Cristina Rabadán-Diehl, PhD, MPH
Director, Americas Office
Office of Global Affairs
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Phone: (202) 690-6174, (202)-260-0399
OGA’s Americas Office provides leadership and guidance on U.S. global health policy regarding Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the U.S.-Mexico border region. We foster key relationships with our global counterparts; represent HHS with foreign governments and ministries, the private sector, and civil society; and coordinate HHS engagement across the region. Our work supports information exchange, partnership, and diplomacy in order to create a safer, healthier world.
What We Do: A Snapshot
- U.S., Cuba, and Health: OGA and the Americas Office worked closely with the State Department and our Cuban counterparts to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between HHS and the Cuban Ministry of Public Health. The MOU establishes our official cooperation in health and sciences and marks an important milestone between the two countries since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in 2015. The U.S. and Cuba already have a history of collaboration, including in the sectors of neuroscience, infectious disease, and cancer research. This MOU allows us to focus our efforts on a mutual goal— to build on each other’s knowledge and experience, and benefit biomedical research and public health at large.
Prior to the signing of the MOU in June 2016, OGA and the Americas Office participated in two U.S. delegations to Havana, and coordinated a five-day visit for Cuba’s Vice-Minister of Public Health to HHS headquarters, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- "Zika, cancer focus of new U.S., Cuba accord on public health." McClatchyDC, June 13, 2016
- Press Release: HHS Engages in Historic Health Collaboration with Cuba
- Blog: “Cuba Delegation Comes to HHS,” April 21, 2016
- Photos: U.S. – Cuba Health Meeting, April 2016
- U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission: Established in 2000, the Border Health Commission (BHC) is a binational health commission that provides international leadership to optimize the health and quality of life of border residents. In order to achieve this mission, the BHC conducts public health needs assessments, investigations, and research; provides support to public and private nonprofit entities to prevent and resolve health problems; and supports health promotion and disease prevention activities and the establishment of a coordinated data gathering system. The BHC is led by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Health of Mexico. OGA maintains an office in El Paso, which supports the BHC’s activities.
- Health Attachés: OGA and the Americas Office post and support health attachés in Brasilia and Mexico City. Health attachés are HHS’s main point for global health diplomacy in their respective regions—they represent the United States in policy negotiations that could 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 a health issue. For example, currently in Brazil, the health attaché liaises daily with our Brazilian counterparts on assessing and responding to the Zika virus. In Mexico, the health attaché and OGA support health and health policy issues, including a trilateral obesity initiative among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, efforts to enhance health security, and scientific and educational collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico.