Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: January 2017

Dear colleague,
Happy new year! Welcome to the January newsletter from the Global Health Policy Center (GHPC) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)! We invite you to catch up on our latest content:


  • December 14: We co-hosted with the CSIS Americas Program an event focused on "Venezuela's Health Sector: Current Crisis and Opportunities for International Engagement." Speakers Hermes Florez, professor at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami and visiting professor at the Universidad del Zulia in Venezuela, and Marianella Herrera, director of the Venezuelan Health Observatory and professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, outlined the origins, development, and likely trajectory of the country's health situation under the Nicolás Maduro regime. During the discussion, which was moderated by GHPC Senior Associate Katherine Bliss, Florez and Herrera identified shortages of essential medicines and medical supplies, failing public health infrastructure, worsening maternal and child health indicators, violence associated with accessing food, and increasing rates of malaria transmission as key areas of concern and highlighted the importance of international cooperation in alleviating the suffering of the Venezuelan population. A blog post with more information about the speakers' key points and discussion can be found here.
  • Planning a Post-Polio Future: For more than three decades, the United States has provided technical, financial, and strategic support for global polio eradication. Polio program resources enhance surveillance, immunization delivery, laboratories, and response capabilities that aid prevention and control of a variety of diseases in countries with the weakest health systems. As GHPC Senior Fellow Nellie Bristol explains in a new commentary, developing a concrete future for U.S. polio assets that is clearly communicated to government agencies, Congress, polio program stakeholders, and partner countries is the best way to transition valuable polio infrastructure to other health initiatives that will continue to deliver health benefits and protect Americans from infectious disease. While ensuring focus on polio eradication until the goal is achieved and certified, Bristol urges the U.S. government to begin working with partner countries to repurpose successful polio program interventions toward mutual global health goals. Given their high degree of programmatic overlap with polio eradication efforts, measles elimination and the Global Health Security Agenda are logical health initiatives to consider for transitioning of polio assets post-global eradication.
  • Will the Trump Administration Sustain U.S. Leadership on Global Health?: On account of presidential leadership across several administrations, U.S. commitments to global health mushroomed to over $13 billion in the past decade and a half, accounting for one-third of U.S. foreign aid and a little more than one-third of total foreign assistance worldwide dedicated to health. These investments have translated into verifiable, concrete, historic gains. In a new commentary, I outline the reasons to be hopeful that a Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress will see the wisdom of sustaining U.S. leadership in global health, in spite of the present uncertainty over what shape the Trump administration will take, who will fill key posts, and what the new administration’s priorities will be. However, as we head into a period of intensified, bitter contestation over domestic health issues, there are also solid reasons to be worried that the incoming administration and Congress may turn away from the opportunity to sustain U.S. leadership in global health.
  • We launched Take as Directed, our new podcast series that highlights important news, events, issues, and perspectives in global health policy, particularly in infectious disease; health security; and maternal, newborn, and child health.

    Our first episodes feature conversations on the implications of the U.S. Presidential and Congressional elections for global health with Dr. Helene Gayle, CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, and Michael Gerson, Senior Advisor at ONE and Op-Ed Columnist for The Washington Post; as well as reflections from Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, former USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health and Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator, on current global health issues and their tenures at HHS, CDC, and USAID, respectively. These episodes were hosted by Sara Allinder, GHPC Deputy Director and Senior Fellow.

    The podcast series is available here and you can subscribe using the podcast app. Stay tuned for new episodes featuring some of the leading voices in global health and our in-house experts. 

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.


J. Stephen Morrison
Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center
Center for Strategic and International Studies