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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About the Division of International Health Security

The interconnectedness of our world brings with it the ability for emerging infectious diseases and other health security threats to spread rapidly across borders. To better protect health and save lives, the Division of International Health Security coordinates with its partners across the country and around the globe to enact plans, policies and response strategies that help mitigate these threats.

Team photo of the staff members of the Division of International Health Secrurity 
DIHS is a team of dedicated professionals—spanning the public health, scientific, medical, biosecurity, communication, and legal fields—committed to enhancing our nation’s capabilities and capacities to effectively prepare and respond to public health and medical emergencies through national and global health security action

DIHS provides leadership in international programs, initiatives, and policies to strengthen public health and medical emergency preparedness and response by:

  1. Promoting and engaging in domestic and international partnerships to advance public health emergency preparedness and response;
  2. Developing, exercise, and implement  international assistance and response policies; and
  3. Strengthening domestic and international implementation of International Health Regulations (2005) core capacities.

Since its establishment in 2010,  the Division of International Health Security has responded to a wide range of international health threats, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake and cholera outbreak; the Fukushima Nuclear power plant disaster; the recent MERS-CoV, Ebola virus and Zika virus outbreaks.

Our Vision:  A nation prepared to respond to public health emergencies in an interdependent global health security environment.

Our Mission:  Provide leadership in international programs, initiatives, and policies to strengthen public health and medical emergency preparedness and response.*

What we do

DIHS provides leadership on a variety of multilateral and bilateral engagements designed to strengthen the health security of U.S. and international partners and foster domestic and international collaboration on public health preparedness and response. These include the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI), the North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza (NAPAPI), binational health security issues under the Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border Initiative and other bilateral engagements.

DIHS develops policies and plans for HHS to provide and receive international assistance and for coordination of public health emergency responses at the domestic-international interface, integrating national and international activities and stakeholders. DIHS leads the implementation of these policies and plans during public health emergencies that have both national and international implications, with a focus on sharing of public health and medical assets, such as medical countermeasures, laboratory specimens, and medical and public health personnel.

Under the U.S, binding commitment to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR), DIHS manages the U.S.IHR National Focal Point (NFP) and leads all policy aspects of notifications of public health emergencies of international concern (PHEIC) to WHO.  In addition, DIHS leads the monitoring and evaluation of the U.S.’s implementation of its capacities to detect, prevent and respond to public health emergencies, including leading the self-assessment and coordination of the external, independent evaluation of our country’s capacities under the IHR Joint External Evaluation (JEE) framework, assigned to HHS under the Executive Order for Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda to Achieve a World Safe and Secure from Infectious Disease Threats

DIHS also collaborates with domestic and international partners through strategic programs to support implementation of IHR core capacities in partner countries, including strengthening of NFP capacities and preparedness planning for response to public health emergencies.

*The DIHS mission stems from a legislative mandate in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), Public Law 109-417.

Health Security in an Interconnected World

In partnership with other nations, intergovernmental organizations, and public and private stakeholders, the United States will help accelerate progress toward a world safe from public health threats and will promote efforts to strengthen global health security as a national health security priority.

- National Health Security Strategy, 2015

  • This page last reviewed: February 15, 2017