21st Century Global Health Diplomacy
Health diplomacy begins with a recognition that the most effective international health interventions are ethically carried out with sensitivity to historical, political, social, economic, and cultural differences. Health diplomacy focuses on the interplay of health assistance, economic inequities, and enlightened self-interests of nations. While encompassing much of the social science, humanities, political science, and international relations disciplines, health diplomacy requires new interdisciplinary pedagogical approaches. Tomorrow's health professionals must grapple with the emergent problems of global health and with the challenges of diplomacy in an increasingly complex world.Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, dentists, and researchers need to have skills to understand and deal with globalization, multilateralism, resource inequality, health disparities, and post-conflict health crises in order to help assure global peace and economic stability. These skills are not taught in standard health sciences curricula, but they bear directly on the success of global scientific cooperation and foreign direct assistance. New opportunities abound for global health cooperation through philanthropy, private sector collaboration, and revitalized multilateral organizations. In addition, global health diplomacy relates directly to national security and sovereignty through good foreign service practices as well as through cooperative approaches to trans-border health problems. Recent outbreaks of SARS, avian flu, and the threat of bioterrorism have galvanized interest and demand for training in health diplomacy. The globalization of biomedical research and the need to translate this research into cost-effective health interventions for poor populations also demands attention to approaches that are ethically, politically, and culturally sensitive to a multitude of inputs. Health diplomacy can be a critical pathway to assure good global governance and sensible international relations among the great powers and between these powers and the developing world. It can be a mechanism to avert conflict and to augment peace, altruism, economic progress, and international cooperation.This is the first time different perspectives of global health diplomacy (i.e. foreign policy, security, policy cohesion, and governance) are brought together in one volume. This volume clearly articulates the formation of global health diplomacy as a new field of study.
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