The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
November 7, 2007

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the Announcement of the Jenna Welch Women's Center at Texas Tech - Permian Basin Campus
Texas Tech - Permian Basin Campus
Odessa, Texas

3:47 P.M. CST

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all very, very much. I'm thrilled to be here today. It's so great to look out in the crowd and see so many old friends. Thank you all for coming out today. This is a huge thrill for me to have a women's health institute in my home part of the state named for me. So I want to thank you all very much for that.

This morning we were in Amarillo, where we saw the building, the first building with the Laura Bush name on it, the Women's Institute that's actually already ongoing there in Amarillo. And one of the things that I liked best about being there, and here now, is that only Texans can appreciate the dusty, wind-swept plains of Amarillo -- (laughter) -- the dusty, wind-swept plains of Midland -- (laughter) -- and the dusty, wind-swept plains of Odessa. (Laughter.) So it's great to be here.

Nadine, thank you very much for joining us as well. Texas Tech's Women's Health Institute is committed to outstanding education and world-class research. And I'm honored that you're naming this Institute's new building in Midland after someone who's certainly taken care of me and educated me my whole life: my mother.

Mother and I can't imagine anything better than being associated with the good health of women -- especially West Texas women. (Applause.)

I also want to thank Chancellor Kent Hance. Most of you in this room, if you're old enough, remember that in 1978, George ran against Kent Hance for the 19th congressional district. When we were walking into the Women's Health Center in Amarillo, we laughed and we thought, in 1978, we would have never guessed that 30 years later we'd be walking anywhere together. (Laughter.)

Dr. Baldwin, the President of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, is back here. Thank you very much, John. Dr. Jenkins, thank you so much for -- Marjorie Jenkins. You all haven't actually met her, but she's the Executive Director of the Laura Bush Institute for Women's Health, and she came from Amarillo with us today. And then Dr. Jennings, thank you also for your very kind words.

I also want to recognize Mayor Melton and State Representative Buddy West. It's been fun to see so many people that George and I had the chance to work with when he was governor on today's trip. Rob Junell is certainly one of them. And thank you all for being here today, and thank you for such a warm welcome back home. It's great to be back home.

For three and a half decades, Texas Tech's health centers have improved the lives of men, women and children across the western part of our state. Together, your School of Nursing, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, School of Allied Health Sciences, and School of Medicine reach patients across a service area of 130,000 square miles. Of course, in West Texas, that's just a small area. (Laughter.)

As Texas Tech researchers and doctors advance our medical understanding, you're making sure all West Texans benefit from these advances -- both men and women. So in 2000, the University established the Women's Health Research Institute as a community-wide effort to improve women's health through research and education. You're committed to reaching West Texas populations that may not have always had access to health care -- like minorities, immigrants, low-income and rural patients, and the elderly. And you're encouraging the next generation of doctors and scientists to devote their talents to women's health.

These future health professionals benefit from great Texas Tech teaching. Today I'm happy to announce that the University has established two new endowed faculty chairs: the Florence Thelma Hall Chair for Nursing Excellence in Women's Health, and the Granville T. Hall, M.D., Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology. These faculty positions will support instructors who are experienced leaders in women's health. The Granville T. Hall professor will also oversee the work of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health here at the Permian Basin campus.

Both of these educators will work to improve the lives of moms throughout West Texas -- and I'm so happy that one of these new endowed chairs will be housed at the center named for my mom. (Applause.)

This new facility will be in Midland, and it's what is now the former Allison Cancer Center. And it will allow Texas Tech to further expand its excellent Obstetrics and Gynecology program. As you heard from Dr. Jennings, the new facility will be designed for state-of-the-art obstetrics, gynecology and primary women's health care services. Patients will benefit from the resources and the diagnostic services of Midland Memorial Hospital, which of course is right next door.

At this new center -- and across Tech's campuses in Amarillo, El Paso, Lubbock, the Permian Basin, Abilene and Dallas, these will -- each one of these health centers will give West Texas women the knowledge they need to protect their own health. Institute health evaluations have already diagnosed severe osteoporosis in women who didn't even know what osteoporosis was. Women have discovered that they have diabetes from your blood glucose screenings. And often, you provide the first mammogram a woman has ever had.

These are just some of the ways Texas Tech's Women's Health Institute educates women about the steps they can take to save their own lives. And when it comes to women's health, education and prevention are often the only cure we have.

Prevention and early detection are the most effective way to save women's lives from breast cancer, which accounts for more than one in four cancer diagnoses in American women. Just this year, breast cancer will claim the lives of more than 40,000 women. We know, though, that when breast cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is -- in the U.S. -- is 98 percent. When women go for regular mammograms, and perform regular breast self-exams, women can save their own lives -- women like my mother, who's here today because she detected breast cancer early. (Applause.)

Prevention is also our best defense against heart disease, which is the leading cause of death of American women. The good news is, is that with very simple steps, we can prevent heart disease, and those -- you know all those simple steps, and that's eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, seeing your doctors for regular blood and cholesterol screenings, and then following your doctor's advice if you do have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

In 2002, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute joined with the Department of Health and Human Services to launch the Heart Truth awareness campaign. Nothing draws attention like a red dress -- so this is the "Heart Truth" symbol. Because of the Heart Truth, women have started to pay attention to the symptoms of heart disease. And if they notice any of these symptoms, they are getting to the hospital in time to save their own lives.

With the outstanding education and community outreach taking place at the Texas Tech Women's Health Institute --and soon at the Jenna Welch Center -- women throughout West Texas will hear the message of prevention, and they'll benefit from the University's world-class research and care. You're reaching the women who are too busy taking care of their jobs and their families to take care of themselves. And you're helping them take charge of their own health.

I'm honored that you're naming the Institute's new Jenna Welch Center for my mother, and the Laura Bush Women's Health Center for me. This is a huge honor, and I thank you very, very much. (Applause.)

END 3:56 P.M. CST

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