The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center hosted a discussion entitled, “Health in South Asia – Leaping into the Future or Stuck in the Mud,” with Lois Quam, executive director, Global Health Initiative, US Department of State; and Robert Clay, deputy assistant administrator at the Bureau for Global Health, USAID.

Robert Clay’s PowerPoint (PDF)

Countries in South Asia, with growing populations and limited resources, continue to face significant challenges in providing equitable health services to their citizens. However, innovative ideas and new partnerships, for example, between the public and private sectors, are creating opportunities for scalable and sustainable healthcare delivery. This discussion focused on the role of the US Government in addressing healthcare challenges in South Asia, including an overview of US foreign aid, the changing nature of the relationship with countries, as well as future challenges and opportunities.

A discussion with

Lois Quam
Executive Director, Global Health Initiative
US Department of State

Robert M. Clay
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Global Health
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Moderated by

Shuja Nawaz
Director, South Asia Center
Atlantic Council

Ms. Lois Quam serves as executive director of the Global Health Initiative (GHI). President Obama created GHI to help countries save lives today, and strengthen health systems to save more lives and build stronger nations tomorrow. Ms. Quam’s strong commitment to public service coupled with an extensive management background has guided her work overseeing  interagency efforts to advance GHI’s mission across the globe.

Ms. Quam previously chaired the Minnesota Health Care Access Commission, and served as a senior advisor to First Lady Hillary Clinton’s task force on health care reform. In the private sector, Ms. Quam has held key management positions at UnitedHealth Group and at Piper Jaffray, a leading international Minneapolis-based investment bank. She also created and chaired Tysvar, LLC, a Minnesota-based New Green Economy (NGE) and health care reform incubator dedicated to universal health care and bringing scale to the NGE.

She also served as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and previously served on the Board of Trustees for the George C. Marshall Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation. Named in 2006 by Fortune magazine as one of America’s “50 Most Powerful Women,” Ms. Quam graduated magna cum laude from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.  As a Rhodes Scholar, Ms. Quam earned a master’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics at the University of Oxford in England.

Mr. Robert Clay is a senior foreign service officer with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  He is currently the deputy assistant administrator (DAA)in the Bureau for Global Health. Prior to serving as Deputy DAA, Mr. Clay was director of the Office of HIV/AIDS within the Bureau for Global Health, responsible for leading the agency’s implementation of HIV/AIDS programs under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.  

Prior to returning to Washington, Mr. Clay was director of the Population, Health and Nutrition (PHN) Office at USAID/India. His area of responsibilities included HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, reproductive health, tuberculosis, polio, urban health, nutrition, health systems development, health communication, health research, and monitoring and evaluation.

Mr. Clay also served as the director of the PHN Office in Zambia from 1998-2003, where he oversaw the growth of the program and led the development of one of the first multi-sectoral HIV/AIDS programs at the Agency, which involved all US government partners in Zambia.  

Robert Clay’s twenty-eight years of experience with USAID began in 1983, when he assumed the principal responsibility for expanding USAID’s efforts to increase the use of oral rehydration therapy worldwide.  Since then, he has held several different positions at the agency, including chief of the Health Services Division of the Bureau for Research and Development, and deputy director of the Office of Health and Nutrition in the Global Bureau at USAID headquarters.  

Prior to joining USAID, Mr. Clay worked for the American Public Health Association in Washington.