As a first stage, the Initiative convened a series of meetings and working group sessions during the winter and spring of 2008 which brought together Palestinian, Israeli, and U.S. health experts to discuss areas of common concern and priorities in the region. The report, Peace Through Health: A Mapping of Cooperative Health Programs in Palestine and Israel includes a set of recommendations developed from this initiative on strengthening health systems in the area through cooperative activities and a selected inventory of ongoing projects. The report maps more than 40 cooperative health projects between Palestinians and Israelis that are operating in the region, many of which were unaware of other organizations’ existence and mission.
The report includes a series of recommendations for improving health in the region through cooperative efforts in 1) education, training, and research 2) public health and emergency medicine and 3) health information technology. The Initiative has taken important steps to harness the Internet and new media for advancing health and understanding in the region through the creation of two unique websites — one for networking and information exchange among health care professionals (a “health e-Commons”) and the other is envisioned to provide health information for the public with resources in English, Arabic and Hebrew (www.HealthMiddleEast.org). Health information technology facilitates dialogue, communication, and networking and can aid in health service delivery and the implementation of strategic initiatives to improve health. These new media tools can foster the discussion and development of cooperative health activities in the region and ultimately increase knowledge and awareness of health issues in this area of the world.
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