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HHS Global Health Strategy Helps Protect Americans, 'All Persons Worldwide'

“The notion that diseases or contamination somehow recognize geographic or political borders is a dangerous illusion. … Fortunately, the United States has a broad, diverse, and world-class range of experience and expertise in dealing with all manner of global health issues,” Nils Daulaire, director of the Office of Global Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), writes in a perspective piece in the Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Citing some examples of the government’s work in global health, he continues, “With such a wide array of professionals and departments within HHS working on global efforts to prevent disease, promote health, and strengthen partnerships, we needed to find a way to pull together our work and bring it into a coherent whole.” Therefore, “the Office of Global Affairs recently unveiled the HHS Global Health Strategy (GHS) at the beginning of 2012,” he notes.

The GHS identifies 10 key objectives — conducting surveillance, prevention, and response activities; maintaining and improving global supply chains and standards; innovating in research and exchanging best practices; addressing current and emerging contributors to global morbidity and mortality; supporting President Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI); and advancing health diplomacy — according to Daulaire, who expands on each area. “By increasing our effectiveness in these 10 key areas, we aim to achieve, through global health action, three overall goals: protecting and promoting the health and well-being of Americans; providing leadership and technical expertise in science, policy, programs, and practice; and advancing United States interests in international diplomacy, development, and security,” he writes, concluding, “Our global health work is therefore not an addition to our efforts to improve health here in America, but rather a necessary extension of those efforts. Through robust cooperation with other nations and international organizations, we will continue to work to reduce the risks of disease, disability, and premature death for all our citizens, and in turn, all persons worldwide” (September 2012).