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A Second Chance to Get Things Right

| Intl Programs, Monday Letter, Our World

The following is an excerpt from a recent blog on the topic of the new State Department Office of Global Health Diplomacy written by J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other foundation and corporate contributors, the Center seeks to advance a long-term strategic U.S. approach to global health, cultivate new global health champions, enrich our understanding of the security and foreign policy dimensions of global health, and link Washington-based work to emerging policy expertise in key developing and middle income countries.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in one of her final acts as secretary, created the Office of Global Health Diplomacy (OGHD) and appointed Dr. Eric Goosby to head the new office. Goosby now combines his new duties with his existing role as head of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, based at the State Department, where he is responsible for management of the $6 billion President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In early 2013, Ambassador Leslie Rowe, a respected career diplomat, also joined the Office.

In her tenure, Clinton made the secretary’s office the lead high-level force responsible for advancing U.S. policy on global health and this has been reaffirmed by the creation of the OGHD. There is a broad expectation that Secretary John Kerry, who entered office already deeply conversant with the global health agenda and U.S. achievements, will carry Clinton’s legacy forward. It was smart to arrange for the OGHD to be headed by someone who is both as widely known and admired as Dr. Goosby and who already carries considerable authority in overseeing U.S. HIV/AIDS programs and policies (and the single largest global health budget). This improves the odds that the OGHD can be truly impactful in ensuring the continuity of the high-level State Department leadership of health diplomacy.

No less important, the OGHD offers the Obama administration a second chance, after costly stumbles in the first term, to get its global health policy right, especially in improving cross-agency coherence of U.S. international health programs and sharpening the vision for U.S. leadership in global health.

To read this blog in its entirety, visit http://www.smartglobalhealth.org/blog/entry/the-new-state-department-office-of-global-health-diplomacy-a-second-chance-, and for more information about the Office of Global Health Diplomacy, visit http://www.state.gov/s/ghd.