We are pleased to announce the formation of The Research and Policy Initiative for Environment and Health – a joint initiative of the Taub Center and the Forum for Health and the Environment. The Initiative will deal with implementation research and the advancement of policy from the perspectives of health, welfare, and economics in a variety of environmental subjects with a focus on climate change and the built environment, air and water quality, exposure to chemicals, and more. The initiative was established with the support of Yad HaNadiv, which started the Environment and Health Fund and supported its activities for 14 years.
The lack of an integrative policy for dealing with health and the environment takes a heavy social, economic, health, and environmental toll. Thus, the overarching goal of the Initiative is to advance consideration of these areas in the policy decision making process. The Initiative strives to influence public policy relying on implementation research based on an understanding of the subject area and communication with decision makers. It will act as an anchor for the scientific and professional community in Israel in the areas of health and the environment and will conduct workshops and conferences.
The activities of the Initiative will be based on cooperation between its founding members – the founding committee of the Forum for Health and the Environment, a voluntary group of experts in the field, and the administration of the Taub Center. Heading the Initiative is Ms. Maya Sadeh, who holds a master’s degree in epidemiology and environmental policy from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Sadeh was a partner in the founding of the Environment and Health Fund.
The work of the Initiative will focus on development of partnerships between those in the field of health and the environment in Israel, with an open exchange of ideas, to establish a strong, professional research community that can impact policy making for the good of all.
Forum members are:
Prof. David Broday
Prof. Broday is a faculty member in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty, Technion. His main areas of research are air quality and pollution, dispersion of pollutants, source apportionment, spatiotemporal variability of pollutant concentration, physics of the atmosphere and aerosols, climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean (long-term observational analysis of meteorological variables and their significance in relation to population health and welfare), and the evaluation of exposure to various environmental stressors.
Dr. Tamar Berman
Dr. Berman is responsible for risk assessment at the Department of Environmental Health at the Ministry of Health. In her position she deals with policy related to environmental chemicals, including pesticides, disinfectants, and drinking water contaminants. In addition, she leads the National Human Biomonitoring Program which aims to measure population exposure to environmental pollutants including tobacco smoke, heavy metals, and pesticides.
Prof. Itamar Grotto
Prof. Grotto is a public health physician and epidemiologist. He is a Full Professor in the School of Public Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. In the past, he was the Director of Public Health Services in the Israeli Ministry of Health, Associate Director General of the Ministry, and a member of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization. His current activities include public health research and development in the academic and the business sector. He also serves as a consultant and adviser to health systems in Israel and worldwide.
Prof. Nadav Davidovitch
Prof. Davidovitch is the Chair of the Taub Center Health Policy Program. He is an epidemiologist and public health physician and Head of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s School of Public Health. His major research areas are health policy, health economics, health systems management, ethics and sociology of health with an emphasis on social and environmental determinants and coping with health inequalities. He has held a variety of public positions in the field of public health and health policy in Israel and worldwide and serves as the Chair of Health, Welfare and Vulnerable Populations in the Climate Forum newly established by the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog.
Prof. Hagai Levine
Prof. Levine is the chairman of the Israeli association of public health physicians and professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Hadassah Braun School of Public Health. His research spans a number of topics including the use of data for setting public policy, exposure to pesticides and chemicals and their hormonal effects, exposure to air pollutants and the effects on fetal development, climate change and exposure to extreme temperatures, and the effects of commercial determinants on public health in areas like nutrition and tobacco consumption. He serves in a variety of public positions in the field of public health in Israel and abroad.