Granger Selected for Commission on Smart Global Health Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Commission on Smart Global Health Policy launched an initiative to provide recommendations for some of the most pressing health issues facing the international community.  Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) was among those chosen to serve on the commission that will develop recommendations for a long-term, strategic U.S. approach to global health. 

“It’s an honor to serve on this commission. Health care is something I care deeply about,” Granger said.  “Serving on this commission is exciting, because it is an opportunity to come up with solutions that will have a real impact on a global scale.”

Granger serves as the senior Republican on the House of Representatives’ State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, which has oversight of U.S. foreign assistance programs. 

Granger is actively involved as the co-chair and founder of the Congressional Study Group on Public Health, co-chair of the Congressional Prevention Caucus, and co-chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus Health Policy Task Force. 

“I want to focus over the next year on solutions to develop a better information network.  Our agencies, non-governmental organizations, and local community organizations have all collected good information, but the problem is this information is stove-piped.  We need a set of commonsense solutions to promote a more free-flowing dialogue and encourage information sharing,” Granger said.

“Additionally, I want to focus on addressing child and maternal health.  A recent report by the Congressional Research Service showed that more than 500,000 women die each year due to pregnancy-related causes. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries.”

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) maintains that the majority of these deaths could be prevented if women in developing countries had access to adequate diets, safe water and sanitation facilities, basic literacy, and health services during pregnancy and childbirth.

The Commission is part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. CSIS conducts research and analysis and develops policy initiatives that look into the future and anticipate change.

According to the CSIS website, the Commission operates from the premise that investments in health, while benefiting people first, also have rising foreign policy, security, economic and development stakes, of direct import to long-term U.S. national interests. The Commission will be working with senior policy makers in the Obama administration and both parties in Congress to ensure interest in its work and guarantee success in seeing its recommendation translated into action.

“What I like the most about the emphasis of this commission is the use of ‘smart power’ and how we can employ these techniques to tackle global health concerns,” Granger said. “I have talked a lot about ‘smart power’ in the diplomatic world as we address issues with other countries – both friendly and unfriendly toward the U.S. So for me, applying this same type of thinking to health care makes a lot of sense. There is no doubt that improving health care in other nations is in our national security interest as well.”

The Commission is co-chaired by Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE, and Admiral William J. Fallon, former Commander of both the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command. The commission’s report is scheduled to be released in January 2010.