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The Department of Defense works through Global Health Engagement to build partnerships with other nations to strengthen security cooperation and partner capacity through health-related activities and exchanges. AFMS Global Health Engagement efforts strive to promote:

  • Force Readiness: Global health engagements improve capacity and capability of the United States and partner nations, enabling our military to deploy fully capable with the fewest resources necessary.
  • Interoperability: Global health engagements enable International Health Specialists to improve interoperability with partner nations, ensuring mutual benefit from partnerships during contingency operations.
  • Proactive Stability: Maintaining a state of preparedness bolsters communities’ resilience and confidence in partner nation governance.
  • Gateway to Cooperation: Medical cooperation, through structure health engagements, build trust, gain and maintain access to strategic areas of interest.

Global Health Engagement Assets

Graphic of International Health Specialist Logo

The International Health Specialist Program, established in 2000 by former Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Paul K Carlton Jr., extends the operational reach of the Joint Forces. This cadre of health professionals bring diversified international skills and knowledge of military and civilian health disciplines to full time advisor roles within Combatant Commands, Major Commands and Air Force Component Commands in support of Global Health Engagement strategies.

There are more than 400 Air Force International Health Specialists at military treatment facilities around the globe, ready to respond to global health engagement assignments, humanitarian assistance operations and major disasters.

Vision: To be the DoD’s go-to global health resource.

Mission: To optimally shape conditions through health-related opportunities that align with the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and National Military Strategy as expressed in CCMD campaign plans throughout all phases of conflict.

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The USAF School of Aerospace Medicine courses are open to international military students, with the Advanced Aerospace Medicine for International Medical Officers course serving as its premier program.

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The Defense Institute for Medical Operations is a U.S. Air Force institution that facilitates professional development, instruction and exchange among partner nations, with the goal of promoting military relevant global health capabilities.

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The Uniformed Services University Health Sciences and the Air Force Medical Service sponsor officers to participate in advanced academic degree programs, preparing them to support and lead global health engagements.

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Celebrating 20 years of IHS

In 2020, the Air Force International Health Specialist Program celebrated 20 years of leadership in Global Health Engagement. The capabilities developed during these engagements continue to be utilized in real world scenarios.

Please view the videos below for more information.

How Does the International Health Specialist Program Support Readiness?

A Look at Global Health Engagement: From Past to Present