Inter-American Dialogue Launches Health Task Force

March 1, 2021
Contact: Inter-American Dialogue 

Washington, DC – The Dialogue is pleased to announce the launch of its Inter-American Health Task Force, which will convene for its first virtual meeting on March 2. The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the flaws in coordination and health policy integration in the Western Hemisphere. The purpose of this task force is to examine the Covid-19 response in the region and identify areas to improve inter-American cooperation and coordination in future health emergencies. The initiative will pursue a cross-sectoral and evidence-based approach. 

The task force is co-chaired by Dialogue members Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami, and Helene Gayle, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, and directed by Beatriz Londoño, former minister of health of Colombia. “This task force could not have come at a better time,” said Frenk. “It is clear that the only way to confront future pandemics is by working together—global challenges require global solutions. We need to capitalize on this moment to introduce fundamental structural changes into the global health system to better protect every one of us.”

Unprecedented measures have been taken to control the Covid-19 pandemic, whose epicenters are the Americas, along with Europe. But the lack of coordination and cooperation has been disappointing.

According to Gayle, “we need to establish robust and reliable systems to better coordinate our response to pandemic threats. This task force will draw insights on crucial issues such as the role of PAHO and international financial institutions, the equitable and timely access to vaccines, transparency on data sharing, and the role of foundations, nonprofits, and the private sector. I am looking forward to our discussions.”

For Dialogue President Michael Shifter, “at a time when countries in the Americas are looking inward, inter-American cooperation and collaboration are more crucial than ever. The Dialogue is well-positioned to make a significant difference and have a strong impact. We are excited to harness our network and engage such an influential and diverse group of experts to tackle a momentous hemispheric challenge.”

About the Health Task Force at the Inter-American Dialogue 
The Health Task Force is an initiative of the Inter-American Dialogue. The group will meet over a 3-month period and publish a white paper to be launched and distributed at a virtual public event with the results and recommendations of the task force meetings.

The members of the group include: George Alleyne (Barbados), Julio Bango (Uruguay), Catalina Botero (Colombia), Marcelo Cabrol (Argentina), Oscar Chacon (United States), Monica de Bolle (Brazil), Julio Frenk (Mexico), Patricia Garcia (Peru), Helene Gayle (United States), Steve Hoffman (Canada), Carlos Felipe Jaramillo (Colombia), Natalia Kanem (Panama), Felicia Marie Knaul (Canada), Claudia López (Colombia), Rafael Lozano (Mexico), Salvador Paiz (Guatemala), Feliciano Reyna (Venezuela), Fernando Ruiz (Colombia), Daniel Salas (Costa Rica), Jaime Sepulveda (Mexico), Donna Shalala (United States), Hugo Sigman (Argentina), Juan Gabriel Valdés (Chile), Maria Eugenia Vidal (Argentina), Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico). 
About the Inter-American Dialogue 
The Inter-American Dialogue engages its network of global leaders to foster democratic governance, prosperity, and social equity in Latin America and the Caribbean. Together, we shape policy debate, generate ideas, devise solutions, and enhance collaboration within the Western Hemisphere.