In February 2016, I took over as the Director of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine after three and a half years that the School was under the able leadership of Prof. Yehuda Neumark. During his tenure, the Braun School was awarded full accreditation by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA) for the maximum six-year period extending to July, 2021. Alongside this institutional accreditation, our two MPH programs – in English for international students (with over 850 graduates from 92 countries worldwide) and in Hebrew for Israeli students (with some 1200 local graduates) - received APHEA Curriculum Validation. This accreditation firmly places our School as a leader and innovator in Public Health education on the world stage and confirms that our students receive the highest standard of training.
Our mission continues to be to improve the health and welfare of the global community through research and training. We have traditionally directed our efforts to strengthening the global and local public health workforce through our many well-established as well as our newer training programs. Our curricula promote interdisciplinary approaches to public health and prepare the next generation of researchers, practitioners and teachers to identify, quantify and effectively address complex public health challenges at the clinic, village, city, region, country, and global levels.
The innovative, newly-established Master of Veterinary Public Health (MVPH) program has attracted dedicated and committed veterinarians who recognize that “One Health” is not just a slogan but reflects the fact that humans and animals share one ecosystem and that collaboration among disciplines in Public Health can serve to protect and save lives. This joint program of the Braun School and Hebrew University's Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Nutritional Sciences and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Management in the Faculty of Agriculture provides veterinarians with tools and knowledge in healthcare economics, statistics and epidemiology, food safety and prevention of diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Speaking of ecosystems, the School has also initiated an Environmental Health Specialization within our Hebrew-language MPH program. Other recent accomplishments include the approval of the MD-PhD track that will allow motivated and excellent medical students to complete a PhD degree during their medical studies.
This is the third year that we have implemented our one-day-a-week master-degree curriculum for Israeli students. This shift has enabled the smooth functioning of the MVPH and MHA program (which take place on two campuses) and has continued to generate interest among students in our Hebrew-language MPH and MSc in Clinical Epidemiology programs.
We have been blessed with the addition of two new faculty members- Dr. Shai Carmi, a gifted researcher in computational genetics and Dr. Raanan Raz who has made a significant mark environmental epidemiology especially in the field of air pollution and autism. We can already feel their contribution to the School’s academic output and wish them great success!
In September 2016, we graduated our 41st International MPH class, with 21 students from 17 countries around the globe who joined the IMPH family. We continue to support and foster networking and lifelong learning among our international alumni. In February 2016, we held a conference and reunion of our West African alumni in Ile Ife, Nigeria, focusing on the transition from infectious to non-communicable diseases. The meeting was a great success and an opportunity to witness firsthand the accomplishments of our graduates in their home settings. Our School can bask in the accomplishments of our IMPH alumni from developing and transition countries of Africa, Asia, Oceania, Australia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe, as well as from North America and Western Europe. We are, as always, grateful to our sponsors for providing scholarships for students from low and low-middle income countries.
We are also extremely proud of our Israeli alumni, many of whom are key players in the Israeli health system, for their many accomplishments and dedication to public health. We were pleased to host them at a wonderful alumni meeting in Jerusalem in the fall of 2015, and hope to foster more outreach and ongoing activities with this impressive group.
The School remains involved in many interdisciplinary activities including the National Quality Indicators program in Community Healthcare (QICH), the Hebrew University Center of Excellence in Agriculture and Health, the Jerusalem Perinatal Study and many more. In the coming years we hope to focus our energies on digital health and on the health of the residents of Jerusalem, involving as many students as possible in these activities.
As the Festival of Spring and Freedom approaches I wish the Braun School family and all potential applicants good health, connectedness, and peace.
Prof. Ora Paltiel, MDCM, MSc, FRCPC
Head of School