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Global Health Engagement

The U.S. military has a long standing history in international public health issues as a result of our responsibility to protect the health of our forces and to ensure that they are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Global health engagement is an important priority for the Military Health System (MHS). Our work:

  • Improves the health and safety of our warfighters,
  • Expands our medical readiness, 
  • Builds trust and deepens professional medical relationships around the world, and 
  • Advances U.S. national security objectives.

Why DoD Supports Global Health Engagement

The Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes that global health and security are linked, and our global health engagement efforts address the intersection of these concerns.

In addition to ensuring force health protection and medical readiness, DoD global health engagement efforts also address other DoD and U.S. government priorities. These include enhancing interoperability by helping partner nations build health capacity, combatting global health threats like emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief initiatives.

How the DoD Engages

The DoD works diligently with foreign nations to establish and develop international partnerships through joint medical training exercises and public health initiatives. We aim to support and strengthen the public health capabilities of our partner nations in these engagements, as well as to improve our interoperability with them.

USNS Comfort HaitiUSNS Comfort anchors off Haiti for Continuing Promise 2015, during which its personnel conducted medical training exercises and exchanges with partner nations in Latin America.

Our laboratories across the globe conduct essential surveillance of biological threats as well as groundbreaking research on infectious diseases. The DoD’s global reach also serves as a force for good around the world, offering humanitarian and disaster response assistance when requested.

The DoD’s global health engagement efforts are part of a whole-of-government approach, conducted in close coordination with other U.S. Government agencies, including the Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The DoD also engages with non-government organizations, academia and private-sector organizations to enhance global health objectives.

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Ship-based Global Health Engagement

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12/4/2019
Navy Capt. Heather King, executive director of the TriService Nursing Research Program at the Uniformed Services University, details the process of ship-based global health engagement missions during the October 22, 2019, Medical Museum Science Café titled "Ship-Based Global Health Engagement Missions: Expanding Global Partnerships" at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland. (NMHM photo)

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Network of researchers advancing warfighter readiness

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12/4/2019
Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, the assistant director for Combat Support at DHA, delivered the keynote address at the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance Scientific and Programmatic Advancement Meeting, GSPAM. He emphasized the importance of Force Health Protection measures and linked the GEIS mission to DHA’s combat support mission. (DoD photo)

In fiscal year 2020, GEIS awarded approximately $60 million to more than 20 DoD laboratories and U.S. government partners

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World AIDS Day puts spotlight on landmark DoD study

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12/2/2019
Dr. John Mascola, director of the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center, discusses HIV vaccine progress at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Nov. 26, during a World AIDS Day commemoration.  (U.S. Army photo)

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Bringing Comfort 2018

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10/17/2018
The USNS Comfort is a state-of-the-art hospital ship, and it’s scheduled to deploy to Central and South America for Continuing Promise 2018.

The USNS Comfort is a state-of-the-art hospital ship, and it’s scheduled to deploy to Central and South America for Continuing Promise 2018.

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2018 Visit to U.S. Africa Command's Command Surgeon

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4/11/2018
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery visits U.S. Africa Command's Command Surgeon and team to discuss the strategic context of global health in advancing shared security objectives with partner nations across the region.  The Department of Defense recognizes that Global Health Engagement activities play a key role to advance U.S. troop operational readiness, build interoperability, and enhance Security Cooperation.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery visits U.S. Africa Command's Command Surgeon and team to discuss the strategic context of global health in advancing shared security objectives with partner nations across the region. The Department of Defense recognizes that Global Health Engagement activities play a key role to advance U.S. troop operational readiness, build interoperability, and enhance Security Cooperation.

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2018 Medical Support Operations Conference

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4/11/2018
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery spoke at the 2018 Medical Support Operations Conference in London, delivering remarks on the defense sector's role in advancing the Global Health Security Agenda. A partnership of more than 60 nations, the Global Health Security Agenda, or GHSA, brings together the unique roles of governments, industry, NGOs, academia, and international institutions to combat infectious disease threats. “We are up against a perilous rise in infectious disease outbreaks threatening the health and safety of our citizens, as well as threatening geopolitical stability,” stated McCaffery, emphasizing that global health security is an essential part of our national security. “The bottom line is that defense and security sectors have a real opportunity to use the GHSA framework to increase collaboration and converge our unique assets across all sectors to detect and defeat disease at the earliest possible moment," McCaffery said.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery spoke at the 2018 Medical Support Operations Conference in London, delivering remarks on the defense sector's role in advancing the Global Health Security Agenda. A partnership of more than 60 nations, the Global Health Security Agenda, or GHSA, brings together the unique roles of governments, industry, NGOs, academia, and international institutions to combat infectious disease threats. “We are up against a perilous rise in infectious disease outbreaks threatening the health and safety of our citizens, as well as threatening geopolitical stability,” stated McCaffery, emphasizing that global health security is an essential part of our national security. “The bottom line is that defense and security sectors have a real opportunity to use the GHSA framework to increase collaboration and converge our unique assets across all sectors to detect and defeat disease at the earliest possible moment," McCaffery said.

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U.S. Military HIV Research Program

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12/8/2017

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Increasing Partner-Nation Capacity Through Global Health Engagement

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12/6/2017

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Trauma Care in Support of Global Military Operations

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12/6/2017

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AFHSB's health surveillance program supports Defense Department global health engagement efforts

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11/30/2017
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Douglass, left, an aerospace medical technician, watches as Liberian health care workers properly put on their personal protective equipment as part response by the Defense Department operation to provide logistics, training and engineering support during the Ebola virus outbreak. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes)

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Strengthening capabilities, fostering partnership top priorities at global health summit

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Admiral Tim Ziemer, head of U.S. delegation, giving remarks at the Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting in Kampala, Uganda.

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DoD Instruction 2000.30: Global Health Engagement Activities

Policy

This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the conduct of global health engagement activities with partner nation (PN) entities.

Exercise Immediate Response 16

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1/13/2017
Soldiers and Airmen practice combat trauma care with allied and partner nation medical service members at Cerklje ob Krki, Slovenia, as part of exercise Immediate Response.

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ENT Palau medical care

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11/3/2016
Anthony Tolisano, chief resident with the Tripler Army Medical Center's Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, inserts tubes into a child's ear drum to drain the fluid build-up in his ear. Tolisano was in Palau as part of a mission requested by the Palau Ministry of Health to provide specialty care to the people of the island nation. (U.S. Army photo by William Sallette)

Anthony Tolisano, chief resident with the Tripler Army Medical Center's Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, inserts tubes into a child's ear drum to drain the fluid build-up in his ear. Tolisano was in Palau as part of a mission requested by the Palau Ministry of Health to provide specialty care to the people of the island nation. (U.S. Army photo by William Sallette)

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Innovations from a Global Health Engagement and Rapid Response during Ebola virus outbreak

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11/1/2016

Innovations from a Global Health Engagement and Rapid Response during the 2013-2015 Western African Ebola virus outbreak. Briefing to the Defense Health Board, Nov. 1, 2016.

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