Former Clinton administration health official Donna Shalala told Kansas University Medical Center officials Monday that they were doing an impressive job.
Shalala, who served as secretary of health and human services under President Bill Clinton, currently is president at the University of Miami.
She praised the school’s National Cancer Institute designation efforts and wished KU officials luck in becoming designated as a Cancer Center.
KU’s approach, which includes a heavy focus on drug discovery and development, was “very innovative,” she said.
She said it’s not surprising that support for the effort has come from all sides of the political spectrum.
“Cancer isn’t Democratic or Republican,” she said.
Shalala was struck by several goings-on at KU Medical Center, from the efforts to get faculty to think with more of an entrepreneurial spirit, to Johnson County’s recent passage of a sales tax to fund a new cancer research facility.
“How enlightened,” she said, after being told that voters passed the tax without a sunset clause, providing ongoing funding for cancer research. “That’s the best thing I’ve heard in years.”
She briefly mentioned the national health care debate, noting that with a knee injury, she had access to the best health care as a retired federal employee — something she said she hoped more people had access to.
“I think we’ll get something,” she said of the current efforts to pass a bill in Congress. “I think it’ll help all of us if we can get more people covered.”