The complexity of health security is vast, requiring a whole-of-society approach: scientists, educators, policymakers, and advocates. The opportunity is equally vast: bringing isolated ideas and people together for unprecedented progress.
The issues we work on span the spectrum of biological threats to human, animal, and environmental health; from emerging and reemerging infectious disease to dual-use technology and deliberate events, including bioterrorism. Our work bridges the continents of global health, national security, foreign affairs, public diplomacy, and sustainable development.
In Pakistan, we are working with our local partner, the Aga Khan University to strengthen laboratory diagnostic capabilities for antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a critical health security challenge not only in Pakistan but around the world. We are assessing laboratory practices, providing resources and training to address gaps, and ultimately building a country-wide diagnostic surveillance network that will shape programmatic and policy interventions. Through this effort, we support national and international efforts on AMR, including the President’s Strategy for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), and WHO Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.
We are providing subject-matter expertise to strengthen biological surveillance and response capacity in Southeast Asia. We support the development, organization, and execution of activities to include workshops and table top exercises that will be designed to enhance key regional and country plans and processes. We develop programs consisting of didactic lectures, case studies, and scenario-based discussions to enhance biological safety and security, systems for biological incident preparedness and response, and whole-of-government coordination.
Centers of Excellence
Health Security Centers of Excellence (COE) are established in partnership with host country institutions working to improve biosafety and biosecurity. These Centers, based at academic institutions, offer local scientists, faculty and students access to up-to-date scientific resources, raise awareness on biorisk issues, and provide continuing education credits. Local capacity in biosafety and biosecurity training and education is fostered through symposia, workshops, and hands-on trainings on biorisk management topics such as waste disposal, risk assessments, biosafety level specific safety and security concerns, standard operating procedures, dual-use research of concern, biosafety officer training, and basic biosafety and biosecurity for cleaning staff.
Health Security Futures Fellowship
Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, United States
The Health Security Futures Fellowship is a yearlong program designed to train early-career scientists on the principles and practices of global health security. We challenge them to work with their peers to identify a local health security challenge and develop a tangible solution to meet that challenge. We utilize a Fellowship model that is flexible in subject-matter content and can be adapted to local needs.
During the in-person Fellowship Training Institute, which launches the yearlong program, Fellows learn about critical issues in health security and exchange ideas with subject-matter experts and their peers. Fellows are encouraged to collaborate and develop innovative health security solutions. Proposals developed by previous Fellows have covered a diverse array of topics, such as an assessment of the understanding of dual-use research in Pakistan, hospital personnel training programs for hospital-acquired infections in Iraqi Kurdistan, and a disease surveillance program in refugee camps leveraging mobile technology. The Fellows continue to interact through a robust virtual health security curriculum via HSPortal throughout the year.
Health Security Lab Mentorship
Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia
The Health Security Lab Mentorship Program ensures that best practices are both implemented and sustained over time to strengthen lab systems’ abilities to provide safe, secure, high quality, and timely detection and reporting of disease outbreaks—whether they are naturally occurring, accidental, or intentional. We place a subject matter expert/mentor (SME) in the lab for a period of 1-3 weeks at a time, with multiple visits per year, to work with lab leadership and coach staff to implement best practices. Mentors use a system of scored checklists for assessment, improvement plans, implementation, and skills testing to measure progress towards a mutually shared end-state.
Mentorship end-points can range from immediate needs, including improved detection of priority pathogens, strengthened sample management, bolstering SOPs, and document control, to larger, long-term objectives such as the build out of a comprehensive biorisk management system or ISO accreditation. The SMEs train local mentors and build on existing workshop-based training programs to build in-country capacity and transition to country ownership.
Health Security Leaders Program
Southeast Asia, South Asia
The Health Security Leaders Program engages the leadership of private and public biomedical institutions in the target country to lead efforts to strengthen biological security. The program is uniquely tailored to train and empower decision makers, enabling them to address biosecurity issues, in the context of meeting their institutional priorities of delivering high-quality diagnostics, research, and education.
The Leaders program recognizes the importance of tangible biosecurity measures at the institutional level, such as the appointment of a Biorisk Officer, basic biosecurity upgrades, development and implementation of SOPs, incident reporting, and engaged training programs. Participants are taught how to implement those measures within their local context. The program includes an in-person seminar with didactic lectures on a range of institutional health security practices and features a year-long engagement program through a virtual platform to reinforce and strengthen these concepts.
Health Security Stewards Fellowship
Southeast Asia, Middle East & North Africa
The Health Security Stewards Fellowship is a yearlong program designed to train university faculty on developing and delivering curriculum related to health security. We utilize a model that is flexible in subject-matter content and can be adapted to local needs.
As a launch to the program, Fellows travel to Washington, DC for a Fellowship Training Institute led by faculty from Cornell University and Georgetown University as well as special speakers from the U.S. government and local non-profit organizations. The Fellows learn about health security curriculum topics in the U.S., including science and technology policy, biodefense and counter terrorism, food security, global health, and public diplomacy. Fellows are mentored through the process of developing and deploying curricula to their local universities. After the Training Institute, Fellows deliver this curricula through health security lectures and seminars at their home university.
Zoonotic Surveillance to Support One Health
We are bringing together the network of veterinary diagnostic labs in Afghanistan to review One Health policies and practices. In collaboration with in-country partners, we are conducting a high-level review of the capabilities of both public and private diagnostic labs, including safety and security, early warning systems, and data sharing with human health counterparts. The program will identify critical gaps in Afghanistan’s animal health infrastructure related to early warning and pandemic threats, such as data sharing, transmission of vector-borne disease, and outbreak surveillance/alert systems.