DHA director outlines agency’s role in ‘global health engagement’KEEping the world healthy is a path for the United States to stay more engaged with other countries and build its prominence and influence. Part of that engagement includes using the Military Health System to improve the health of these international partners.
“When helping other countries, you have to have a much broader understanding of what kind of environment you’re dealing with, what other pieces are in play, and understanding what types of contributions would be meaningful,” said Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA). “I’ve had a great opportunity to work in a variety of jobs, and these experiences have given me a real strong sense of appreciation for where some of the opportunities are for military medicine.”
Bono provided a broader concept of how to use military medicine to further larger U.S. global engagement goals to attendees of the Global Health Strategies for Security Course in downtown Washington, D.C. Global Health Strategies for Security a graduate-level certificate course offered through the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine/Department of Military and Emergency Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Bono highlighted how the DHA continues to expand its role in global health engagement as it develops its capabilities as a combat support agency.
“The Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (GEIS) conducts global bio-surveillance of emerging public health and infectious disease threats through the development and support of an integrated network of medical laboratories in the United States and overseas,” she said. “This allows the Military Health System and the Department of Defense to better support the National Security Strategy and the U.S. government’s efforts to promote health security and stability around the world.”
GEIS is part of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) under DHA’s Public Health Division. The agency’s Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA) directorate has strategically aligned medical research investments toward key global health focus areas, including improved health threat detection capabilities and vaccine research on infectious diseases like Ebola.
Bono also discussed how global health engagement impacts strategy related to national security. “When we look at our national security strategy, you also have to consider the national elements of power, and the military is very much a part of this. The elements of diplomacy, intelligence, economics and law enforcement are also a part of this framework, as are the Combatant Commands.”
“Vice Adm. Bono’s presentation emphasized the importance of global health engagement as something that helps our government sustain peace and relationships around the world,” said Navy Capt. James Reeves, a doctor and director of training and development for the Center for Global Health Engagement. “Her emphasis on the importance of sustainability and interagency coordination in global health was very helpful.”
New Horizons 2016 brings together U.S. military medical professionals and civil engineers who conduct readiness training exercises by delivering health care services to local communities in the Dominican RepublicRelated Topics: Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement