What We Do
Global health diplomacy—the intersection of public health and foreign policy—is the core of OGA’s work. Through relationships with multilateral organizations, foreign governments, ministries of health, civil society groups, and the private sector, OGA creates and maintains the pathways for HHS to apply its expertise globally, learn from our overseas counterparts, and advance policies that protect and promote health at home and worldwide.
In our role as global health diplomats, OGA represents the United States in key global discussions and negotiations, including at the World Health Assembly; coordinates international engagement across HHS and the U.S. Government; advises the Secretary on global health and human service issues; and fosters critical global relationships with foreign governments, ministries of health, and international organizations.
As an office, we focus on specific topic areas and engage regionally on priority health issues. For example:
- OGA serves as the primary liaison for U.S. government engagement with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its regional offices, including the Pan American Health Organization and the Western Pacific Regional Organization. While engagement continues throughout the year, a key part of this role is advising and supporting the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who represents the United States at the World Health Assembly each year.
- OGA posts and supports health attachés in almost every region of the world. Health attaches are HHS’s main point for global health diplomacy in their respective countries and regions—they represent the United States in key global discussions that touch on the intersection of health and any number of sectors, including trade, security, or the environment; act as a resource for representatives of other U.S. agencies; and are the United States’ first point of contact in the event of an infectious disease outbreak or public health-related issue. Currently, health attachés are posted in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, and at the United Nations in Geneva.
- OGA’s Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats (PET) plays a central role in multilateral Global Health Security Agenda governance and in the external evaluation process for the International Health Regulations. They also represent the United States on global health security policy issues at the World Health Organization (WHO) and coordinate across the U.S. Government to develop policy positions that accelerate progress toward a safe, secure world.
Links and resources
“Cuba Delegation Comes to HHS.” HHS.gov, April 21, 2016.
“It is Possible to Dream.” HHS.gov, March 11, 2016.
“World No Tobacco Day: Taking Steps to Save Lives.” HHS.gov, May 31, 2016.
“World AIDS Day 2015: We Are Better Equipped Than Ever to Fight HIV.” AIDS.gov, December 2, 2015.
“Let’s Keep Antibiotics Effective!” CDC.gov, October 26, 2015.