At this year’s annual meeting in Denver, the American Public Health Association (APHA) adopted a resolution to support the new WHO Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.
As the professional association of public health workers in the U.S., the APHA each year adopts policy positions on a variety of health topics. This “late breaker” resolution, proposed just before the meeting on behalf of the International Health Section of APHA, recaps the history and content of the WHO Code of Practice, and states that the APHA will:
1. APPOINT LEADERSHIP
Designate key individuals who will meet to draft a list of eligible “national authority” agencies and work with other stakeholders to sketch out how the lead agency and supporting task force members might be designated and work together.
2. ASSEMBLE A TASK FORCE
Assemble a task force to identify the data required to make good faith reports to the WHO within the next year or two. This task force would examine existing data sources to identify, coordinate, open, link and report information, as well as to identify new data sources.
3. CREATE A RESEARCH PROGRAM
Fund a research program to examine the intersections between domestic and international workforce production, recruitment, deployment and retention.
4. SET A POLICY AGENDA
Invite the national authority task force to recommend modifications to U.S. policy that arise from the WHO Code, such as our heavy reliance on foreign-trained physicians and nurses, the need to expand our own domestic production of health workers, and the need to better distribute the workforce we currently have.
The resolution also references a sign-on letter that a number of organizations sent to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of State, encouraging the U.S. to move forward on practices that will reduce our reliance on foreign-trained health workers.
The adoption of the resolution indicates the APHA’s support for the WHO Code, which allows the organization to take future advocacy action on the issue.