Seventy senior public health professionals working to promote health and save lives around the world will visit Israel this 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 Hebrew University-Hadassah International Master of Public Health (IMPH) program. The one-year graduate program is part of the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine.
The event is the second Pears IMPH Alumni Workshop and Reunion, sponsored by the Pears Foundation (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 low-income countries are awarded scholarships by the Pears Foundation and other donor agencies.
“The Pears Foundation is a strategic partner in our IMPH program,” said Braun School Director and former IMPH program Director Prof. Yehuda Neumark. “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 towards 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 hail from Albania, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Mali, Macedonia, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestinian Authority, 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 in 2004, he moved to Beijing to join China CDC, was granted over $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 Amb. Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, ambassador and deputy permanent representative of the Kenya Mission to the United Nations. Dr. Ojiambo has played a leading role in women’s organizations, UNICEF and public health NGOs, in areas such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
The event will include representatives of the Africa Population & Health Research Center (Kenya), Association of Schools of Public Health – European Region, Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA), Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV-Israel Center for International Cooperation, University of Toronto, and World Health Organization (Geneva).