Senior UK medic helps to 'transform' Galilee

By Jessica Elgot, December 15, 2011
Off to join an 'extraordinary initiative', Professor Mary Rudolf

Off to join an 'extraordinary initiative', Professor Mary Rudolf

A Leeds professor says that a new, £256m medical school in Israel's poorest region will "transform" the Galilee.

Professor Mary Rudolf, consultant paediatrician at Leeds General Infirmary, who is also professor of child health at the University of Leeds, will take up the position of Professor of Public Health at the new Bar Ilan Medical School in Sfat, opened last month by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

She and her husband, who have lived in Leeds for the past 20 years, will move to Rosh Pinah in January. The couple already have Israeli citizenship, having lived in Israel for seven years during the 1980s.

Professor Rudolf said: "It hadn't occurred to us to make aliyah at the moment but it seemed like a fantastic opportunity.

"It is an extraordinary initiative that aims to bring health and prosperity to the entire Galil. The north of Israel is the most disadvantaged in health-care and in the general health of the population. There's also a shortage of doctors in Israel, quite suddenly, as many of the doctors who came from Russia are reaching retirement age. And we hope it will attract young professionals to stay in the north of the country."

As well as teaching public health, Professor Rudolf will be in charge of monitoring the effect the medical school has on the prosperity of the area.

Around 130 new students started at the school just after Succot, 70 of whom are beginning graduate medicine. The rest have previously studied abroad and are returning to do clinical studies. The school hopes to take undergraduates in future.

Last updated: 2:09pm, December 15 2011