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Getting to Know You

Diary of a Director General
By Prof. Ehud Kokia
Director General, Hadassah Medical Organization

A little less than two weeks ago, I began serving as Director General of the Hadassah Medical Organization. Then as now, I felt that while some of you might know who I am, so far I have only met a few of HMO's scores of dedicated friends. In the months ahead, I hope to meet many of you in person and have the pleasure of getting to know the people behind the names.

When I began heading this great institution that Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef led so exceptionally, I decided that I would follow his example and tell you some of what I am seeing, hearing and learning. I hope you will enjoy sharing my experiences through "my diary," as I expand my knowledge of our Medical Center, meet many more members of the staff, receive briefings on new research projects and new accomplishments and have the pleasure of describing the lifesaving work that is taking place here. And, I hope you will respond with your thoughts and ideas.

I would like to start by telling you that sometimes I find it difficult to believe that I received the honor of being chosen to serve as Director General of the Hadassah Medical Organization.  

When I thought about all that implies, I knew that to feel comfortable in my new role and new home, the first thing I had to do was to learn my way around so that at least I would not get lost. With Dotan Simchovitz, Personal Assistant to the Director General, as my guide, I began studying how to navigate the twists and turns of the many corridors, where stairways lead and visiting departments. As I walked and talked, looked and listened, I was quite touched by the many people who introduced themselves to me and wished me luck.

A home is more than a building, or in our case, many buildings; a home is also where our workers live. They are the people who consider Hadassah their home and they are HMO's greatest asset.

To carry the analogy a little further, I believe that our patients are guests in our home. As medical professionals, it is our responsibility to help them and heal them; as their hosts, it is our responsibility to make them feel comfortable. We are here to serve them with the best we can provide, to respect them and their families.

Patients are not products and a medical center is not a customer center. The difference is profound. We meet people at the most difficult moments of their lives, when they are wishing they would rather be any place but here; when they are hoping for the best and fearing the worst. Since we have the privilege of caring for them, we must give them our utmost. Sometimes, their 'thank you,' is our reward. Most of the time we are rewarded by releasing them from our Medical Center in better condition than when they arrived and knowing we have done our best.

Along with getting to know my new home and the people in it, I have been involved in meetings and discussions that deal with the present and the future. At the moment we are working on the 2012 budget. Simply put, it is challenging.

Yet, when I met with the heads of the unions a few days ago, I knew instinctively that we would succeed in creating a financial framework we can live with, one that will help us continue to provide outstanding care and at the same time move us forward. The union leaders and the people they represent are our strength. For them as well, Hadassah is not just the place where they work; they also consider it home.  

Throughout the days and into the nights, I have been thinking and planning. Every thought and plan seems to lead to new thoughts and new plans. From among my abundance of ideas, I have decided to focus on three or four issues and determine how to move them from vague concepts to fruition. When they are more concrete, I hope to share them with you.

I think it is no secret that I like people. I always have. I like communicating with people, talking to them and listening to them. I find personal interaction interesting and stimulating, that learning from others teaches us more about ourselves.

In conversations and meetings, phone calls and emails,  I have already learned a great deal about the Hadassah Medical Organization and its outstanding staff. I have learned about the pride they take in being part of this great Medical Center and the pride they take in being able to help others. I have learned about their commitment to serve our patients wholeheartedly, with all their professional skills, and of the strength they derive from their commitment.

I am beginning to learn about Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America and Hadassah International. It takes some time to absorb all that Hadassah has achieved in the last century, to comprehend how Hadassah's beliefs and accomplishments have changed the State of Israel and the practice of medicine in our country, and how these achievements serve as a stimulus to keep us moving ever forward.

Most of all I have learned how you, Hadassah's most devoted supporters, have helped make this possible, how you continue to do so and that we at HMO are blessed to have you as members of our family.

Please come visit me in my new home, the amazing Medical Center that you also call home, and give me the pleasure of getting to know you.

Most sincerely,


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