Why Health Is Important to U.S. Foreign Policy


This report describes why it is important to raise the priority accorded to health in the foreign policy of the United States and recommends policies and procedures to achieve this goal. It is the result of conversations and meetings initiated by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Milbank Memorial Fund beginning more than a year ago. This publication is one of a series of activities through which the Council and the Fund will communicate the findings and recommendations of this report to a variety of audiences.

The Council and the Fund have each worked for many years to bring the best available information and ideas to bear on the development and implementation of policy in their respective fields: the Council in foreign policy and national security matters; the Fund in health care and public health. Peter Gottsegen, a member of both the Council and the board of the Fund, convened leaders of the two organizations and suggested that they co-sponsor the project. The Council and the Fund each designated a co-chair of the project.

Princeton Lyman retired from the Foreign Service after holding positions that included Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, and U.S. Ambassador to South Africa. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Global Interdependence Initiative at the Aspen Institute. Jo Ivey Boufford has been a practicing pediatrician, President of the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation, Director of the King’s Fund College, London, Principal Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary of Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. representative on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization. She is currently Dean of the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.

The project director and principal author of the report is Jordan S. Kassalow, a Next Generation Fellow and member of the Council. Kassalow is a doctor of optometry who holds an advanced degree in public health and has worked in the field of blindness prevention throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The Council and the Fund are grateful to many colleagues who contributed to this report. They are listed in the Acknowledgments.

Daniel M. Fox
Milbank Memorial Fund

Lawrence J. Korb
Vice President/Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Director of Studies
Council on Foreign Relations