Message from the Director

Message from the Director

As a Department of Defense (DoD) entity, the primary purpose of the Center for Global Health Engagement (CGHE) is to ensure national security by supporting the missions of the Joint Force through health-related capabilities. The Defense Strategic Guidance states, “the United States will continue to lead global efforts with capable allies and partners… by strengthening international norms of responsible behavior and by maintaining relevant and interoperable military capabilities.”

When coupling the notion of forward presence with a globally engaged force, the use of health emerges as an important and agile lever that can be employed across the range of military operations. The mutability of health touches all of us on a daily basis, from the personal need to ensure basic hygiene to the ubiquitous threat of pandemic disease or bioterrorist events affecting an entire population. Health can enable the readiness of our military while also enhancing the productivity of our workforce in a globalized economy. Health systems also provide critical infrastructure in a disaster relief setting, humanitarian assistance mission and/or stability operation. Likewise, health is the lifeblood of the CGHE as we strive to enhance the readiness of the warfighter, add value as a leader in global health engagement (GHE) knowledge integration and research, and provide support through a range of health-related capabilities.

The spread of infectious diseases constitutes a growing risk, with the recent Ebola virus in West Africa serving as a prime example. The National Security Agenda states, “most countries have not yet achieved international core competencies for health security, and many lack sufficient capacity to prevent, detect, or respond to disease outbreaks.” As a global leader in this arena, the US, and specifically the DoD, has a duty to ensure the safety of its citizens by working to reduce infectious disease outbreaks worldwide as it did through the implementation of Operation United Assistance (OUA) to combat the Ebola epidemic.

CGHE’s mission is to provide a hub for GHE thought leadership and knowledge; strategic communications and outreach; operational support; training and professional development; research; assessment, monitoring, and evaluation. Located at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ (USU) Office of the President, CGHE is uniquely positioned to leverage the academic, training, research and operational efforts of GHE to support DoD, the Joint Force and the Military Health System.

Since 1999, CGHE, through its predecessor the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM), has engaged over 3,000 government civilian and military officials in more than 50 countries, within every geographic Combatant Command (CCMD) Area of Responsibility (AOR). As such, CGHE is postured to mobilize valued subject matter expertise in all relevant areas for DoD GHE – disaster preparedness, humanitarian assistance, stability operations and security cooperation via capacity-building initiatives. CGHE intends to continue building on this legacy by expanding into new global health arenas for DoD in the coming years.

Key stakeholders include DoD, the Joint Staff, CCMDs, Military Departments and the Services across the range of military health-related operations. CGHE’s global health engagement efforts also uphold a whole-of-government approach, conducted in close coordination with other US Government agencies. Relevant interagency stakeholders include but are not limited to the Department of State (DoS), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS, inclusive of the US Public Health Service) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). CGHE also recognizes important academic partners such as the National Defense University and other external stakeholders to include non-governmental organizations as well as the private sector, which further enhance global health engagement objectives.

CAPT Glendon B. Diehl, Ph.D., USN
Director, The Center for Global Health Engagement (CGHE)
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU)