Dr. Eli Stern
The Risk Assessment Center (see foundational core document) was established at the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research at the start of 2005.
The center assesses and analyzes different types of risk factors, mainly of morbidity and mortality, caused by many factors, including systems, facilities, activities and any situation that can endanger human life.
Accelerated technological and industrial development has its accompanying risks and society is becoming increasingly aware of health issues, welfare and standard of living in the face of these risks which are imposed by technological progress in all its forms.
One of the center's main interests is the delicate balance between the public's aspirations for industrial technological progress, energy sources, etc. and its strong desire to limit the risks, including environmental unpleasantness, that could threaten them (and future generations) as a result of that very progress.
Aims and Objectives
- To conduct environmental risk assessments, to evaluate human health risks caused by environmental pollutant emissions from industrial facilities, energy production, transportation etc.
- To conduct risk assessment of different types (such as road and work accidents, terrorist attacks and even the risks from natural disasters.)
- To analyze and evaluate risks from facilities/systems during regular operation, operational incidents, incidents caused by hostile activity, exceptional cases and incidents caused by natural disasters (such as earthquakes, floods etc.)
- To quantitatively analyze the causes of risk, how pollutants reach humans (including poisonous and carcinogenic substances), human exposure assessment, risks of disease and death caused by these exposures, acceptability/non-acceptability of risks, technological, regulatory and organizational assessments for risk management.
- Risk management based on cost-risk-benefit analysis, amongst others.
- To develop and cultivate professional opinion on these matters, on a national level.
- To conduct studies connected to risk assessment, the public's readiness to accept certain risks and the relationship between "environment" and public health ("health and environment.")
Areas of Research
- Setting up an infrastructure for conducting risk assessments and analysis at national level.
- Assessing global trends in everything related to the range of risk prevention/reduction technologies.
- Assimilating risk assessment methodologies in different areas such as drug basket prioritization.
- Developing methodologies for risk probability evaluations, including statistical analysis of incidents, applying methods from the Utility/Games Theory, uncertainty analyses, etc.
- Using risk assessments to optimize emergency procedures, such as preparing for serious incidents in the chemical industry or preparations for treating pandemics.
- What is an "acceptable risk" and an "unacceptable risk."
Description of Activity
- Extensive professional opinions in risk assessment topics, such as carcinogenic substance emission from hospitals in Israel during regular operations; the exposure of port workers to ionizing radiation and the resultant possibilities of becoming ill with malignant diseases; operating a phosphate mine close to human settlement; evaluating the risk of the Ramat Hovav Industrial Area as a basis for making decisions regarding Ir Habahadim (a new town for IDF training bases); the presence of carcinogenic gases in basements and residences where soil gasses are predominant following intensive industrial activity in the past, and various security projects.
- Research studies, including "Prioritization Methods in the Drug Basket," "Mortality Risks in Israel."
- Spearheading national specialist committees including The National Public Specialist Committee for Magnetic Fields from the Electricity Network , The Inter-Ministerial Specialist Committee for Carcinogenic, Mutagenic and Teratogenic Substances.
The unit is relatively new and is currently in the development stage.