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PX column: She fought to save kids’ lives in Africa. She beat cancer. Cincinnati mom’s next challenge — politics

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/columnists/politics-extra/2019/07/05/2020-election-cancer-survivor-kate-schroder-run-congress/1528565001/

he 2020 race for Ohio’s 1st Congressional District will be in full swing by Tuesday night.

That’s when Clifton Democrat Kate Schroder will officially launch her bid to try to flip the seat, long held by Westwood Republican Steve Chabot.

Schroder’s kickoff will come a week after Mason Democrat Nikki Foster announced her campaign in the district, setting up a primary battle between the two first-time congressional candidates.

Schroder, 42, a health care policy expert, sat down for an interview with Politics Extra at a coffee shop in Pleasant Ridge – the neighborhood where she grew up. Here are three things you should know about her:

1. She’s a cancer survivor.

In November 2010, amid her rise up the ranks in the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Schroder was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her father, Lou Schroder, was a cancer doctor and convinced his daughter to seek medical treatment.

She was 33 and scared.

“I was on top of the world at the time,” Schroder said. “I had a great job. I was excited to get married and have kids. I realized right away that I might (die). I thought, ‘Oh my God, I might not be able to be a mom.’ “

Today, Schroder is cancer-free. She’s married to John Juech, an assistant city manager for the city of Cincinnati. They have a daughter, Josie, 6, and son, Peter, 4.

2. Health care is a life-long passion.

Schroder’s experience as a cancer survivor helped her see the health-care system from a different perspective. She had grown up around the field. Her mother is a retired nurse. Her father, the oncologist, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor not long after he retired. He died two years ago this month.

In high school, Schroder volunteered at Children’s Hospital and St. Theresa nursing home.

“I was interested more on the policy side,” Schroder said. “You have a lot of good people who are practicing (medical care), but if they’re in a system that’s dysfunctional, you’re not getting the best outcomes for patients.”

Schroder spent the last 12 years working for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, an affiliation of Bill and Hillary Clinton‘s foundation. The organization has 1,500 employees spread across 35 countries, and Schroder’s focus mostly was on improving health outcomes for children in Africa.

She lived in Zambia for two years and has regularly traveled to African nations, focusing specifically on reducing a high child mortality rate that’s due to pneumonia and diarrhea. Schroder had been a vice president for the past two years before leaving the job this week to focus full-time on running for Congress.

Schroder also is a member of the Cincinnati Health Department board, an appointee of Mayor John Cranley.