Health Matters 2013: Coachella Valley as ‘ground zero’ for healthy changes


The Coachella Valley is “ground zero” for wellness — as proven by an unprecedented partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Desert Healthcare District Vice President Kay Hazen said Tuesday.

Hazen introduced a panel on “Healthy Communities” at the second-annual “Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation” conference.

President Bill Clinton is hosting the conference at the La Quinta Resort and Club.

Since the conference last year, the district has partnered with Clinton’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation to fund a full-time healthy schools relationship manager.

Every school in the valley has agreed to create a wellness council, too, and programming will expand to every school over the next four years, Hazen said.

“This is the first time that this opportunity for the Alliance — to reach every school within a confined geographical region — has been to put to the test,” Hazen said.

Hazen thanked the Clinton Foundation for the “inspiration and the support” to make behavioral, policy and systematic changes to fight obesity and related health problems.

“Together, we’ll move the needle in a positive and healthy direction toward wellness,” she said.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation aims to combat childhood obesity and is a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association.

Health Matters 2013: Rep. Raul Ruiz absent, hopes to hear about social responsibility

Dr. Raul Ruiz stood last year to address President Bill Clinton at the first Health Matters conference. Months later, the president flew back to California to endorse the emergency room physician for Congress.

This time around, the newly elected Congressman isn’t among the heavyweights who are talking about the future of the nation’s health at the second-annual “Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation,” held Tuesday at the La Quinta Resort and Club.

The former president, Chelsea Clinton, Deepak Chopra, Jillian Michaels, Humana Chairman Michael McCallister, and former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher are featured speakers.

Sen. Christopher Murphy from Connecticut was also on stage.

Ruiz, who was sworn into office earlier this month, was in meetings in Washington D.C., a spokeswoman told us. The House of Representatives is in session this week.

In an emailed response to questions from The Desert Sun, Ruiz said he hopes that conference leaders focus on “social responsibility and the role of the community” in improving health.

Three quick question-and-answers from that email with Rep. Raul Ruiz:

What would you would like to see addressed at the Health Matters conference?
In addition to an emphasis on personal responsibility for healthy living, I would like to see the Health Matters Conference focus on social responsibility and the role of the community in improving health care access and health education for all people.

Any thoughts on what has been accomplished since last year’s Health Matters conference?
I’m very pleased that the Clinton Health Matters Initiative is committed to improving health and wellness and fighting obesity in the Coachella Valley.

What will your “homework,” as President Clinton would say, be for the next year?
My goal is to continue the work I started as a doctor in the Coachella Valley and build coalitions within the community to identify ways we can improve access to affordable, high-quality healthcare and health education for all people.


Ruiz was featured in a brief video interview shown before a panel on “Healthy Communities,” which included the mayors of Coachella and Palm Springs.

Coachella Valley has one of the worst health care crises — both in terms of consequences and access to healthcare — in the nation, Ruiz said in the video.

Ruiz was grateful, he said, that Clinton chose to include the valley in his Health Matters initiative.

“If we can improve the health care access for everybody, not only in healthcare delivery but also in health education, then we can make the Coachella Valley and the surrounding areas one of the healthiest communities in the entire nation,” Ruiz said.

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 2013: How to partner with wired Coachella Valley Unified students

President Bill Clinton and his team of medical experts heard Tuesday about the thousands of students in the eastern Coachella Valley clamoring for iPads.

Clinton is sitting front row at the La Quinta Resort and Club for his second-annual health and wellness conference, Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation.

During the “Health Transformation” panel, medical experts focused heavily on data sharing and how evolving technology affects healthcare.

Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent Darryl Adams stood and eagerly waved his program for attention.

Adams told the panel about the district’s iPad pilot program, under which thousands of students will be wired.

“I want to partner with you. Could you help us?” he asked.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor NBC News, turned to the panel and asked what they would do to empower kids who are “impoverished, but wired.”

Dr. Donald Berwick, former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, spoke.

“Each kid needs to know they’re not alone,” he said. “One of the great opportunities you have now is for kids to be able to say, I have this problem. Who else has it? What have you done?

“By the way, I’m thrilled to hear the school system getting involved here,” Berwick continued. “Health is not going to be solved in health care.”


During her panel on “Access to Healthy Lifestyles,” Chelsea Clinton mentioned the Coachella Valley Unified School District again.

She praised the iPad campaign and cited it specifically as an example when asking panelists how government can help.


Health Matters 2013: How Bill Clinton got to the Golden Globes

When President Bill Clinton began his first healthcare panel in La Quinta on Tuesday, his relationship with Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg stole the spotlight.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a longtime Clinton friend and chief medical editor for NBC News, will moderate the “Health Transformation” panel for the second-annual Health Matters conference.

But first she joked with Clinton about his surprise appearance Sunday at the Golden Globes, alluding to show co-host Amy Poehler’s reaction to Clinton’s appearance on stage.

“So rumor has it that Hilary Clinton’s husband was spotted” at the Golden Globes, Snyderman said from the stage Tuesday at the La Quinta Resort and Club.

“Yeah, it’s not my forum, is it?” Clinton said.

“I thought you did pretty darn well,” Snyderman responded.

“Well, Steven Spielberg let me write my own script, which I couldn’t believe,” Clinton said.

Clinton went on to explain his role in the development of the -nominated “Lincoln” and his long relationship with Steven Spielberg.

“On a couple occasions he’s been nice enough to send me a script with some relevance to something I know and asked me to read it,” Clinton said.

Spielberg sent Clinton at least three copies of the “Lincoln” script, asking him his thoughts on the character of Lincoln. That’s what led to his introduction of the film Sunday at the Golden Globes.

“So he asked me to introduce it and explained what the historical importance was, and I agreed to do it,” Clinton said.

Clinton said he thought some of the language was “a little too earthy, if you wanted 9-year-olds to go to the movie.” But he spoke highly of the movie and its portrayal of the fellow president.

“I thought the movie should be a movie for general audiences, and it was very carefully done based on diaries,” Clinton said.

Health Matters 2013: Bill Clinton thanks Coachella Valley for welcoming him back

President Bill Clinton took the stage Tuesday morning in La Quinta for the second annual Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation.

About 400 stakeholders in various industries — education and health experts among them —

Clinton made the opening remarks after “The Biggest Loser” Jillian Michaels led attendees in a chilly morning workout.

“I want to thank everyone in the Coachella Valley for welcoming us back,” Clinton said.

Clinton talked about falling childcare obesity rates. He lamented the link between the economy and healthcare; that employers cannot increase wages because of the high costs of healthcare.

Then he singled out a 14-year-old boy in the audience named Carter who worked with his mom to create a device that helps infuse water with fruit. All conference attendees will get one.

“We don’t need a government solution to all these things,” Clinton said. “There are things we can do together that will make a difference.”


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.