Pacific Health Leaders Start Virtual Exchange Focused on Public Health

SUVA – On Monday October 19, 19 leaders from eleven Pacific countries began a virtual exchange program focused on public health leadership. The delegates, selected through a competitive regional process, will gather virtually for three weeks to learn from one another and from their counterparts in the United States. Notably, the group will explore the roles of civil society and government in responding to public health challenges as well as the roles and relationship between public health and medical institutions.

Ambassador Joseph Cella said, “This program is a great opportunity for these impressive Pacific health leaders to exchange best management and leadership practices despite the current travel restrictions. Finding the best options for the region’s health system requires creativity, innovation, and collaboration. It is my hope that this exchange will generate ideas and inspiration for new ways we can work together to overcome health challenges.”

The group includes participants from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu. Through this public health-focused virtual exchange program, Pacific leaders will connect with U.S. medical experts including those at:
• The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
• The U.S. Public Health Service,
• The Mayo Clinic,
• The Baltimore School of Medicine,
• The Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii (who is also an emergency room doctor),
• The U.S. Department of State

This program is part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, which is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term in person and virtual visits to the United States, current and emerging leaders in a variety of fields gain first-hand experience and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. More than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including more than 500 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government.