Israel trip day 3 - 13 December

Another terrific day here in Jerusalem. We started at Hadassah Ein Kerem University Hospital where we arrived a bit early and got to spend some time with the Chagall windows. There was a wonderful narration explaining each of the 12 windows located in the on-hospital synagogue. They absolutely took my breath away. We then moved to the board room where we met Dr. Yuval Weiss, Director of the hospital. Hadassah Hospital was founded in1912 by three American women who were focused on Public Health and women's and children's health issues. Their current building was constructed in 1971 and many of the current med/surg beds will move into their new wing in March 2012. Hadassah serves five roles as a community hospital, tertiary hospital, university teaching hospital, military hospital and research center. Their Ein Karen campus has 775 beds while the Mt. Scopus campus has 320 beds. Their funding was particularly interesting. Revenue from patient care pays for general operations while building, equipment and all research is funded by fundraising and development.

We were taken on a tour of the hospital where we got to see their  new pediatric children's wing. A particularly interesting attribute is that the waiting area and play area can quickly be transformed into an emergency room complete with oxygen, air and suction. Our visit to the Emergency Room showed us a facility that was fully equipped to withstand a direct attach from a chemical, nuclear or biological weapon. This was truly an amazing organization whose existence is due in large part to the generosity of persons around the world.

The morning class took place in the Braun School of Public Health and was conducted by David Chinitz, Professor of Health Policy.  His lecture compared and contrasted the characteristics of the US health care system with those in Europe and Israel from 1990-2010.  Among the many distinctions between these systems of financing and delivery of care, one stood out for me. Dr. Chinitz talked about the theme of social solidarity being a critical attribute in the European and Israeli systems. Social solidarity is about the willingness of a society to consciously do for one another and that the role of government is to assure a basic level of services for everyone even if it means that those more well off have to provide a little bit more. A more complete reference can be found in the Summer 2010 issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.

Our day ended at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial.  While similar to the US Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC Yad Vashem is a required stop for all dignitaries visiting Israel. I was moved beyond words and continue to wonder there are so many people who want to continue the work the Hitler and the Third Reich started. I could have spent the entire day going from one exhibit to the next.