Online Program

Intersection of diplomacy and public health: The role of health attaches in the United States government's global engagement

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Matthew Brown, PhD, MPS, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Beijing, China
Craig Shapiro, MD, MPH, Office of Global Affairs, Office of Global Affairs (OGA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Washington, DC 20201, DC
Alicia Livinski, MPH, MLS, Library, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Thomas Novotny, MD, MPH, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Jimmy Kolker, Ambassador, MPA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Global Affairs, Washingtron, DC

Global health diplomacy is a political activity that meets the dual goals of improving health while strengthening relations among nations. For the United States, Health Attachés assigned to embassies abroad are group of professionals who have supported the improvement of global health policy for decades. Health Attachés collect, analyze, and act on information concerning health in the countries or regions of assignment. Originally, these Attachés were medical officers stationed at Embassies who provided medical care and also reported on issues of public health concern. The earliest reference to a Health Attaché at a U.S. Embassy is a 1948 JAMA article that mentions Health Attachés assigned to Embassies in Paris, Brussels and The Hague. The U.S. government's lead on health is the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In HHS, global health matters are coordinated by the Office of the Global Affairs (OGA), located in the Office of the Secretary (OS). HHS/OGA maintains Health Attachés in five countries: Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and Switzerland. Health Attachés represent the HHS Secretary and advance the science and practice of global health diplomacy while supporting U.S. Missions abroad. Health Attachés in the 21st Century are critical professionals with specialized skills in both negotiations and public health. By expanding collaboration with the Department of State and other U.S. Government agencies, HHS/OGA is strengthening training and expanding support for this specialized group of diplomats who straddle both technical and diplomatic responsibilities to advance the practice of public health on behalf of the U.S. Government.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the intersection of public health and diplomacy and the role of Health Attachés in the United States Government’s Global Engagement

Keyword(s): International Public Health, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I wrote the abstract and helped edit it with a team of additional authors and am an employee of HHS/OGA
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.