Implications of U.S. Withdrawal from the World Health Organization

On May 29, President Trump announced the United States would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), cutting off one of the largest sources of funding for the agency in the middle of a global health emergency. Withdrawal from the only intergovernmental platform coordinating international health would threaten the health and safety of both Americans and the greater global community, a particularly dangerous and irresponsible decision as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, October 29 at 2 p.m. EDT, PHR hosted a discussion on the global implications of the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO, including the added strain on global health systems and capacities, impacts on future vaccine development, limited access to vaccine supplies in the U.S., threats to diplomacy, and the decimation of vital U.S. public health institutions.

The event was also featured in The New York Times: The U.S. should strengthen the W.H.O., not quit it, experts argue.”

The conversation was moderated by Roopa Dhatt, MD, MPA, executive director and co-founder of Women in Global Health and primary care physician.

Panelists were:

  • Georges C. Benjamin, MD is executive director of the American Public Health Association and member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
  • Lawrence Gostin, JD is a university professor, director, and founding chair of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law School. He is a Georgetown University professor of medicine and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health professor of public health. He serves as director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law.
  • Ebere Okereke, MBBS, DTM&H, MSc, MFPHM, is a public health physician who serves as a consultant in communicable disease control, and global public health lead, for Public Health England’s international health regulations strengthening project.

See all events in PHR’s COVID-19 Webinar Series.

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