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Global Health and the Future Role of the United States

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released an expert consensus report, Global Health and the Future Role of the United States, that identifies global health priorities and 14 recommendations for the U.S. government and other stakeholders to consider implementing. The Committee on Global Health and the Future of the United States (under the Academies’ Board on Global Health; Health and Medicine Division), which prepared the report, began its task by reviewing outcomes of its two prior studies, the 2009 U.S. Commitment to Global Health and 1997 America’s Vital Interest in Global Health, to identify progress and remaining work to be done.

ASPPH-affiliated committee members include Drs. Frederick “Skip” Burkle, Jr. (Harvard), Lia Haskin Fernald (Berkeley), and Michael Osterholm (Minnesota). At the public briefing on May 15, Dr. Osterholm presented on key vulnerabilities, including poor public health infrastructure and preparedness around the world, related challenges, and recommended actions, both domestic and international.  He also made the case for continued U.S. commitment to global health, stressing “National security is…not just being altruistic to care about the rest of the world, it’s strategically wise because we often will end up paying for it anyway.”

In addition, the panel identified four priorities for global action, that it believes, if addressed, “will result in the greatest positive effect on global health.” The priorities are: achieve global health security; maintain a sustained response to the continuous threats of communicable diseases; save and improve the lives of women and children; and, promote cardiovascular health and prevent cancer.

Among the specific recommendations, the committee stated in the report, “To protect itself from global threats, benefit from successes achieved in global health programs, and maintain a strong research and development pipeline, the United States should commit to maintaining its leadership in global health and actively participating in global health governance, coordination, and collaboration.”  The panel specifically recommended that the US implement “a more strategic approach to achieving global health goals. This new approach should include the commitment of the State Department to creating a global health career track and congressional action to enable the establishment of a cadre of global health experts within HHS…”

The question and answer session included mention of ASPPH’s role in shaping curricula to prepare global health professionals for practice.

See the webcast and report for further details.