Foreign Policy and Global Health Experts on the USG’s Role in Global Health

While global health has enjoyed significant bipartisan support among US policymakers over the past 15 years, the potential for changes in the political landscape in 2016 makes this an opportune time to assess the USG’s position relative to global health needs and funding. With this in mind, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Global Health Policy Program asked Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies to solicit the views of specialists in foreign policy and global health. In October and November, 2015, Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies conducted focus group discussions and in-depth telephone interviews among center-left- and center-right-leaning foreign policy and global health experts. Working with Kaiser to identify the key areas of inquiry, we asked these experts to comment on:

  • The USG as a leader in global health—whether and why they feel it is important that the USG be a leader;
  • Priorities for USG involvement in global health—the specific initiatives or areas that should be the focus of our involvement;
  • Necessary or recommended changes to our approach to global health—deriving from past experience and learning, or from new exigencies, circumstances, or concerns;
  • The outlook for USG funding for global health—how funding levels are likely to change and whether bipartisan support can be maintained;
  • How to make the political case for why the USG should continue funding global health initiatives—the reasons that resonate for policy makers and their constituents, and the voices that are the most effective in making the case.

Four focus groups were held in Washington, DC and were divided by partisan leaning (center-left versus center-right) and area of expertise (global health versus other areas of foreign policy). A total of 51 experts volunteered their opinions for this project, speaking anonymously from their personal experience as policy makers, practitioners, and advocates. Participants included:

  • 22 Hill and government agency staffers;
  • 21 NGO and advocacy organization leaders;
  • 8 academics and think tank researchers.

Breakdowns by expertise and leaning are shown in the table below:

Left-Leaning Participants Right-Leaning Participants
Focus groups 9 global health experts
7 foreign policy experts
9 global health experts
9 foreign policy experts
In-depth interviews 10 global health and foreign policy experts 7 global health and foreign policy experts

While the findings from this research are not projectable to any larger population, they offer important insights into anticipated opportunities and challenges for the advancement of global health through USG involvement and funding.

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