Health Matters 2013: Barbra Streisand announces $2 million pledge to women’s heart research


Actress Barbra Streisand wants to talk potato chips.

She took the stage in La Quinta on Tuesday at President Bill Clinton’s second-annual Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation Conference.

Streisand, a member of the Cedars-Sinai board of directors, briefly talked about health and junk food.

“I want to start with potato chips,” she said after the applause faded. “Not to eat. Americans spend $7.9 billion a year on potato chips.”

Streisand then announced a $2 million donation from the Cedars-Sinai’s Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center to go toward women’s heart issues and launching a national campaign to spread awareness and increase education.

“The pledges made during this conference will undoubtedly impact many lives for years to come,” the philanthropist and actress said before leaving the stage.

Moments later, Chelsea Clinton opened a panel on “Access to Healthy Lifestyles” with a nod to the pledge.

It will help mothers and grandmothers stay alive and well to care for their families, panelist Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz said. She is director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.

Research into women’s heart health is decades behind research into men’s, she said.

“We still are at least 35 years behind the knowledge that we know about men’s heart disease. That’s primarily because research was done with men, for men and by men,” Merz said.

Health Matters: What you need to know for Bill Clinton’s conference

Former President Bill Clinton spoke at the 2012 Health Matters conference. (Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun)

President Bill Clinton will host his second-annual Health Matters conference in the Coachella Valley this week.

“Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation” is slated to run from 7 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at the La Quinta Resort and Club.

The conference, which precedes the Humana Challenge PGA Tour event, will bring together 400 stakeholders to talk health and well being.

Among the highlights of the scheduled events, which is for pre-approved participants:

  • “The Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels will return to host another morning workout.
  • Chelsea Clinton will moderate a panel “Access to Healthy Livings,” during which Dr. Deepak Chopra and actress Barbra Streisand are scheduled to speak.
  • Michaels will moderate a panel on “Living Healthy” that includes Olympic gold medalist Kristen Armstrong Savola.
  • Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and Desert Healthcare District president Dr. Glen Grayman are among those scheduled for a “Healthy Communities” panel.

Ask a question: Tweet your questions to @ClintonTweet, and  make sure to add #HealthMatters2013

Hear from people at the conference: Follow the tweets of celebrity guests, panel speakers and The Desert Sun reporters via this list.

Join the Twitter conversation: Add #HealthMatters2013 to each of your tweets, and check out the rest of the tweets with that hash tag.

Watch the live video: Clinton Foundation is providing a live stream of the Health Matters Conference that we’ve paired with live tweets from the event.

Mann of letters takes on Streisand, Broadway and the big screen

William J. Mann

William Mann has spent a significant part of his writing career getting up close and personal with Hollywood legends.

He’s uncovered, dissected, analyzed and humanized the lives and lore of Katherine Hepburn, William Haines and Elizabeth Taylor among others. With a sharp intellect and skill that’s produced six non-fiction books and five novels, Mann recently began exploring unfamiliar terrain.

He’s in talks to bring a musical version of his 1998 biography, “Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines,” to the stage. It’s been optioned by TV producer and screenwriter David Lee (“Frasier,” “The Jeffersons” and “Cheers”) of Palm Springs, and is being written, Mann says.

Haines’ life is full of rich material for the stage. The star, who was dropped by his movie studio after refusing to deny he was gay, went on to achieve staggering success as an interior designer. He created the living spaces for many of the rich and famous, including the Annenbergs at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage.

In addition to the stage production, there are plans to bring Haines’ story to movie screens. Mann says a screenplay based on his book is being written by Jaffe Cohen and Michael Zam, who did “The Kid” on Broadway.

Though a fan of Broadway, Mann admits he doesn’t know a lot about the creative side of musical theater.

“I’m learning more about the whole musical world,” he says. “I’m seeing musicals and reading the books from past shows.”

However, it’s not the only project that’s cast him into the unknown.

For his new biography, available at booksellers this month, Mann honed in on a celebrated singer, actress, director and LGBT rights advocate.

In “Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand,” he explores the first five years of her stellar career. It’s a similar tact he used with his previous book, “How To Be A Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood,” choosing to focus the story on the violet-eyed star during the ’60s.

The Streisand biography comes just as the star celebrates 50 years in entertainment this month.

Mann will read from the book at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Palm Springs Public Library, 300 S. Sunrise Way, and he will sign copies of the book from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Just Fabulous, 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

Read our interview with Mann about the Streisand book in the new issue of Desert Outlook magazine, out Thursday, Oct. 6.



* Palm Springs residents recount their experience and lingering effects of reparative therapy. Governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation outlawing what LGBT rights advocates called “psychological abuse” on minors, making California the first state to do so.

* A pictoral history of drag queens in Palm Springs. They’re not who you think they are!

* A Palm Springs couple explores outdoor living with continental flair.

* Love her or hate her, Barbie is giving Marilyn a run for her money as the desert’s hottest, most talked about blond bombshell.