By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef - since 2001 the director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) and best known to the public as its official spokesman on the condition, four years ago, of then prime minister and stroke victim Ariel Sharon - intends to resign this week from his prestigious position, The Jerusalem Post has learned from reliable sources connected to Hadassah.
The 58-year-old gynecologist who became a leading medical administrator and chairman of the National Institute for Health Policy Research was due to speak Thursday morning at a routine meeting of Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America's board of directors in New York. These HWZOA meetings are held every three months, alternating between Jerusalem and New York.
Called by the Post on Wednesday, Mor-Yosef declined to comment, but said he would "update" his chief of public affairs after the meeting, for which a few other HMO administrators flew to the US.
The soft-spoken Mor-Yosef had been under pressure to remain in his job until the opening of the massive hospitalization tower in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem that in 2012 is to be dedicated to mark the 100th anniversary of the women's organization. But he has reportedly been unhappy in his post for years, especially after the financial crisis faced by HMO due to losses to donors and Hadassah in the wake of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scam. Mor-Yosef contemplated leaving the HMO and running for mayor of Jerusalem 18 months ago but backed off when Nir Barkat's campaign gained steam.
A graduate of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem in 1980, he competed his specialization in obstetrics and gynecology at Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem seven years later. He subsequently specialized in the field at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in England and returned to Hadassah to practice, with a focus on cervical cancer.
He became deputy director of the Ein Kerem hospital in 1990 and then switched to medical management, completing his studies at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government where he received his master's degree in public administration. In 1994, he became HMO's deputy director-general, then director of the Ein Kerem hospital and for three years director-general of Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba before returning to work in Jerusalem as the head of HMO.
In recent years, he has been a vocal advocate of the growth of Israeli medical tourism by foreigners and biotech research and development, especially to boost HMO income that has declined due to reduced funding by HWZOA. A likable man with few if any opponents and a skilled administrator, Mor-Yosef is married to Dina, with four adult children plus grandchildren. If he does resign Thursday, the doctor who would fill the powerful position would have to be approved by HWZOA in New York.
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