, “I only got out of there by the grace of God.”

    When the war ended, Richard headed home to Texas to a nation bitterly divided by race.  And his service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home.  But this veteran held his head high.  He carried on and lived his life with honor and dignity.  


  • 'Joining Forces' with You on Veterans Day

    Ed. note: The following op-ed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden appeared this morning on the following military news websites: Military Times, Army Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times, and Navy Times.

    Over the past five years, the two of us have had the privilege of traveling across America and around the world to visit with our extraordinary troops, veterans and military families — and time and again, we have been awed by your service and sacrifice.

    We’ve been overwhelmed by the courage of our wounded warriors and the devotion of the caregivers who stand by their side. We’ve been inspired by the military spouses and children who’ve endured move after move, deployment after deployment with such strength and grace. And we’ve seen how, even after transitioning to civilian life, our veterans and military families continue to serve, volunteering countless hours in your communities for all sorts of important causes.

    That’s why, 2½ years ago, we decided that it was our obligation not only to tell you how much we appreciate everything you do for our country, but to show you by stepping up and giving you and your families the honor, recognition and support you’ve earned. That’s how Joining Forces was born.

    The goal of this initiative was to rally all Americans to step up and serve you as well as you have served this country. We challenged individuals, organizations and businesses across the country to make real, meaningful commitments to you and your families. And from the very beginning, we have been overwhelmed by the response. Here are just a few examples:

    Employment: It is simply unacceptable that men and women who serve this country so bravely abroad often struggle to find a good job once they return home. Our veterans are some of the most highly-skilled, hardest-working employees around. They thrive in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, and they’ve got extensive experience building teams, managing complex logistics, and dealing with cutting-edge technology.


  • Shining a Light on our Researchers, Doctors, Nurses, and Caregivers

    Dr. Jill Biden gives remarks at a breast cancer awareness month reception

    Dr. Jill Biden gives remarks at a breast cancer awareness month reception with Vice President Joe Biden, in the living room at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington, D.C., Nov. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Earlier this week, Joe and I hosted our 2nd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Reception. We were joined by survivors, caregivers, families, doctors, researchers, and advocates who have all been touched by breast cancer.

    Each year, this reception is one of the most inspiring events that we hold at our home, and this year was no different. As I embraced both old and new friends, I was reminded of the bravery of the survivors and their loved ones. I saw the hope in their eyes, their unwavering spirit, and their determination to continue pushing forward.

    This year, we asked all of the survivors to invite someone who was important to them during their course of treatment. Joe and I know that the fight against breast cancer is not only limited to what the patient endures, but also extends to the family members, the caregivers, the doctors, and researchers who work day in and day out to save lives and support those that they love.