photo by: Adam Schultz / Clinton Foundation
Jan 24
January 24, 2013
Ginny Ehrlich

Ginny Ehrlich

Chief Executive Officer, Clinton Health Matters Initiative

Health Matters Conference Inspires Pledges to Action


With the recent launch of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), we anticipate that 2013 will be a year of catalyzing action on the health and wellness challenges we face across the United States. To help create sustainable solutions that can be replicated nationally, we are calling on individuals, communities, and organizations to make pledges to increase access to resources that can help people everywhere live better – from health and wellness education to healthier food and fresh produce to health care and mental health support.

And in the short time since CHMI’s launch in November 2012, we have already seen an incredible number of people and organizations come forward to make pledges. At last week’s Health Matters: Activating Wellness In Every Generation conference in La, Quinta, California, we announced 31 pledges worth more than $100 million, which will impact more than 25 million people across the United States. Read about the pledges.

Our initial progress was inspiring, but it was also a reminder of just how much more remains to be done if we’re going to truly change the course of our country’s health. To drive the conversation on how we can create and implement effective solutions, we heard from more than 44 national leaders in the health and wellness sector; these panelists provided their inspirational – and some even heartbreaking – stories of why they believe living healthy is so important, and how everyone ­– no matter what socioeconomic level – can make small changes to make a big difference in both their own health and the health of others. And, to ensure their voices and solutions are shared far and wide, and to encourage people everywhere to take action on these issues, we streamed the entire conference online. If you missed it, be sure to watch the conference panels on our website.

After the conference, many people shared how inspired they felt and how motivated they were to go out and take action to contribute to the health and well-being of others. Our impact was felt outside the conference’s walls as well – our online audience shared their enthusiasm and feedback throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook. The conference’s digital footprint is particularly inspiring, because we know that the more people we reach, the more positive change we can make. It’s now up to everyone who’s heard our message to go out and share ideas and solutions, and to take action locally to help others live better. 

While our goals – to improve the overall health outcomes of our country and to close the health disparity gaps plaguing our communities – are ambitious, we know they are attainable if we take action now. These goals are important not only to the  health of our nation, but to our economic future. Today, 70 percent of adults in the United States are living with a preventable, chronic disease.. And our country spends 17 percent of its GDP on health, while no other wealthy country spends more than 12 percent.

It is my hope that, as we continue to host the Health Matters conference each year and work year-round on effective solutions, we will inspire more individuals, communities, and organizations to take action. I believe that, together, we can take small steps that will have a measurable impact on improving access to health education and tools across the United States.