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Kaiser Family Foundation Panel Discussion Examines Defense Department’s Role In Global Health

Speaking at an event at the Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday, Kathleen Hicks, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, discussed the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) role in global health, the American Forces Press Service reports (Pellerin, 5/16). “Ours is a supporting role,” Hicks said, according to the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog, which adds Hicks “pointed to the military agency’s need to build ‘templates’ to better coordinate its global health activities with those of other agencies, foster closer ties to foreign governments, and develop the capacities of countries where disease responses are most critical” (Barton, 5/16). The DOD “supports U.S. global health activities because such efforts as preventing and containing lethal outbreaks align with DOD’s mission to help ensure geopolitical stability and security,” according to Hicks, the AFPS adds (5/16).

“[T]he agency’s global health role remains little recognized, little understood, and for those reasons, in danger of not being supported or replaced in the event that it is scaled back, panelists at the Thursday discussion said,” “Science Speaks” states (5/16). At the briefing, Kaiser Family Foundation Associate Director for Global Health Policy Joshua Michaud gave an overview of the foundation’s report on the DOD and global health, released in September 2012, according to the event webpage. The panel, moderated by Jen Kates, vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, included a discussion with Kate Almquist, a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Health Protection & Readiness David Smith; Rabih Torbay, vice president of international operations at International Medical Corps; and Colonel Peter Weina, deputy commander at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the webpage notes. A podcast and video of the event is available online (5/17).