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Global Health Engagement

The U.S. military has a long standing history in international public health issues as a result of our responsibility to protect the health of our forces and to ensure that they are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Global health engagement is an important priority for the Military Health System (MHS). Our work:

  • Improves the health and safety of our warfighters,
  • Expands our medical readiness, 
  • Builds trust and deepens professional medical relationships around the world, and 
  • Advances U.S. national security objectives.

Why DoD Supports Global Health Engagement

The Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes that global health and security are linked, and our global health engagement efforts address the intersection of these concerns.

In addition to ensuring force health protection and medical readiness, DoD global health engagement efforts also address other DoD and U.S. government priorities. These include enhancing interoperability by helping partner nations build health capacity, combatting global health threats like emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief initiatives.

How the DoD Engages

The DoD works diligently with foreign nations to establish and develop international partnerships through joint medical training exercises and public health initiatives. We aim to support and strengthen the public health capabilities of our partner nations in these engagements, as well as to improve our interoperability with them.

USNS Comfort HaitiUSNS Comfort anchors off Haiti for Continuing Promise 2015, during which its personnel conducted medical training exercises and exchanges with partner nations in Latin America.

Our laboratories across the globe conduct essential surveillance of biological threats as well as groundbreaking research on infectious diseases. The DoD’s global reach also serves as a force for good around the world, offering humanitarian and disaster response assistance when requested.

The DoD’s global health engagement efforts are part of a whole-of-government approach, conducted in close coordination with other U.S. Government agencies, including the Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The DoD also engages with non-government organizations, academia and private-sector organizations to enhance global health objectives.

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The 13 Navy Medicine members stand together on the first day of the Integrated Trauma and Medical Readiness Exchange engagement in Vietnam. (U.S. Navy photo by Capt. Joel Roos)

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