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Learning in Israel how to heal the world
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
02/06/2013
Public health leaders from 20 nations to attend Jerusalem training program to learn about cutting-edge research.
 
Seventy senior public health professionals from 20 countries who are devoted to promoting health and saving lives around the world will visit Israel next week.

The visitors will spend nine days learning about cutting-edge research while exchanging professional experiences, challenges and successes.

The participants are graduates of the one-year Hebrew University-Hadassah International Master of Public Health (IMPH) program. The graduate program is part of the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine at HU’s Faculty of Medicine.

The event is the second Pears IMPH Alumni Workshop and Reunion, sponsored by the Pears Foundation in the UK. Participants will hear from world-renowned public health experts such as Harvard’s Dr. Michelle Williams, to whom US President Barack Obama presented the Presidential Award for Excellence.

Since 1971, the one-year IMPH degree has been awarded to more than 750 graduates from 90 countries. Graduates have become leaders in their countries of origin and internationally, working to alleviate disease, end extreme poverty and promote health and development around the world. Students from poor countries are awarded scholarships by the Pears Foundation and other donor agencies.

“The Pears Foundation is a strategic partner in our IMPH program,” said Prof. Yehuda Neumark, Braun School director and former IMPH program director. “In providing support for IMPH scholarships and follow-up alumni activities, it aims to build a network of scholars in low-income regions of the world who benefit from academic expertise in Israel and transfer that expertise toward efforts to alleviate disease, end extreme poverty and promote health and development. Its support also helps strengthen relationships between Israel and Africa through building strong academic cooperation.”

Current students and the visiting alumni come from Albania, Cameroon, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Mali, Macedonia, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, the Palestinian Authority, the Philippines, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey and Uganda, among others.

Graduates of the program include leading health professionals such as Prof. Cui Fuqiang, a widely published research scientist serving as deputy director of China’s National Immunization Program and director of the Hepatitis Division of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. After graduating the IMPH program nine years ago, he moved to Beijing to join China CDC, was granted more than $3 million in research support, and recently received his doctorate from the University of Basel.

“I will never forget the IMPH program’s courses in epidemiology and community- oriented primary care. I learned so much that helped me develop my research model when I returned to China,” he said recently, adding that the program “gave me both epidemiology skills and the self-confidence to pursue my career.”

Another IMPH graduate is Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, ambassador and deputy permanent representative of the Kenyan mission to the UN, who has played a leading role in women’s organizations, UNICEF and public health NGOs in areas such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
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