Our Research

Population Health at Bar-Ilan  focuses its research efforts in five main domains:  health disparities research, early childhood, health and the environment, lifestyle medicine, and social determinants of health curriculum.

Health disparities research

ETGAR: The Department has established ETGAR, a service staffed by medical students, which centers on the transition from hospital to home for disadvantaged patients. This project is BIU’s flagship community project and is in receipt of grants from the Israeli Council of Higher and the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research. One aspect involves assessing the readmission rates of participating patients.

On an international level, Dr. Sivan Shohat is conducting postdoctoral research on the evaluation of organizational initiatives to reduce healthcare disparities with the University of Chicago, with the aim of offering health organizations an understanding of the mechanisms which may inhibit or facilitate disparity reduction.

Social Incubator for Promoting Health in the Galilee:  Project Rafael gives local organizations in the community the opportunity to work in partnership with the Center to develop and pilot innovative programs that influence health. Projects have included working with disabled Arab women to speak out for better health care, a hiking and nutrition program to reduce obesity in individuals struggling with severe mental illness and training the elderly to work as medical clowns. The organizations meet regularly at the Medical School, receive personalized academic consultation and support, and benefit from seed funding to pilot their ideas. Click here for more information on the Rafael Social Incubator.

Early Childhood

Our research in early childhood focuses on the areas of lifestyle, obesity and child injuries. We are exploring protective factors against obesity in children of low SES in Northern Israel, lifestyle in young Haredi families, and developmental concerns in preschool children. We are involved in the development and evaluation of three complex interventions: Efshari Bari le Gil ha Rach, a national child obesity prevention program; the implementation of a new hospital based child injury prevention program at Ziv Hospital with the NGO Beterem; and a tailored genetic counselling program for Arab families in the Galilee.

Click the following links for additional information on:

Health and the Environment

Environmental epidemiological research led by Dr. Keren Agay Shay focuses on the impact of environmental factors on health as it relates to pregnancy outcomes, infant growth and cancer incidence. The research involves spatial and temporal analysis and analysis of the associations with ambient exposures such as climate change (heat and cold waves, dust events), air pollution and greenness and the health burden of air pollution.

Lifestyle Medicine

Alongside the introduction of a lifestyle medicine curriculum into medical education, Dr Jumanah Essa Hadad and Dr Lilach Maletskey are studying efforts to create a “Healthy Faculty” for students and staff. An organization-wide intervention addressing nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction is underway, with collaboration from the University of British Columbia.

Social determinants of health curriculum

The Department is responsible for the development of a Social Determinants Curriculum involving four courses. This novel curriculum is the focus of educational research in medical studies.


Research Grants:

Saskolne V and Rudolf MCJ. Protective Factors for Healthy Weight in Children from Low Socio-Economic Populations. NIHP 2013-2016, 200,000 NIS.

Mark M and Rudolf MCJ. Evaluating the implementation of a community initiated “Shared Mental Healthcare” psychiatric model for individuals coping with complex bio-psycho-social problems in a small peripheral town. NIHP 2014-2017, 198,330 NIS.

Rudolf MCJ, Weingarten M, Luder A, Ben-Ami M, Reis S, Eilat Z, Basharat B, Dikman N, Spitzer-Shohat S (2015). ETGAR Center. Council for Higher Education Flagship Project grant. 2015-2018, 450,000 NIS.

Rudolf MCJ, Luder A, Essa-Hadad J (2018).  Reducing the burden of child injuries in Israel.  Pratt Foundation, 2018-2022, 225,000 AUD.

Rudolf MCJ, Ben Ami M, Sheleg T, Zarka S, Bisharat B, Spitzer-Shohat S.  ETGAR- A medical school’s partnership with hospitals across the Galilee to innovatively tackle transition between care settings.  2016-2019, 263,000 NIS.

Agay Shay K and Rudolf MCJ (2016). Analysis of cases of cancer in Northern Israel over 16 years and their connection with levels of heavy metals.  Asaf Foundation, 2016-2017, 50,000 NIS.