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Our History

AIHA was established in 1992 by leading US health sector organizations to support international collaboration and technical assistance. Our mission is to advance global public health by helping countries with limited resources to build locally driven and locally sustainable institutional and human resource capacity. Through twinning partnerships and other initiatives, we provide technical assistance using the knowledge and skills of experienced health and allied professionals to mobilize communities and strengthen overburdened health systems. Learn about how we’ve grown and expanded through the years!

1992


The American International Health Alliance is established by a consortium of major healthcare provider associations and professional medical education organizations to help the nations of the former Soviet Union build much-needed health system capacity. Funded through a series of cooperative agreements with USAID, the first partnerships linking US hospitals with their counterparts in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan are formed.

1993


The hospital partnership program is expanded to Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Partnerships focus on broad issues such as infection control, nursing, women’s health, neonatal resuscitation, and emergency medicine, as well as hospital finance and administration and specific topics targeted by each institution.

1994


Building on its early programmatic successes, the partnership model is introduced in Moldova and Tajikistan. The first Central European partnerships are formed in Croatia and Estonia, while more are added in countries in the former Soviet Union.

1995


While hospital partnerships continue to be formed in countries such as Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine, AIHA’s first Healthy Communities partnerships are established to focus on specific health and wellness issues ranging from substance abuse and intimate partner violence to smoking cessation and cardiovascular disease.

1996


Bosnia-Herzegovina joins AIHA’s expanding network of partnership countries and more Healthy Communities partnerships are established in Central Europe. AIHA’s first Health Management Education partnerships are established in the Czech Republic, Romania, and Slovakia.

1998


AIHA enters into a second series of cooperative agreements with USAID and begins establishing the first of nearly 30 partnerships designed to create community-based primary healthcare centers. Some of these partnerships also decide to establish Women’s Wellness Centers to provide comprehensive clinical services and primary prevention programs to women of all ages.

2000


In response to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region, AIHA launches a pilot program to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Odessa, Ukraine, one of the hardest-hit cities in all of Europe. AIHA launches the EurasiaHealth Knowledge Network to improve access to timely, evidence-based clinical research and resources in Russian and other regional languages.

2001


AIHA establishes its first intra-regional partnership, linking former partners in Bucharest, Romania, with the Institute of Public Health in Tirana, Albania.

2002


AIHA celebrates 10 years of partnership programs. Through a grant from the Library of Congress, AIHA establishes its Open World/Community Leadership Development Program. AIHA joins forces with March of Dimes to help prevent birth defects in Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe.

2003


AIHA continues expanding its partnership programs, particularly in the fields of primary healthcare and health professions education while at the same time creating new initiatives to improve breast health in the region with funding from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The Southern Ukraine AIDS Education Center opens in Odessa, Ukraine, to provide training based on AIHA’s highly effective PMTCT model. AIHA launches the USAID-funded “Strengthening Tuberculosis Control in Moldova” project and the year is rounded out by the announcement that AIHA will be the primary implementing partner of a WHO/GTZ project to establish the Regional Knowledge Hub for the Care and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in Eurasia.

2004


The Kyiv-based Regional Knowledge Hub for the Care and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in Eurasia officially opens its doors to provide skills-based training to clinicians and other caregivers in Ukraine and other nations in the region. AIHA co-sponsors an HIV/AIDS stigma conference in Zagreb, Croatia, and launches four new HIV/AIDS care and treatment partnerships in Russia. In Central Asia, region-wide projects in medical education, nursing education, and community-oriented primary care commence, as does a primary care and health management project in Turkmenistan. In Romania, the Radiology Quality Improvement Program is launched to improve breast cancer screening and diagnostics. AIHA is awarded a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration to establish an HIV/AIDS Twinning Center in support of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

2005


AIHA continues to expand its work in HIV/AIDS, TB, health professions education, and community-oriented primary care in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Africa, opening its first Twinning Center field office in Pretoria, South Africa. With USAID support, AIHA launches a project to scale up PMTCT services in Ukraine, while its women’s health project with Doctors of the World in Kosovo comes to a close.

2006


With more than 125 partnerships established and dozens of successful capacity-building programs in nearly 30 countries, AIHA’s programs and initiatives remain at the vanguard of healthcare reform efforts in developing and transitioning nations around the world. In cooperation with USAID, the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development, and the St. Petersburg Medical Academy for Post Graduate Studies, AIHA opens the St. Petersburg AIDS Training and Education Center. Operations in the Central Asia region conclude while new programs in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Moldova, and Zambia are launched. AIHA opens country offices in Ethiopia and Tanzania to manage its growing HIV/AIDS Twinning Center partnerships in both countries. The Volunteer Healthcare Corps, a component of the Twinning Center, begins placing clinicians and other skilled professionals in long-term volunteer assignments in Ethiopia.

2007


AIHA joins forces with the Russian Red Cross to implement a pilot training program designed to improve reproductive health services for women inmates of three prison settlements in Irkutsk Oblast. Also in Russia, two public-private partnerships are established: the Volga River AIDS Alliance in cooperation with AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Russia Professional Development in HIV Medicine Program in cooperation with GlaxoSmithKline. With funding from USAID, AIHA kicks off the Strategic Health Partnership Initiative in cooperation with Russia’s Ministry of Health and Social Development. This innovative three-year program expands on the 2005 Bratislava Initiatives, a joint Russian-American presidential agreement designed to strengthen cooperation on a number of cross-cutting issues, including the global fight against HIV/AIDS. A new health management education program is launched in Georgia, while our highly successful TB control project in Moldova and PMTCT scale up project in Ukraine come to a close. New Twinning Center partnerships are established in Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia, and the program is also expanded to include Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Namibia. The Volunteer Healthcare Corps places its first volunteers in Tanzania and begins recruiting for opportunities in South Africa.

2008


AIHA’s HIV/AIDS Twinning Center launches its first “triangle” partnership, linking schools of social work in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and the United States to improve care and support to orphans and vulnerable children by building institutional and human resource capacity and developing a para social worker training program for community-based caregivers. AIHA establishes a country office in Mozambique to support partnership activities there. Nigeria joins the Twinning Center’s network of partnership countries, while 10-year USAID cooperative agreements for health partnership programs in the Caucasus and Russia, as well as NIS region-wide support programs, come to a close. USAID’s Preventing HIV and Hepatitis B and C in Moldova Project, for which AIHA managed the blood safety component, also concludes. In Russia, AIHA joins forces with St. Petersburg City AIDS Center, Pavlov State Medical University, the Republican Infectious Disease Hospital at Ust-Izhora, and other strategic partners to establish the Baltic AIDS Training and Education Center. This new center is an affiliate of the Regional Knowledge Hub for the Care and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in Eurasia, which relocates this year from Kyiv to Moscow.

2009


AIHA’s HIV/AIDS Twinning Center is awarded a second cooperative agreement from HRSA, ensuring funding for the program through 2014. AIHA establishes a small country office in Enugu, Nigeria, to support partnership activities in the West African nation. With USAID support, AIHA launches a new 3-year project to improve maternal and child health in Kosovo. Working closely with Russia’s Ministry of Health and Social Development and USAID/Russia, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the ministries of health in Botswana, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, AIHA places nine Russian lab experts through the Strategic Health Partnership Initiative. These long-term mentorships are designed to build targeted laboratory and human resource capacity in the three African nations. The Twinning Center hosts a strategic planning meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for partners focusing on improving care to orphans and families made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS by providing social work training to community-based caregivers. In addition, the Twinning Center launches a new partnership, linking Addis Ababa University School of Medicine and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to strengthen emergency medical services in Ethiopia. The Volunteer Healthcare Corps expands, now offering skilled professionals long-term volunteer opportunities in Botswana and Mozambique, as well as the original focus countries of Ethiopia, South Africa, and Tanzania. The Regional Knowledge Hub and its affiliates celebrate training more than 5,000 clinicians and other caregivers in the provision of high quality HIV treatment and support.

2010


AIHA’s HIV/AIDS Twinning Center establishes two new university-to-university partnerships to help expand Clinical Associates Programs in South Africa. In February, AIHA hosts country meetings for its partners in Ethiopia and Zambia to share experiences and plan for future collaboration. Russian SHPI mentors placed at the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute facilitate development and initial trials of a locally produced rabies vaccine in line with international standards. The Russian experts also prepare draft legislation in support of the Ministry of Health’s efforts to more effectively address this serious public health problem through implementation of a national rabies control program. Also in Ethiopia, partners from Addis Ababa University Faculty of Medicine and the University of Wisconsin-Madison open the first Emergency Medicine Training Center at Black Lion Hospital and commence training healthcare practitioners, medical students, and other first responders. AIHA partners in the Russian Federation conduct a series of clinical trainings designed to improve care and treatment services available to people living with HIV thanks to ongoing capacity-building programs supported by USAID and PEPFAR, as well as through a public-private partnership with ViiV Healthcare. A new country office is established in Lusaka to support Twinning Center partnerships in Zambia. AIHA and Twinning Center programs are showcased at the AIDS 2010 Conference in Vienna, Austria, and at the Ryan White Care Act Grantee Meeting in Washington, DC. In collaboration with the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) and St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing, Twinning Center partners at the Mozambican National Nurses Association launch the first of three Nursing Leadership Institutes planned for the coming year. The intensive program is designed to bolster capacity of nursing as a profession in Mozambique. AIHA is awarded a follow-on cooperative agreement from USAID/Russia to continue its highly successful Strategic Health Partnership Initiative while Twinning Center partnerships in Cote d’Ivoire graduated from the program. In Kosovo, AIHA continues to expand its USAID-funded project to improve maternal and child health.

2011


AIHA adds a third Clinical Associates partnership to its Twinning Center portfolio in South Africa and begins fostering targeted collaboration among all three alliances to better support this emerging mid-level health profession. A series of country meetings are conducted to provide Twinning Center partners with an opportunity to learn about local programs, activities, and accomplishments, as well as plan for future cross-partnership collaboration. AIHA welcomes Kelly Wolfe to its headquarters staff as Director of the HIV/AIDS Twinning Center. Johannesburg, South Africa, is the venue for an exciting meeting that brought together more than 100 Twinning Center partners from eight African nations and the US whose focus is one health and social service professions education. AIHA ramps up evidence-based medicine programming among Twinning Center partners through its dynamic Learning Resource Center (LRC) Project. US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visits Twinning Center partners at Muhimbili University in Dar es Salaam, where she learns what AIHA’s Tanzania Nursing Initiative is doing to strengthen the nursing profession through curriculum and faculty development, institutional capacity building – particularly in the area of evidence-based resources and clinical skills building, advocacy, and association strengthening. AIHA’s Russian programs are showcased at a series of high-level events, including the MDG-6 Forum in Moscow. Activities and accomplishments, as well as a host of new clinical training materials developed through the Strategic Health Partnership Initiative and the public-private partnership with ViiV Healthcare, were highlighted. The Council on Social Work Education honors AIHA with its “Partners in Advancing Education for International Social Work (PIE)” award in recognition of our achievements in international social work, particularly in Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kazakhstan. AIHA participates in the 2011 Caribbean AIDS Conference with an eye toward expanding Twinning Center programming to the region. AIHA plays an important role in ICASA 2011 – held in December in Addis Ababa – with staff serving on the organizing committee and VHC volunteers fielded in key leadership positions. Several abstracts submitted by partners were part of the ICASA program and AIHA shared information with some 7,000 participants at a booth in the exhibition hall, as well as through a satellite titled “Institutional Twinning Partnerships as a Mechanism for Health Systems Strengthening and Sustainable Development of Human Resources for Health” that was conducted jointly with ESTHER France.

2012


AIHA celebrates its 20th year of health systems strengthening through volunteer-driven twinning partnerships and initiatives! The year also marks the graduation of several partnerships from the HIV/AIDS Twinning Center’s technical assistance program, including highly successful alliances in Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Russia. AIHA launches an exciting new Twinning Center partnership focusing on biomedical engineering in Ethiopia and expands into the Caribbean Region with the creation of a partnership that is working to establish an infectious disease fellowship program at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. The model Para Social Worker Training Program developed by Twinning Center partners in Tanzania is showcased during several meetings and workshops for organizations that provide OVC care and support. AIHA participates in the 2012 International AIDS Society Conference in Washington, DC. Several partnerships are showcased during poster sessions at the event, which was attended by more than 25,000 people. AIHA distributes materials and hosts two “Books at the Booth” events featuring the editors of key HIV/AIDS textbooks. In conjunction with ESTHER France, AIHA also hosts a satellite session on twinning where both organizations highlight successful examples of capacity-building partnerships. AIHA celebrates the award of a new CDC-funded blood safety project that will provide technical support to selected countries in Asia and Eastern Europe. Sadly, AIHA receives notice of the closure of all USAID-supported activities in the Russian Federation and ceases its operations in the country at the end of the year.

2013


AIHA’s new CDC-funded blood safety project kicks off in earnest with a series of assessments and other capacity building activities in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Cambodia. Through the HIV/AIDS Twinning Center, AIHA launches two new partnerships in Ethiopia – one focusing on training biomedical engineers and technologists and one working to establish an obstetrics and gynecology residency program. A third partnership is later established in South Africa to strengthen a training program for mid-level pharmacy technicians. AIHA partners with Save the Children on two new social welfare workforce strengthening projects funded by USAID in Nigeria and Zambia, applying our highly successful Para Social Worker training model to local efforts to provide care and support to orphans and vulnerable children in both countries. As of December 2013, AIHA’s development portfolio includes more than 170 partnerships established in 35 countries, including 51 through the HIV/AIDS Twinning Center. Through these programs, AIHA manages $301 million in USG grants and awards, accompanied by $274 million in in-kind contributions by our US twinning partners since 1992. AIHA’s Volunteer Healthcare Corps (VHC) continues to be an important mechanism for placing skilled professionals in long-term placements in targeted PEPFAR countries. To date, AIHA has placed 105 long term volunteers in five African countries. These skilled professionals have contributed more than 24,500 days to strengthen health system capacity in their host countries.

2014


HRSA awards AIHA a new 5-Year cooperative agreement for the HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, allowing us to expand our current activities in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean Region to support PEPFAR’s strategic vision to create an AIDS-free generation. AIHA manages a total of 41 partnerships through the Twinning Center Program and our partner institutions overseas graduate more than 5,200 individuals from pre-service training programs, along with another 4,900 from in-service programs. AIHA collaborates with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to pilot the use of low-cost tablet devices to advance nursing education, setting the stage for a nationwide roll out. AIHA and the Tanzanian Association of Social Workers continue ongoing efforts to pass a Social Work Act that will lead to the establishment of a national Social Work Council. AIHA’s CDC-supported blood safety project continues providing technical assistance in Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine, with a focus on quality improvement, management, financial systems and costing, and donor systems. AIHA launches activities in Tajikistan through the CDC project and AIHA secures World Bank funding through Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Health to initiate blood safety trainings there. Building on our highly successful Emergency Medicine Training Center model piloted in Eurasia and successfully adapted to the Ethiopian context in 2010, AIHA spearheads a collaboration between the African Federation of Emergency Medicine and  the Zambia Defense Forces School of Health Sciences to adapt and implement an emergency medicine curriculum tailored to the local context, with a particular focus on HIV-related complications and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV during obstetric emergencies. Through AIHA’s longstanding laboratory quality improvement partnership with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Temeke Hospital Laboratory in Dar es Salaam becomes the first lab in the country to earn a 3-Star rating on WHO /Africa’s SLIPTA scale; three other regional labs participating in the project earn a 1-star rating. AIHA supports a total of 23 skilled volunteers placed through our Volunteer Healthcare Corps. These highly qualified professionals collectively contributed 2,245 days of in-kind time to building healthcare capacity in their host countries of Ethiopia, South Africa, and Zambia. Since inception, AIHA has managed more than $320 million in awards, coupled with over $285 million in in-kind contributions of professional time and material resources donated by our U.S. partners.

2015


2015 marks a year of transition for AIHA as we celebrate the February retirement of our founding Executive Director, James P. Smith, and welcome on board our new President & CEO, David Greeley. Responding rapidly to newly emerging PEPFAR 3.0 priorities, AIHA increases funding for the HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program by nearly 50 percent. Through the Twinning Center, AIHA and our partners provided pre- and in-service training to more than 50,000 health and allied caregivers over the past decade. Armed with new or expanded skills, these healthcare professionals are contributing to efforts to combat HIV and ensure access to care for all! AIHA celebrates a new partnership with Chemonics, the prime of USAID’s global HRH 2030, as well as new DREAMS funding to strengthen HIV prevention, care, and support services for girls and young women in Western Kenya. AIHA successfully concluded a year-long contract with the Kazakh Ministry of Health and Social Development to strengthen blood safety under the Health Sector Technology Transfer and Institutional Reform Project funded by the World Bank. Over the course of the year, AIHA staff and partners showcase the impact twinning has made, making 34 presentations at international conferences, as well as authoring two articles published in professional journals and two book chapters. The organization also made a strong showing at ICASA 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe, where partners and staff made five poster presentations on topics ranging from telemedicine to the role of clinical associates in the provision of quality VMMC services.

2016


AIHA started the year off strong, launching two new biomedical engineering an technology partnerships to strengthen local capacity to train this critical allied health cadre in Uganda and Kenya, and expanding our existing biomedical partnership in Ethiopia. Managed through our HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, these projects — coupled with new partnerships focusing on improving access to care and treatment for key populations in Zambia, adolescent disclosure of HIV status in Mozambique, and injection safety in Cambodia — represent a new era of growth and expansion for this HRSA-funded program. AIHA’s DREAMS Initiative project in Western Kenya expanded greatly during the year, engaging 21,848 community members in gender norms sensitization activities and 13,394 girls between the ages of 10-14 in Safe Space activities to date, as well as referring 8,848 girls to medical care (including HIV counseling and testing) and providing education subsidies and support to 4,442 girls in need. AIHA staff and partners showcased their work, making more than 20 presentations at national, regional, and international conferences and events throughout the year, including four at the AIDS 2016 Conference in Durban, South Africa. Other notable accomplishments include graduation of the first cohort from St. Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College’s new ob/gyn residency program in Ethiopia; publication of “The Southern African Pharmacy Technician Training Manual” by our partners at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Department of Pharmacy and St. Louis College of Pharmacy; and improved access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment in underserved communities in Tanzania through targeted training of nurses and social welfare workers in support of task-sharing. Through AIHA’s CDC-funded blood safety project, national guidelines on clinical use of blood were developed and approved by Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Health; Tajikistan subsequently approved these guidelines and they are currently being reviewed for adoption in Ukraine. As a result AIHA’s ongoing work on quality management systems under the blood safety project, our partners at all project sites in Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine conducted self-assessments of blood services and developed quality plans for improvement that mark a critical step toward international accreditation.