We’ve just launched our new and improved website, IH Connect!

Welcome to our new and improved website, IH Connect, the unofficial home of the American Public Health Association’s International Health Section. We hope this new website will help you stay engaged with the IH section and the broader global health community.

The IH Connect website contains information about the Section’s vision and mission, leadership, and major activities, and it links to information and documents about the Section’s history and operations. It also serves as a platform for Section members to share opinion pieces, relevant news to the Section and the field of global health, and other items of interest. We encourage you to subscribe to our website to get notified by email when there is new content.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

IH Connect is brought to you by a dedicated group of IH section volunteers. If you’re interested in learning more about our work and how to get involved, click here.

We welcome your suggestions and feedback. Please feel free to email us at ihsection.communications@gmail.com

APHA releases statement: Decision to withdraw from climate agreement is a disaster for public health

APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin has released a statement regarding President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Decision to withdraw from climate agreement is a disaster for public health

Statement from Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

Washington, D.C., June 1, 2017 — “President Donald Trump’s decision today to renege on U.S. commitments to fighting climate change and withdraw from the Paris Agreement has disastrous consequences for human health.

“The climate accord, which establishes a long-term framework to reduce carbon emissions among more than 190 nations, marks a historic step toward addressing one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. As a leading emitter of greenhouse gases, U.S. participation and leadership is critical to reaching target global reductions and minimizing health threats.

“This administration has already taken significant steps to roll back progress we’ve made in addressing climate change. Today’s reckless decision is further abdication of leadership at the federal level to protect public health. But our work on climate change will not be stopped. Today’s announcement underscores the importance of continued action at the state and local level to address this threat.

“The science is clear. Climate change is happening and it’s affecting our health. A changing climate affects our food supply, the spread of infectious disease, our water systems and air quality, and much more. All have significant impacts on human health.

“We will continue our efforts to educate, advocate and mobilize action around this critical public health challenge. We have designated 2017 as the Year of Climate Change and Health and the APHA 2017 Annual Meeting and Expo will focus on climate change and health in November.”

# # #
The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a 145-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Visit www.apha.org.

For more information, please contact David Fouse, 202-777-2501.


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been elected as the new WHO director general.

The State Department on Monday officially announced a broad expansion of the Mexico City Policy, a regulation put in place by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan that prevents foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving American dollars.

If a serious infectious disease blossomed across the globe today, the US death toll could be double that of all the casualties suffered in wars since the American Revolution.

A report from an expert committee convened by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and  Medicine outlines global health priorities and strategies to maintain US leadership.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Each year, the Duke Global Health Institute honors outstanding students and faculty members with several awards.  This year, as is commonly the case, the award conferring committees were hard-pressed to select winners, given the abundance of nominations for highly deserving candidates.

The Global Health Corporate Champions is an activity of USAID’s Global Health Fellows Program (GHFP) II, which is implemented by the Public Health Institute and supported by PYXERA Global. GHFP-II supports the Agency’s thought leadership in building a diverse, technically excellent, culturally competent group of American global health leaders.


The US is on track to end the HIV epidemic within the next decade.

A new report from the WHO and its partners estimates that nearly 1.2 million adolescents die from largely preventable causes every year, that would be 3000 deaths each day.

Researchers have identified the molecular mechanism by which the deadly superbug “Golden Staph” evades antibiotic treatment. These results may provide clues to counter antibiotic resistance.

WHO data shows that nearly half of all deaths are now recorded, a trend that implies improvement in collection of vital health statistics and progress towards attaining sustainable development goals.

Diseases & Disasters

USAID is exploring the merger of its disaster and food assistance offices to create an entity that would manage a $4 billion humanitarian operations.

According to the WHO, there are now 29 suspected Ebola cases in Congo.

According to a new study, risk of dementia is significantly decreased among retirees who volunteer.

A state of emergency has been declared in Yemen after Cholera killed 157 people between April 27 and May 13.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative has joined the global health council to broaden its biosecurity mission.


The Indian government’s decision to include pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in its Universal Immunization Program is a big public health win.

A severe shortage of the injectable polio vaccine is threatening to hinder polio eradication.

Environmental Health

Stanford University has produced a new report that outlines recommendations to mitigate health impacts of climate change.

There is concern that continued destruction of forests in Asia-Pacific region will hamper the advancement towards meeting the sustainable development goals.

Equity & Disparities

According to a recent UNICEF analysis of 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, at least 29 million children live in poverty in the region.

A new Lancet Global Health article discusses lack of gender parity in leadership positions in the field of global health.  Women make up for about 84% of the student body but this number declines sharply to only about 24% in leadership positions.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The underground sex industry notoriously eludes any efforts to officially measure its size, but those of us who study it can say one thing for sure: It’s a booming industry in the US and it’s bigger than you think.

According to a new WHO report, pregnancy related complications are the leading cause of death globally among adolescent girls between 15 and 19 years of age.

Human Rights

About 2 migrant domestic workers die each week in Lebanon; there is growing and urgent need for better policies, laws and enforcement.

UNHCR has opened a 12th camp for residents fleeing the Mosul conflict.



Mark Green: USAID pick could be a silver lining if he does it right

This post was developed collaboratively by the Section’s Communications Committee.

The Trump administration’s nomination of Mark Green, former congressman, ambassador, and frequent NGO board-sitter, was one of those hard-to-find silver linings in the current political thunderstorm (or downward spiral, if you prefer). He is a political unicorn of sorts, enjoying both bipartisan support from Congress and respect from development professionals, someone who knows how to navigate both the political and technical aspects of the job. Green, a four-term Congressional representative from Wisconsin, also served as the ambassador to Tanzania under George W. Bush and was involved with the creation of PEPFAR. He has served on the board of directors for Malaria No More and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a bilateral aid agency that administers grants to countries for recipient-led initiatives based on a series of economic and governance indicators. He is currently the president of the International Republican Institute, which promotes democracy, civil society, and good governance practices abroad. Politicians like him, old USAID hats like him, think tanks like him – even aid groups (including ONE and Save the Children) like him.

All of this is lovely, but hold the champagne. The inevitable next question is, what will Mark Green be able to accomplish as head of a hamstrung agency with no money?

As many have been quick to point out, USAID is not without its problems and could benefit from some major reforms. The agency has certainly not been immune to criticism from global health and development commentators, including this Section. Many of its programs have been of questionable utility or badly managed (or both), and it has been slow to respond to calls for its programs to be rigorously and transparently evaluated.

However, USAID may at this point be facing a more fundamental, existential crisis. Explains the AP, “[t]he agency faces a starkly uncertain future, including potentially big budget cuts and the possibility of being folded entirely into a restructured State Department.”

Restructured” in this case meaning disorganized, rudderless, and full of disgruntled and anxious employees.

An additional wrench was thrown in this week (although completely buried under ever more sensationalist headlines) with the announcement that the Global Gag Rule would be expanded to apply to all global health programs:

[T]he State Department [Monday] confirmed that, indeed, a massive expansion of the Global Gag Rule is underway. Whereas previous iterations of the Global Gag Rule only affected funds earmarked for reproductive health, the Trump version encapsulates all US global health programs. This includes programs for AIDS, Malaria, Measles, cancer care, diabetes, child nutrition — everything except emergency humanitarian relief.

In monetary terms, this expands the scope of the Global Gag Rule from about $600 million in reproductive health assistance to $8.8 billion in global health assistance around the world, including the $6 billion anti-AIDS program created by President George W. Bush known as PEPfAR.

So even if Congress pushes back against the administration to preserve USAID’s budget, Mr. Green may not have any recipients to give the money to.

APHA 2017 Section Elections Start May 25th!

The polls for the American Public Health Association’s Section Elections will be open May 25 – June 15.

As an APHA member, selecting Section leadership is an integral part of your Association’s governance. We encourage you to take part in this year’s election.

On May 25, look for an email (subject line: “APHA Voting Information Enclosed”) that will include voting instructions and a direct link to your online ballot.

All you have to do is click on the link, review the candidate statements and VOTE!

Rest assured the site is secure and will prevent anyone from voting more than once.