Israel trip day 13 - 23 December

Well, this is it - our final day in Israel. We met as a group first thing in the morning to debrief the trip on a number of levels: content, culture and logistics. The comments from everyone in the group were so helpful as we begin the work of planning the next study tour to Israel. The one thing that we must do is thoroughly brief the participants about the US healthcare system if we expect everyone to be on the same page when comparing  the US system with any other. We also need to make sure that the students arrive in country first thing in the morning and then give them that day to rest and prepare for subsequent activities.

I want to be sure to thank Orly Manor, Director of the Braun School of Public Health at Hebrew University for making herself and her faculty available to us at every turn. All of the Braun School faculty are truly wonderful and dedicated teachers and scholars. Dr. David Chinitz is truly a mensch. His vision and energy gave us access to the breadth and depth of the Israeli health care system in a way I could have never imagined. He is also a passionate and inspiring teacher and is someone who I look forward to working with long into the future.  Thanks to Vardit Luzon who worked so hard to put together a travel package that came in under budget while at the same time meeting and exceeding all of my expectations.  Thanks to Nathan our guide whose encyclopedic knowledge of Israel was something to behold. Thanks as well to Sami whose skill at maneuvering our bus through impossibly crowded and busy streets was nothing short of magical.  Thanks to Laura Ochs at the George Washington University International Studies Office for all of her efforts to keep me calm and focused during the planning of the trip.  Thank you to Bob Burke, Chairman of the Department of Health Services Management and Leadership and Lynn Goldman, Dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services for your trust, confidence and commitment.

Special thanks and appreciation must go to Arthur Shorr. Three years ago, Arthur had a vision to bring a group of students to Israel and provide them with an opportunity to learn about the way health care is delivered in this very special nation. He remained persistent and focused throughout. I am glad that we gave him a chance to upgrade his Hebrew since he was speaking it like a native at the end. Arthur is an inspiration to me and I am so grateful he was here with us.

Finally, thanks to Teke, Vincent, Karen, Bijay, Morgane, Jeremy and LeMia - our students for whom this trip was intended and who were always fully engaged and energized even when it seemed like the days would never end.  The seven of you are truly wonderful and special people and without you, none of this would have happened.  Thanks to the seven of you for helping me to learn more.

So, on this early Saturday morning 24 December, let me wish all of you Shabat shalom and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2012.