Hadassah hospital 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prof. Ehud Kokia, a obstetrician and fertility specialist who has been
director-general of Maccabi Health Services – the second largest health fund –
for the last four years, will later this year become director- general of
Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO).
He will replace Prof.
Shlomo Mor-Yosef, also a obstetrics/gynecologist by training and long-time
medical administrator who has been head of the HMO for a decade and is two years
younger than Kokia, who is 61.
The decision by the joint Israeli and
American board of directors of the HMO, which is owned by the Hadassah Women’s
Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), was announced on Tuesday.
were no US finalist candidates for the powerful post, which is responsible not
only for the two Hadassah University Medical Centers in Jerusalem but also the
HMO’s affiliated schools (with Hebrew University) of medicine, nursing,
dentistry, public health and occupational therapy.
“I am moving from one
outstanding medical institution to another,” said Kokia, who lives in Yavneh. “I
feel the weight of historical responsibility in the leadership of HMO, which has
an international name and outstanding standards of excellence.
I aim to
help Hadassah continue to grow and develop [along the route] paved by my friend
and colleague, Shlomo Mor-Yosef.”
Mor-Yosef, who has not yet decided on
his next career move, praised his successor and said he is sure Kokia would help
the HMO will reach new heights.
Kokia, who in 2009 received his Tel Aviv
University professorship in public health, graduated from TAU’s Sackler Medical
Faculty with honors and has been a physician for 37 years. He trained in
obstetrics/ gynecology at Sheba Medical Center while he received his MA in
medical administration at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
as a senior officer in the IAF after studying aviation medicine with the US Navy
in Florida and was a researcher in endocrinology and fertility at the University
He worked as a senior ob/gyn at Sheba and has lectured on
fertility, endocrinology and health policy at TAU and BGU.
Birnbaum, the deputy director-general of HMO who was brought there by Mor-Yosef
after working five years as deputy medical director- general at Maccabi and was
succeeded by Kokia, said he was pleased by the highly qualified appointment. He
said the medical staff of HMO were very happy by the announcement on
The only published finalist for the job – Kokia’s name had not
been made public before Tuesday – was Prof. Tamar Peretz, a highly respected
cancer expert who heads HMO’s Sharett Institute of Oncology in Ein Kerem. She
campaigned hard for months to replace Mor-Yosef and even gave a long interview
to a Hebrew Jerusalem weekly on Friday that presented her as the leading
HMO board chairman Yossi Rosen said before a ceremony
launching the 100th anniversary year of HWZOA that Kokia “is the right person”
to head HMO.
“His personality and experience will make it possible for
Hadassah to continue to be a leading institution in Israel’s medical system and
renowned in the whole world.”
HWZOA president Nancy Falchuk, who is
completing her term in a few months, thanked the search committee for its six
months of efforts to find a successor to Mor-Yosef.
Both the incoming and
outgoing directors-general will be present next year at the opening of the huge
new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, where all inpatient facilities will
be concentrated on the Ein Kerem campus.
Falchuk will be replaced in the
summer by Marcie Natan as HWZOA president.
Prof. Yehoshua Shemer, acting
chairman of Maccabi Health Services and chairman of the board of Assuta private
hospitals said that Kokia – his successor at Maccabi – “has a gift of deep
understanding of processes in the health system, much integrity and the ability
to lead a large medical institution such as Hadassah.”
Ido Hadari, the
Maccabi spokesman, said he was happy for Kokia but sorry to lose him to
Hadassah, as he was an excellent director-general. A search committee will look
for a replacement as director-general during the next two or three
Kupat Holim Meuhedet, the third-largest health fund, is also
looking for a new director but in different circumstances – the resignation of
Shmuel Muallem following corruption and malfeasance charges against him by the
State Comptroller’s Office last year.