IOM Examines U.S. Commitment to Global Health

March - April, 2008  |  Volume 7, Issue 2

Why should the U.S. make a deeper commitment to global health? An Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee has begun a 14-month examination of the issue and will produce a report next spring. The IOM intends the study to be a broader and more complete exploration of the subject than its 1997 analysis, America’s Vital Interest in Global Health. The committee plans to release a brief outline of its new vision for U.S. involvement in global health this December, to provide guidance to the incoming administration.

photo of the cover of America's Vital Interest in Global Health report

NIH Director Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni and Fogarty Director Dr. Roger I. Glass made presentations to the committee at its first meeting on March 24. Both stressed the importance of building local research capacity to the long-term success of American-supported health efforts overseas. “If you don’t have the troops, you don’t have a battle plan,” suggested Dr. Zerhouni. “Everything else comes from this.”

With large amounts of public and private funding have been directed to global health initiatives, Dr. Glass asked the committee to consider offering advice on how it could be spent wisely. “How can we leverage this money…creatively to ensure sustainable and enduring outcomes, and move these from assistance programs alone to programs that really lead to sustainability and to long-term partnerships?"

The committee’s final report will address the case for a deeper commitment to global health by the U.S., and communicate specific recommendations pertaining to government, academia, research and diplomatic communities, the private sector and foundations.

The study is being funded by 17 components of the NIH, in addition to the CDC, the State Department, Homeland Security and a number of private foundations.

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