An international Health Advisory Committee, composed of leading figures in health care policy and health services research from the United States and Europe, was established in 1986 to advise the Smokler Center for Health Policy Research. The Committee facilitates the exchange of ideas and experience between the US and Israeli health care systems, including annual meetings in Jerusalem and New York, and works closely with Smokler Center staff to provide advice and guidance on maximizing the quality and impact of the research.
This year, the annual health committee visit was timed to coincide with the Jerusalem International Health Policy Conference to allow Committee members and MJB research staff to participate in the conference together. Each day, each committee member was paired with a different MJB researcher, and together they attended conference sessions, discussed the presentations at those sessions, and networked with others at the conference from Israel or abroad.
Four committee members participated in this year's visit:
• Gary Freed, a pediatric health services researcher from the University of Michigan and the University of Melbourne (committee chair)
• Raphael Wittenberg, a health economist specializing in long-term care, from the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford
• Fiona Sim, chair of the UK's Royal Society of Public Health and editor of the journal, Public Health
• Bruce Landon, professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and a professor of medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
In addition to participating in the conference, each committee member also participated in smaller meetings geared to their areas of expertise:
Bruce Landon gave a master class on strategies for influencing physician behavior. He also provided a consultation to senior Ministry of Health officials who are developing a program to encourage physicians to commit to working full-time in the public sector.
Fiona Sim gave a lecture about how a wide range of professionals (from hairdressers to police officers to health services researchers) can contribute to societal efforts to communicate public health messages to the general public.
Raphael Wittenberg gave a talk on the research-policy interface in the UK, and met with a leading Israeli expert on long-term financing regarding the evolving plans to reform that sector in Israel.
Gary Freed met with individual MJB staff members to coach them on their presentations at the international conference.
Overall, the visit was very productive for all involved, and left all participants eager to spend more time together in future visits.