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Embedding Equity in U.S. Global Health Financing and Diplomacy

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Event description

This virtual dialogue, a partnership between the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health and Office of Federal Relations, will bring together global health equity leaders from the U.S. government, the World Health Organization and Kenyan civil society to discuss and capitalize on the historic opportunity offered by the Biden-Harris administration to embed equity into U.S. global health investments and diplomacy.

With equity at the top of the Biden-Harris administration’s policy agenda — and calls to “decolonize” global health growing in the U.S. and globally — the event will ask what it means in practice to position health equity as a U.S. foreign policy priority. It will provide a unique platform for experts from two branches of the U.S. government, the United Nations, and Kenyan civil society to grapple with and strategize on these issues together.

The event occurs amid major developments in the broader global health landscape, including the revision of the International Health Regulations, negotiations for a potential new pandemic accord and financing mechanism, and the U.S.-hosted replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Within the United States, it occurs against the backdrop of the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality and the upcoming 20th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which provides a generational opportunity to extend the bipartisan consensus on HIV/AIDS to a future vision of global health for all.

The dialogue will be moderated by Prof. Jonathan Cohen, JD MPhil, Clinical Professor and Director of Policy Engagement at USC IIGH. Welcome remarks will be delivered by Carolyn C. Meltzer, MD, Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Closing remarks will be delivered by Prof. Sofia Gruskin, Director at USC IIGH.


Loyce Pace is the Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs (OGA) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she is responsible for advancing the U.S. international health agenda through multilateral and bilateral forums. Reporting directly to the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS), she is the Office of Global Affairs’ lead on setting priorities and policies that promote American public health agencies and interests worldwide. Ms. Pace oversees HHS’ engagement with foreign governments and international institutions as well policymaking bodies such as the G7, G20, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and World Health Assembly. Previously, she served as President & Executive Director of Global Health Council (GHC) and was also a member of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. At GHC, she advocated for increased federal investments in global health, in the face of budget cuts to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, United States Agency for International Development, and World Health Organization (WHO). Prior to her role at GHC, Ms. Pace spent over a decade working with community-based organizations and grassroots leaders in countries across Africa and Asia on campaigns calling for person-centered access to health. Additionally, she has held positions on various global and regional advisory committees and boards that focus on equity and inclusion. Ms. Pace holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in human biology from Stanford University and a master’s degree in international health & human rights with the distinction of Delta Omega from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Pascale Allotey
is the Director of the World Health Organization Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research (includes HRP) and a globally recognized expert in sexual and reproductive health and rights. She most recently served as Director of the United Nations University’s International Institute for Global Health in Malaysia. She brings over three decades of experience as a global public health researcher, with work across four continents. Her work has covered health equity, health and human rights, gender and social determinants of health, forced migration and marginalization, infectious diseases, and non-communicable diseases. Previous roles include Professor of Public Health and Deputy Head of School (Research) at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University (Malaysia); founding Associate Director of the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO Malaysia); Professor of Race, Diversity and Professional Practice, Brunel University (United Kingdom). Pascale has been celebrated by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) for her early work in anthropology and gender, which provided critical evidence contributing to women receiving protective bed nets, and she served on the TDR STAC. She holds a PhD in Public Health and a MMedSci in Community Health from the University of Western Australia, and a BA in Nursing and Psychology from the University of Ghana, Legon.

Allan Maleche
is a dynamic leader, an advocate of the high court of Kenya and a human rights defender with over 15 years of experience in law, ethics, governance, policy, health and rights, including eight years managing rights-based programs that protect affected, marginalized and vulnerable populations. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN). He sits on and co-chairs the UNAIDS Human Rights Reference group and is a member of the International Advisory Board for the Global Health Centre. Allan is a former board member of the Developing Country NGO Delegation to the Global Fund Board, where he also served as a member of the Global Fund’s Audit and Finance Committee, and the former chair of the Implementers Group of the Global Fund Board. 

Opening remarks by:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee has been representing California’s 13th District since 1998. She is the highest ranking African American woman in Democratic Leadership, serving as Co-Chair of the Policy and Steering Committee. In 1990, Congresswoman Lee was elected to the California State Assembly, where she served until 1996 when she was elected to the State Senate. As a California legislator, Congresswoman Lee authored 67 bills and resolutions that were signed into law by Republican Governor Pete Wilson. This legislation addressed a wide spectrum of issues, including public safety, education, healthcare, and environmental protections. In the legislature, Congresswoman Lee was an early champion of LGBT issues and authored the 1995 California Schools Hate Crimes Reduction Act. As the first African American woman elected to the State Senate from Northern California, Congresswoman Lee created and presided over the California Commission on the Status of African American Males and the California Legislative Black Caucus, while working to defeat the punitive “three strikes law.” Congresswoman Lee also served as a strong advocate for women in the legislature, where she authored and passed the first California Violence Against Women Act and served as a member of the California Commission on the Status of Women. Currently, Congresswoman Lee serves on the Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending. She serves on three subcommittees (Chair, State and Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration) of the Appropriations Committee.


Carolyn Meltzer, MD, is the Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the John and May Hooval Dean’s Chair in Medicine. Dr. Meltzer was recruited from Emory University, where for the past 15 years she served as the William P. Timmie Professor and Chair in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences. At the Emory School of Medicine, she also served as Executive Associate Dean of Faculty Academic Advancement, Leadership and Inclusion, and as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Prior to her appointment at Emory University, Meltzer served on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed her graduate medical education at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Meltzer holds an undergraduate degree in biology and neurobiology with honors from Cornell University. She is an expert in neuroradiology and nuclear medicine and has conducted research to understand the brain’s structure and function during normal aging, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and psychiatric disorders in later life. In addition, she specializes in cancer imaging and has subspecialty certification in neuroradiology with advanced training in PET imaging.

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