Isaac Ashkenazi

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Professor Isaac Ashkenazi
Professor Isaac Ashkenazi

Isaac Ashkenazi (born 1957 in Israel) is an Israeli Professor of Disaster Medicine at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and a consultant to Harvard University. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in medical preparedness for complex emergencies and disasters.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Education and professional certification[edit]

Military service[edit]

In 1982, Ashkenazi volunteered to the paratrooper forces in the IDF as a military doctor. After four years of intensive military training, treating wounded soldiers and working under fire, Ashkenazi started his residency in ophthalmology at Sheba Medical Center in 1986.

In 1993, Ashkenazi volunteered again for the IDF, this time as the Head of Medical Services in the West Bank. After one year of service, he was promoted to Head of the Public Health Department in the Israeli Medical Corps.

In 1997, he was promoted to full colonel with the responsibilities of Surgeon General for the Home Front Command (HFC) and the National Medical Coordinator for Mass Casualty Incidents and Disasters. As the Surgeon General of the HFC he led medical mission teams to give assistance to the USA Embassy survivors in Nairobi, after the terrorist attack (August 1998), to the survivors of the earthquake in Turkey on YouTube (August and November 1999) and in Greece (September 1999).

Professor Isaac Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi in rescue efforts in 1999 in Izmit, Turkey

Disaster preparedness, and emergency response[edit]

Ashkenazi is Professor of Disaster Medicine at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and a consultant to Harvard University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Homeland Security, and other national and international agencies. Ashkenazi is the former head of the Medical Services and Supply Center for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and served as the first Surgeon General for the IDF Home Front Command.

Ashkenazi is the Former Director of the Urban Terrorism Preparedness Project at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative[7] (NPLI), a joint program of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the John F. Kennedy School of Government from July 2007 to April 2013.


Over the past twenty years, Ashkenazi has become increasingly interested in disaster management and has served in humanitarian missions in Asia, Africa and Europe on YouTube. He has given courses in Disaster Medicine; Disaster Management; Leadership during Crisis; Urban Terrorism and Preparation of Health Systems for Crisis. He has published more than two hundred papers in medical and scientific journals, and presented his work across North and South America,[8][9] Africa, Europe Asia and the Middle-East. In the last twelve years, Ashkenazi has received Presidential Medals of Honor for Humanitarian Assistance from Turkey and Greece; the President of Rwanda; the Jewish Community in France, Turkey, Italy and USA; and the United Jewish Communities.[10]

Working with his colleagues Leonard Marcus and Barry Dorn at the NPLI, Ashkenazi has been instrumental in the development of the concept and practice of meta-leadership and, specifically, its adoption by emergency response leaders.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Marcus, L.J., Ashkenazi, I, Dorn, B., & Henderson, J. (2008). Meta-leadership: Expanding the scope and scale of public health. Leadership in Public Health, 8 (1&2), 2008.
  • Ashkenazi, I. Predictable surprise—the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Harefuah. 2008 Jul; 147(7):578-86, 664.
  • Pinkert, M, Bloch, Y, Schwartz, D, Ashkenazi, I, Nakhleh, B, Massad, B, Peres, M, and Bar-Dayan, Y. (2007) Leadership as a component of crowd control in a hospital dealing with a mass-casualty incident: lessons learned from the October 2000 riots in Nazareth. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. 2007 Nov-Dec; 22(6):522-6.
  • Lerner EB, O'Connor RE, Schwartz R, Brinsfield K, Ashkenazi I, Degutis LC, Dionne JP, Hines S, Hunter S, O'Reilly G, Sattin RW. Blast-related injuries from terrorism: an international perspective. Prehospital Emergency Care. 2007 Apr-Jun; 11(2):137-53.
  • Peltz R, Ashkenazi I, Schwartz D, Shushan O, Nakash G, Leiba A, Levi Y, Goldberg A, Bar-Dayan Y. Disaster healthcare system management and crisis intervention leadership in Thailand—lessons learned from the 2004 Tsunami disaster. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. 2006 Sep-Oct; 21(5):299-302.
  • Magnezi R, Dankner R, Shani M, Levy Y, Ashkenazi I, Reuveni H. Comparison of health care services for career soldiers throughout the world. Military Medicine. 2005 Dec; 170(12):995-8.
  • Carasso S, Shmueli T, Arnon R, Ashkenazi I. Characteristics of emergency room admissions of IDF soldiers in northern Israeli hospitals between May 2002 and April 2003. Harefuah. 2004 Jan; 143(1):8-11, 88, 87.
  • Gdalevich M, Ashkenazi I. Infection control in earthquake rescue team. Lancet. 30 October 1999; 354(9189):1564.
  • Ashkenazi I. The disaster in Turkey—a personal account. Israel Medical Association Journal. 1999 Oct; 1(2):73-4.
  • Katz J, Gdalevitz M, Ashkenazi I, Shemer J. Trends in the epidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 1 among the young adult population in Israel. Infection. 1999; 27(4-5):295-7.
  • Mandel Y, Grotto I, Gdalevich M, Mimouni D, Ashkenazi I, Haviv J, Shpilberg O. Is the coexistence of mutations in the genes of factor V and MTHFR a predisposing factor for massive skin necrosis due to loxoscelism? Public Health Revue. 1998; 26(3):265-70.

For a more complete listing of publications:


  1. ^ Ashkenazi, Isaac. "Ben-Gurion University of the Negev" (PDF). PREPARED center for Emergency Response Research. Public Health. 
  2. ^ Ashkenazi, Isaac. "Israel Home Land Security, Advisory Board" (PDF). IHLS. 
  3. ^ Ashkenazi, Isaac. "Harvard School of Public Health - FORUM". HSPH. HSPH. 
  4. ^ Ashkenazi, Isaac. "Ashkenazi's Bio". MetaLeadership. MetaLeadership.ORG. 
  5. ^ Ashkenazi, Isaac. "College of Law and Business". NIRED. College of Law and Business, Ramat Gan, Israel. 
  6. ^ Ashkenazi, Isaac. "Faculty of Health Sciences". Ben Gurion University of the Negev. 
  7. ^ National Preparedness Leadership Initiative web site
  8. ^ Weiner, R. (2009, 23 July). Israelis share expertise in responding to terror. New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved on March 9, 2010 from
  9. ^ University of Georgia College of Public Health presentation. Retrieved on March 9, 2010 from
  10. ^ Harvard Kennedy School biography