Background & Objectives
For more than three decades, the international health training programs offered by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have contributed to the development of professionals in the field of international health. Currently numbering over 600, program alumni continue to address international health issues within and beyond the Region, taking advantage of their unique experience to offer diverse perspectives in addressing health challenges, and contributing to academic and research development in international health.
Over the years, an alumni network was formed to enhance collaboration among these professionals, harnessing their expertise and strategic position within various sectors and on different levels to benefit the Americas Region.
The International Health Network (IHN) has its origins in the first cohort of professionals from the Americas trained in the decentralized version of the Edmundo Granda Ugalde Leaders in International Health Program (LIHP). During the closing ceremony in Brasília, Brazil in 2008, the participants issued a declaration establishing four commitments. One of them was "the establishment of a network of professionals whose objective would be to promote the development of international health as a cross-cutting topic in the formulation of new health knowledge, translating it into health policies that aim to comply with international treaties and agreements that guide actions that mitigate the impact of conflict, to work in the reduction of inequalities, to promote trade that contributes to development and to guarantee the exercise of the right to health in the Latin American Region".
This proposal evolved over the years, culminating in a document that expresses the current network’s objectives, structure and strategic plan. The network functions under the supervision of the LIHP Coordination and the support of a team of graduates, promoting five strategic areas organized into the following working committees: (1) production and dissemination of information; (2) collaborative learning; (3) extension; (4) research; and (5) advocacy. As initially conceived, the IHN is open to alumni of PAHO’s training programs in international health –both the onsite (1985-2006) and the decentralized (2008-present) versions– as well as to trainers and other professionals affiliated with the same.
The following IHN objectives have been established:
Provide the opportunity for alumni of the international health training programs of the Pan American Health Organization to join efforts and contribute to the development of a strategic vision of health issues and the ways in which they are addressed within and across sectors in the Americas Region, based on a perspective that transcends borders and is founded on the principles of equity, social justice, and human rights.
- Establish policies for the dissemination of information and intellectual output of the IHN in order to contribute to knowledge management by documenting successful experiences implemented at the local, national, and/or regional levels that have impacted the health and social development of communities in the Americas Region.
- Promote the development of face-to-face and virtual dialogue, reflection, and discussion on topics that impact international health.
- Develop opportunities for academic and collaborative interaction on topics related to international health based on the strengths of IHN members (alumni and tutors).
- Contribute to the promotion and development of research in international health consistent with the health priorities of the countries of the Americas Region.
- Promote advocacy actions within public health and international health in order to strengthen and address sector priorities at the local and regional levels in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary manner.