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Global Health Diplomacy

Global health diplomacy is the core of OGA’s work. It is the intersection of public health and foreign affairs—we foster critical relationships with multilateral organizations, foreign governments, and ministries of health, and represent the United States in key global discussions and negotiations to protect and promote health worldwide. Through global health diplomacy, OGA creates the pathways for HHS to apply its expertise globally, advance research through collaboration, and contribute to effective global policy.

Global health diplomacy also leverages a widely agreed-upon goal—a healthier, safer world—to develop the foundation for diplomatic relations in other sectors.

What We Do

In our global health diplomacy role, OGA addresses a broad spectrum of activities. For example:

World Health Organization: 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 annual World Health Assembly.

Health Attachés: OGA posts and supports health attachés in almost every region of the world. Health attachés are HHS’s main point of contact for global health diplomacy in their respective countries and, in some cases, regions. They represent the United States in key regional policy discussions that touch on the intersection of health and any number of sectors, including trade, security, or the environment; and act as a resource for representatives of HHS and other U.S. agencies in the region. Currently, health attachés are posted in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, and at the United States Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

Global Health Security: Global health security has never been more critical to the well-being of the United States and its citizens than it is right now. Infectious diseases spread more quickly than they ever have before, as evidenced by the Ebola, Zika, and bird flu outbreaks. OGA’s Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats (PET) plays a central role in multilateral Global Health Security Agenda governance, pandemic influenza preparedness, and efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Content created by Office of Global Affairs (OGA)
Content last reviewed on January 20, 2017