Centers & Programs

Global Health Program

The Global Health program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) provides independent, evidence-based analysis and recommendations to help policymakers, practitioners, business leaders, journalists, and the public meet the health challenges of a globalized world. These challenges include infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and monkeypox that cross borders with easier trade and travel, the rapid increase in cancers, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases in working-age people in developing countries, and the emerging perils of antibiotic resistance and climate change. These changing health needs place new demands on international institutions and initiatives at a time when their long-term financing is in doubt. Through rigorous research, articles, and online-interactives, CFR's experts work to advance evidence-based analysis and informed decision-making in global health.

2 out of 3 deaths related to COVID-19 were not attributed to COVID-19 in official statistics in 2020 and 2021

Program Experts

Program Director

Thomas J. Bollyky

Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development and Director of the Global Health Program

Luciana L. Borio

Senior Fellow for Global Health

David P. Fidler

Senior Fellow for Global Health and Cybersecurity

Tom Frieden

Senior Fellow for Global Health

Yanzhong Huang

Senior Fellow for Global Health

Jennifer Nuzzo

Senior Fellow for Global Health

  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

    This symposium will take stock of the lessons of COVID-19 for the foreign policy of collective action and explore how those lessons should be applied to future global health challenges.
  • Pollution

    Air pollution is a major contributor to illness and early death worldwide. Substantial progress has been made to reduce air pollution, but what more needs to be done? Participants discuss the status, sources, and health effects of air pollution in various global contexts.
  • United States

    Significant developments in tobacco control are on the horizon in the United States. This year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed bans on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars and suggested regulations restricting nicotine content in tobacco products. These U.S. policies could have profound implications for public health and racial equity and could set a new international standard for nicotine content regulation for other nations to follow.  Our speakers, Dr. Brian A. King from the Center for Tobacco Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Jennifer Lee from the Department of Tobacco Control at the New York State Department of Health, discuss the proposed U.S. regulations and their potential implications for public health and racial equity in the United States and abroad.
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

    For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the World Health Organization is poised to declare a different disease, monkeypox, to also be a public health emergency of international concern. Since early May 2022, cases of monkeypox—a disease endemic to parts of Africa—have been identified in more than thirty-seven countries where the disease is not normally found. More than three thousand confirmed and suspected cases have been reported.  In this Council on Foreign Relations roundtable, Dr. Luciana L. Borio, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Dr. Anne Rimoin, Gordon-Levin endowed chair in infectious diseases and public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, discuss the state of the international monkeypox outbreak, national and multilateral public health responses, prospects for control, access to countermeasures, and the potential implications of this outbreak.
  • Health

    In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are working to improve access to and quality of primary health care. How do we measure and monitor the progress? Please join our speakers, Dan Schwarz, director of primary health care at Ariadne Labs, and Frederico Guanais, deputy head of the health division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, to discuss metrics and evaluation in primary care. 
  • Technology and Innovation

    Russia has made a concerted effort to discredit Western vaccines, while simultaneously promoting its own Sputnik V vaccine by paying influencers and creating misleading articles. China has also amplified disinformation aimed at sowing doubts about Western coronavirus vaccines and other countries’ response to the virus. These digital threats have real-world implications. The barrage of COVID-related disinformation has eroded trust in public health officials and vaccinations, and dramatically curtailed our ability to respond to both current and future pandemics. Steven Wilson, Assistant Professor of Politics, Brandeis University and Graham Brookie, Senior Director of the Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council discuss how the United States improve its information security and combat malicious state-sponsored narratives in a roundtable discussion moderated by Jennifer Nuzzo.
  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

    Numerous research studies point to the outsized role that trust has played in the COVID-19 pandemic. Public compliance with expert recommendations for social distancing, mask wearing, school closures, and vaccinations have been linked to the perceived trustworthiness of government, its agencies, and other citizens. In this Council on Foreign Relations roundtable, Dr. Margaret Levi and Dr. Michael Bang Petersen discuss the role of trust in current and future COVID-19 crisis response and what governments can do to build trust before the next health emergency emerges—as it inevitably will.