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US-Russia Bilateral Commission

President Obama and Russian Federation President Medvedev agreed to create a Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC) in July 2009. The Health Working Group (HWG), one of 17 BPC working groups, aims to improve the health and well-being of both nations by facilitating cooperation and exchanges in the area of public health and medical science. It operates under the umbrella of the Memorandum of Understanding, signed in 2009, between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development (MOHSD). Under the HWG, the United States and Russia are pursuing cooperation in the areas of research collaboration, maternal and child health, healthy lifestyles, and global health.

In January of 2011, HHS, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation (MOHSD), signed a Protocol of Intent on Cooperation for the Global Eradication of Polio.

Official Meetings of the US- Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Health Working Group

The first meeting of the HWG took place in Washington, D.C., on September 24, 2010. During the meeting US HHS Secretary Sebelius and Russian Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development Skvortsova discussed a work plan for activities in four major areas of collaboration: Healthy Lifestyles; Maternal and Child Health; Scientific Collaboration; and Global Health. In addition to MOHSD and the HHS Office of the Secretary, participants included the U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of State, the National Institute of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The second Health Working Group meeting was held in Moscow on April 27, 2011. The meeting focused on reviewing ongoing activities under four major areas of collaboration. Meeting participants also discussed potential activities for future partnership. Highlights from each main category included:

  • Maternal and Child Health: agreement to strengthen cooperation on innovative technologies, and implementing text4baby in Russia; participation of American specialists in the forum "Ways to Reduce Infant Mortality: The Russian Experience" October 2011 in Moscow
  • Healthy Lifestyles: agreement to strengthen cooperation on reducing cardiovascular disease; training courses for Russian cardiologists; joint research programs on the prevention of drug use; drug and alcohol treatment exploration; collaboration on tobacco control measures
  • Research Collaboration: agreement to strengthen cooperation on holding the inaugural meeting of the US- Russia Forum on Science in November 2011; conducting a Clinical Research training course November 2011; and the signing of the Protocol of Intent between the MOHSD Public Health Research Institute and the U.S. National Institute for the Study of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • Global Health: agreement to strengthen cooperation on global polio eradication efforts; consideration of further cooperative engagement through the Strategic Health Partnership under the Bratislava Agreement.

Both sides agreed to explore ways of engaging civil society and the private sector in the HWG, possibly conjunction with the scheduled U.S.-Russia Forum on Science meeting in November 2011 in Moscow.

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