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Health Reformer, Alumnus Now Hospital CEO in West Bank

Issa Jeries Albandak (G’10)

Issa Jeries Albandak (G'10), a recent graduate of the health systems administration master's program and Pedro Arrupe Scholar, returns to the West Bank to lead children's hospital in Bethlehem.

June 6, 2011 – Issa Jeries Albandak (G’10) , who previously worked on USAID-funded Palestinian health reform, is now CEO at an 84-bed children’s hospital in Bethlehem.

Originally from the West Bank, he came to Georgetown’s School of Nursing & Health Studies to pursue his master’s degree in health systems administration.

Now back at home, the alumnus is overseeing approximately 225 employees at Caritas Baby Hospital, which is managed and owned by Children’s Relief Bethlehem.

Center of Excellence

“We hope that the hospital becomes a center of excellence, providing care to its patient population – children,” he said. “We will be attempting to apply worldwide best practices to the local context.”

During the next few years, he plans to explore the possibility of bringing the organization through the Joint Commission International accreditation process and to enhance systems within the hospital.

Albandak previously worked for Chemonics International, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting company, to support the Palestinian Ministry of Health on its health reform and development efforts. He directed initiatives to improve emergency services at ministry hospitals.

“The emergency room is the heart and soul of the hospital and indeed the health system,” he said. “It is the place where management of limited resources and unlimited wants takes place.”

Chance Meeting

Before coming to Georgetown, Albandak worked at Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem, where helped build new obstetric and neonatal wings. He also holds an MBA from Bowling Green State University.

The French and American associations of the Knights of Malta manage the hospital. It was through this work that the father of three met Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, a member of the Knights of Malta.

Well-Rounded Program

DeGioia encouraged Albandak to apply for the university’s Pedro Arrupe Scholarship for Peace program.

The Arrupe scholarship – named for a former superior general of the Society of Jesus – was established in 1996 and supports students from war-torn areas who have already earned acceptance to Georgetown.

 “Georgetown certainly provided me with the knowledge that I need,” Albandak said. “It is a well-rounded program that allows you to feel comfortable looking at the whole picture systematically. We should think of systems when we attempt to manage health care.”

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