Global Health Committee Issues Report on Heart Disease Burden

The United States must prioritize its health resources toward detecting and treating noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, while maintaining and expanding prevention and eradication of infectious diseases on a global scale, according to a detailed review of global health policy recommendations pertaining to the detection and management of cardiovascular disease put forth by a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) this past May.

The NASEM committee was charged with identifying current global health priorities and making strategic recommendations to the U.S. government and other stakeholders on how best to address these priorities in a manner that would have the most immediate and substantial impact. Their recommendations – 14 in total – were released in May 2017 and included improving early detection and treatment; mitigating disease risk factors; shifting global health infrastructure to include management of cardiovascular disease; developing global partners and private-public ventures to meet infrastructure and funding challenges; streamlining medical product development and supply; increasing research and development capacity; and addressing gaps in global political and institutional leadership to meet the shifting challenge.

In the review article, published Nov. 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the authors focus on the cardiovascular disease-related recommendations, providing insights in five key areas: 1) global cardiovascular health; 2) screening for early detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease; 3) catalyzing innovation, including accelerating drug development, addressing research and development capacity and leveraging digital health; 4) smart financing strategies; and 5) global health leadership.

“The Committee has highlighted priority areas that demand continued investment and underscored the imperative to change the way the United States approaches global health, to a more proactive and integrated strategy,” the authors write. “One targeted area is CVD, as part of general expansion of the global health vision to encompass chronic NCDs. The outcome of investment in global health, now shifting to include NCDs, will be resilient countries with positive health outcomes, robust trade partners, safer travel destinations, and more active collaborators in preventing and controlling global health problems that affect citizen of every country, at every income level.”

Should the U.S. choose to prioritize cardiovascular disease and other NCD programs within its global health strategy, the authors stress the country could benefit in the following three ways: “1) the adoption of a universal purpose, 2) economic prosperity and trade benefits, and 3) the safeguarding of U.S. global health investments.”

"These NASEM recommendations and this manuscript are among the most important efforts of my career, because if they are adopted by the U.S. government, they have the potential to enact true change for global health," said corresponding author Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC, from Mt. Sinai Medical Center, NY. "The next step for the committee is to present these recommendations to the U.S. Senate and to President Donald J. Trump."

Keywords: Investments, Health Priorities, Health Resources, Leadership, Global Health, Risk Factors, Cardiovascular Diseases, Academies and Institutes, Research, Heart Diseases, Government

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