Public Health and Society in Israel

  • People lounging at Dead Sea

About This Program

Spring Quarter 2016

  • Application deadline: November 1
  • IPD study abroad fellowship application deadline: November 1
  • Program dates: Sunday, March 27, 2016 (date of arrival in Tel Aviv) - Sunday, June 12, 2016 (date of departure from Tel Aviv)

Spring Quarter 2016: $19,908

Total fees charged by Northwestern: $16,208, includes: 

Estimated additional costs: $3,700, includes:

  • $1,500 round trip airfare to Tel Aviv, Israel (students book their own airfare; rates vary)
  • $200 for books and supplies
  • $2,000 for discretionary expenses, including meals, transportation, personal expenses, and incidentals

Students applying to this program are eligible for IPD study abroad scholarships and may be eligible for external funding opportunities

Students participating in this program are subject to the Withdrawal and Refund Policies for Northwestern-Sponsored Programs.


The Public Health and Society in Israel program exposes students to Israel's distinctive nationalized and high quality healthcare system, as well as the delivery of medical relief in disaster situations, an activity for which Israel is internationally recognized. Israel's expertise in the provision of healthcare to immigrant and minority populations will also be a focal point of the program. Students will learn about the unique physical and cultural conditions of these varied populations and investigate the local politics and programs to confront socioeconomic and health disparities. Students will explore the country's historical-religious heritage and contemporary issues through site visits to historical and archaeological sites, medical institutions, and research facilities. They will also have the opportunity to practice disaster preparedness, response, and recovery through an emergency simulation drill. 

Host Institution

Tel Aviv University (TAU) is Israel's largest comprehensive university, with excellent programs in the natural and physical sciences, engineering, and math, as well as in the social sciences, arts, music, and humanities. Faculty in the School of Public Health at the Sackler School of Medicine adn the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, are involved in the program. The Dayan Center is the leading think-tank and research center on Middle Eastern history and politics, with the largest archive on the Arab world in Israel. 

Housing & Meals

Students live in the Einstein Dormitory complex at TAU, which contains suites with one or two shared bedrooms as well as a kitchen, bedroom, air conditioning, WiFi, and cable TV. Students will share a bedroom, likely with another international student at TAU. Students are responsible for the cost of all meals. 

Safety and Security Note

This program is located in a country under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning and operates with special permission under the University's travel policy. Students enrolled in this program will be required to adhere to additional security measures and sign a release acknowledging the Travel Warning. The program is subject to suspension or modification at any time. These matters will be discussed in more detail during advising appointments and pre-departure orientation. 


This is a Northwestern program with a set curriculum, so students must enroll in the Northwestern courses listed below. All courses and grades appear on students' Northwestern transcript and are figured into their Northwestern GPA.

HISTORY 301-SA-1: New Lectures in History - Israeli Society: Identity, Nation-Building, and Ethnicity

  • Course Instructor: Elie Rekhess

This course explores Israel's national identity through an analysis of the "Proclamation of Independence," and a discussion of the interrelationship between Judaism, Jewish peoplehood, Israeli nationality and citizenship. The course then proceeds to examine the nation-building process: the transformation from "Yishuv" to sovereignty, the formation of state institutions, and the electoral system. The third part of the course explores Israel's multi-faceted society, including the in-gathering of the exiles and the three major ethno-cultural clevages: Mizrahim-Ashkenazim, Religious-Secular, and Arab-Jewish.

POLI SCI 357-SA: Political Economy of Israel

  • Course Instructor: Paul Rivlin

This course examines the way in which the Israel economy has developed. It looks at demographic and political factors as well as the conflict with the Arabs that have all played important roles in determining the pattern of development. The course will examine the way in which Israel has moved from state-directed to market-orientated economic policies and the implications for government spending, public health programs and the socio-economy.

GBL HLTH 317-SA: Public Health in Israel 

  • Course Instructor: Gabriel Chodick

This course is an introduction to the public and community health system of Israel. The course will cover the evolution of public and general health services since the early days of the nation, the influence of the Universal Health Insurance Act of 1994, and the examination of critical health issues confronting Israel. Programming models, theories, and policy development specific to the Israeli society are included. Lectures will be complemented by site visits to health facilities and agencies, such as the israeli Center for Disease Control, Tel Aviv Health District, and maternal and child clinics in Benei-Braq.

GBL HLTH 318-SA: Medical Management of Disasters and Mass Casualty Events 

  • Course Instructors: Kobi Peleg

This course will expose students to medical preparedness, response and recovery in the case of disasters and mass casualty events. Students will investigate methods for preparing medical personnel to handle disaster situations, including training, drills, exercises, simulation games and protocols, as well as perform event analyses on past mass casualty events worldwide. They will also be exposed to the different players operating in the field and how they interact, including principles of integrated operation, coordination and control of forces on the ground, logistics, media influence and usage, and risk management and decision-making strategies.


Tour of the South

Students will take an overnight trip to visit the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth and one of Israel's most visited tourist spots. While there, students will climb to the top of Masada, a natural fortress with great historical and architectural significance, and visit caves in Qumran National Park, where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. 

Tour of the North

Students will explore various sites in the regions north of Tel Aviv, which are known for their scenic beauty, rich history, and religious significance. Visits may include Haifa, Tibernias, Safed, and Acre, among others. Students will also have the opportunity to visit Druze villages and learn about their cultures and faith.