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Power of the Purse

This week a hometown friend invited me to the Tenth Anniversary celebration and fundraiser for Power of the Purse, which features a purse auction to benefit the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health. Over 1,000 women attended to hear former first lady, Mrs. Laura Bush, talk about the efforts they have made in raising awareness about women’s health issues.

Ten years ago, representatives from Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Amarillo, Texas traveled to Washington D.C. with a plan for an institution that would be dedicated to “improving the lives of women and girls in Texas and across the nation by advancing multidisciplinary science in women’s health”. Programs that began in Amarillo, Lubbock and San Angelo have now spread across the state to Midland, Corpus Christi, Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as making efforts to educate and bring awareness to health issues for women throughout the world.

Mrs. Bush entertained us with an update about her family. She spoke some about the Wounded Warriors Project, and assured us that she and President Bush continue their commitment to helping those who have served our country. For several years, the Warrior 100K mountain bike race was held right here in the Texas Panhandle, at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. That event will now take place at their ranch in Crawford, Texas.


Power of the Purse luncheon with over 1,000 in attendance, Civic Center, Amarillo, Texas.

Founding Director and the Chief Scientific Officer, Marjorie Jenkins, M.D., led Mrs. Bush in a Fireside Chat style interview, in which they updated luncheon attendees on the accomplishments of the institute, as well as upcoming projects. I was most interested to hear about the MommyMeds Mobile App, which is a health and safety app for all pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. For women unsure about the safety of prescriptions or over-the-counter meds, they can search the data base or scan the bar codes for instruction on drug safety. Dr. Thomas Hale, author of “Medication and Mother’s Milk”, was instrumental in developing this amazing app. I remember how nervous I was about taking even Rolaids or Tylenol when I was pregnant. Not all programs funded by the Institute only benefit women. As the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health moves into its next decade of existence, men’s health issues will be included as well.

Cheryl and Natalie, Power of the Purse Luncheon in Amarillo, Texas.