Safed, Israel -
Improving public health and fighting childhood obesity in Northern Israel is the mission of Dr. Mary Rudolf, head of Public Health at the Bar-Ilan University Medical School in Safed. A world-renowned expert in ways to combat child-obesity, Dr. Rudolf oversees a project to cultivate a new generation of caring physicians who will serve economically disadvantaged and underserved patients in the Galilee for decades to come.
Dr. Mary Rudolf
“We need to turn out a new style doctor who has an approach not just limited to patients, but taking a wider population approach and attracting more doctors to the Galilee,” says Rudolf.
Fostering a Grassroots Approach
Recruited to BIU’s Medical School last November, Dr. Rudolf says her medical experiences in England, America and the Middle East in fostering a “grassroots” approach will benefit those directly working in disadvantaged communities.
Galilee residents are now benefitting from her community outreach activities, which include educating parents about proper nutrition for their children. She says, “It’s Zionism in the oldest use of the term. It’s going to build up an underprivileged part of the country not well served by health services…Just like Ben Gurion talked about the desert blooming, this will make the Galil bloom.”
She says her objective is not to “study” the community, but rather to work and improve their lives together with them. Rudolf is a deep believer in direct contact between medical school students and patients and allowing them to “submerge” into the community.
Cultivating a Healthier Lifestyle for the Entire Family
An initiative that reflects this belief is HENRY Project (Health, Exercise and Nutrition for the Really Young). This project, which she founded in the UK, is now a national organization based in Oxford. “We train community and health professionals to work more effectively with parents to change the home environment to cultivate a healthier lifestyle for the entire family and children in particular,” she says.
Rudolf came to the BIU Medical School because of its commitment to not only provide a top-rated academic education to its students, but also to cultivate and promote social and cultural integration in the northern periphery of Israel. “In the very first semester of their studies, our students are introduced to the local community; to all its ethnicities and cultures…we also make it a point for them to meet people with disabilities of all ranges.”
She was attracted to join Israel’s first new medical school in nearly 40 years because “the social and humane aspects are an integral part of the curriculum. “Benchmarks will measure the impact of the Medical School over time,” she says, “but it is clear that something great is going on here.”
To learn more about the Dr Rudolf’s programs, or to support her initiatives,
call Howard Charish at 212-906-3900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org