Health Incident Response Task Force
In 2016, United States Government personnel in Cuba began reporting a variety of symptoms, some of which were associated with an unusual auditory or sensory event. These incidents are referred to as Anomalous Health Incidents (AHI) across the interagency.
Since its creation in 2018, the Health Incident Response Task Force (HIRTF) has served as the coordinating body for the Department and interagency’s response to anomalous health incidents for personnel and dependents under Chief of Mission security responsibility, including the identification and treatment of affected personnel and eligible family members; investigation and risk mitigation; messaging; and diplomatic outreach.
- CARE for all U.S. personnel and dependents under Chief of Mission security responsibility;
- STRENGTHEN mitigation and preventative measures; and
- DEEPEN coordination and cooperation with the interagency community.
Reporting to the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, HIRTF is a network task force led by Coordinator Ambassador Jonathan Moore and comprised of Ambassador Margaret Uyehara Senior Care Coordinator, and members from the Bureau of Medical Services (MED), the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), the Bureau of Global Talent Management (GTM), the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR); and the Office of the Legal Adviser (L).
Remarks & Releases
The issue of Anomalous Health Incidents (AHI) – including the interagency effort to protect and care for our personnel and uncover the cause of these incidents – is an absolute priority for the Department, including its most senior leaders.
On August 15, 2022, the Department began accepting requests for one-time, lump-sum payment under the HAVANA Act of 2021.
State Department employees, former employees, and family members who would like more information about requesting a payment under the HAVANA Act should contact: HAprocessing@state.gov.
The HAVANA Act of 2021 gives the Department expanded authority to support Department employees and their families who have experienced a potential anomalous health incident (AHI) and meet the criteria established by the law.
The State Department has worked closely with the National Security Council (NSC) staff of the White House, and other federal agencies to draft a rule that meets Congress’ intent, complies with existing law, and will allow us to better support those affected by possible AHI. Drafting the rule has been an intensive interagency consultative process, coordinated by the NSC staff and the Office of Management and Budget. Each federal agency must implement its own federal rule – the Department’s rule applies only to the State Department. We have worked very hard to develop regulations that are consistent with those of our interagency partners and to ensure equitable treatment across agencies.
The Secretary’s top priority is the health, safety, and security of the Department’s personnel and family members. The Department is doing everything possible to ensure that employees and family members who report an AHI receive immediate and appropriate attention and care, whether or not they meet the criteria for a HAVANA Act payment. The Department will continue its efforts to both care for individuals affected by possible AHI and, in coordination with our interagency partners, investigate the cause behind these reported injuries.