Medical Diplomacy

The Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy (the Center) at the University of North Florida was founded in February 2007, with the mission of promoting global understanding and collaborative action for improving health and medical care.    Center objectives include:

  • Promoting excellence and balance in the caring, ethics and science of health and medicine
  • Promoting the human, economic and diplomatic value of health and medical care
  • Promoting optimal health and medical education
  • Supporting leadership development in the health and medical professions
  • Integrating broad local, state, national and global participation in advisory committees, forums, publications, research, education and demonstration activities

The Center is the first global health organization to include a focus on Medical Diplomacy, in which medical and healthcare assets are utilized globally through government, private, and volunteer efforts to encourage positive relations between communities and nations. Center initiatives in medical diplomacy focus on: reducing the global burden of disease and disability, illuminating emerging threats to international health, and enabling health professionals to better advocate for their patients and their profession. Center Director, Dr. Yank Coble travels internationally to speak on the Center’s work in medical diplomacy.

Definition of Medical Diplomacy

In a Boston Globe Op-Ed piece - “The cure for tyranny” (10/24/2005) Tommy Thompson (former governor of Wisconsin, and former US Secretary of Health and Human Services) described medical diplomacy as being:


      “the winning of hearts and minds of people ... by exporting medical care, expertise, and personnel to help those who need it most.”

Medical diplomacy can involve short-term or long-term measures in medical outreach. Examples of short-term initiatives include disaster relief (post-earthquake or post-Tsunami), or ongoing medical outreach such as Project Hope provides. Long-term medically sustainable measures would include building facilities, providing education and medical training, and exporting medical and healthcare personnel.

The goal of U.S. efforts in medical diplomacy is to inspire good will and encourage positive relations between nations, as well as to ensure the health of U.S. citizens against international health threats (e.g., international vaccination programs indirectly insure the health of US citizens).USNS Comfort 




Click on the links below to read more about the Center's participation in Medical Diplomacy Initiatives:

 2008 INSEAD Classroom       Haiti Relief