Michelle Obama is continuing her mission with a Netflix children's show, 'Waffles + Mochi'

Former first lady Michelle Obama announced this morning that she's expanding the work she started in the White House to help kids eat better and live healthy lives. On March 16, her new show, "Waffles + Mochi," will debut on Netflix on March 16.

Obama described the premise of the show on Facebook:

"I've got some big news for you! This is something I've been working on for a while now, and I'm so excited to finally be able to tell you all about it. Allow me to introduce two new friends of mine: Their names are Waffles and Mochi. And on March 16, we'll be launching a new children's show on Netflix called Waffles + Mochi. It's all about good food: discovering it, cooking it, and of course, eating it. These two will take us on adventures all around the world to explore new ingredients and try out new recipes. Kids will love it, but I know that adults will also get plenty of laughs—and some tips for the kitchen.


In many ways, this show is an extension of my work to support children's health as First Lady—and to be quite honest, I wish a program like this had been around when my girls were young. I also know that this is a difficult time for so many families, and I'm hopeful that this delightful show can bring a bit of light and laughter to homes around the world. That's why as part of the show's commitment to helping families during the pandemic, we're working with our partners at Partnership for a Healthier America to get fresh ingredients to families in need across the country so they can cook together at home.

So that's what #WafflesAndMochi is all about. I can't wait for you and your children to join us on our adventures on March 16. 💕

More details about the show were shared by Strong Black Lead on Twitter. Waffles and Mochi are aspiring young chefs who will travel to kitchens, restaurants, farms, and home around the globe to explore recipes and ingredients from different cultures.

"Whether they're picking potatoes in the Andes of Peru, sampling spices in Italy, or making Miso in Japan, these curious explorers uncover the wonder of food and discover every meal is a chance to make new friends," they wrote.

Obama made kids' health her primary focus as First Lady with her "Let's Move" campaign and her push to get fresh, healthy food into school lunches. And according to a study released last summer, her initiative made a difference. Researchers at the University of Washington assessed how the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that Obama championed impacted the nutritional quality of school meals that kids actually ate (as opposed to just looking at the food served).

"The evidence suggests that the policy resulted in improved nutritional quality of lunches consumed by students who participate in the National School Lunch Program," said senior study author Jessica Jones-Smith, an associate professor of health services and epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.

The act required that schools serve more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and/or low-fat milk, and less starchy vegetables and foods high in sodium and trans fat.


Since improved nutrition standards for school meals were put into action across the United States in 2012, children – especially those from low-income households – have been eating healthier school lunches with better overall nutritional quality, a new study published July 28 in JAMA found.

The researchers, from the University of Washington School of Public Health, did not find the same positive changes in dietary quality among children who did not take part in the National School Lunch Program.

This is the first nationally representative study to assess specifically how the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act – championed by former first lady Michelle Obama and signed into law by former President Barack Obama – impacted the overall nutritional quality of school meals eaten by students, rather than meals served.

"The evidence suggests that the policy resulted in improved nutritional quality of lunches consumed by students who participate in the National School Lunch Program," said senior study author Jessica Jones-Smith, an associate professor of health services and epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.

Three cheers for Michelle Obama continuing to help kids develop healthy habits—this time with educational entertainment parents of young children will appreciate.


The past three presidential administrations have been a game of ping-pong for LBGTQ+ students' rights. During his term as president, Trump rescinded Obama-era protections for transgender students, and now the Biden administration is undoing that Trump-era guidance.

An announcement from the U.S. Department of Education today clarified that transgender and gay students are protected from discrimination under Title IX.

"Today, the Department makes clear that all students — including LGBTQ+ students —deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination," Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

"The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections."

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The past three presidential administrations have been a game of ping-pong for LBGTQ+ students' rights. During his term as president, Trump rescinded Obama-era protections for transgender students, and now the Biden administration is undoing that Trump-era guidance.

An announcement from the U.S. Department of Education today clarified that transgender and gay students are protected from discrimination under Title IX.

"Today, the Department makes clear that all students — including LGBTQ+ students —deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination," Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

"The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections."

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Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."