Prior to the launch of the program, global health engagement consisted of large humanitarian events where U.S. military medics provided care to local populations of partner nations. Founder of the International Health Specialist Program and former U.S. Air Force Surgeon General, retired Lt. Gen. P.K. Carlton, explained that a key component of his vision was to create specialists with deep geopolitical and cultural skills who could drive more meaningful and long-term engagement with U.S. partners and allies. "These specialists would be able to lead engagements that not only influence the entire world medically, but also support National Defense Strategy objectives within regions around the globe," said Carlton. "The mutual benefit to the United States and its partners and allies persuaded the Department of Defense to invest in this program."
Air Force Instruction (AFI) 44-162. "International Health Specialist (IHS) Program and Global Health Engagement (GHE)." March 28, 2019.
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