Isaac Ashkenazi

Dr. Ashkenazi was a panelist for the Forum’s discussion on Disaster Response.

Isaac Ashkenazi is an international expert on disaster management and leadership, community resilience and mass casualty events with both extensive professional and academic experience. He is the Director of the Urban Terrorism Preparedness Project at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, a joint program of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University; an Adjunct Professor of Disaster Management at the UGA; a Professor of Disaster Medicine at Ben-Gurion University in Israel; and a consultant to Harvard University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other national and international agencies. Dr. Ashkenazi is the former head of the Medical Services and Supply Center for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and served as the Surgeon General for the IDF Home Front Command. Dr. Ashkenazi received his MD Degree, summa cum laude, from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and in 1982, Dr. 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, Dr. Ashkenazi started his residency in ophthalmology at Sheba Medical Center. In 1992, he received a license to practice ophthalmology, from the Israeli Medical Association. One year later, he received his MSc in Ophthalmology, summa cum laude, from the Faculty of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University. In 1993, Dr. Ashkenazi decided to volunteer again to the IDF, this time as the Head of Medical Services in the West Bank. After one year of services, he was promoted to Head of the Public Health Department in the Medical Corps. While continuing to serve in the IDF, he was graduated from Galilee College and received a Diploma in Medical Administration in 1996. 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 U.S. Embassy survivors in Nairobi after a terrorist attack (August 1998), to the survivors of the earthquake in Turkey (August and November 1999) and in Greece (September 1999). In 2000, Dr. Ashkenazi went on a sabbatical to Boston, MA, where he received an MPA (Master of Public Administration) from the Harvard Kennedy School. Subsequently he received a master’s degree (summa cum laude) in National Security from Haifa University. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Ashkenazi has become increasingly interested in disaster management and has served in humanitarian missions in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. He has given courses in Disaster Medicine; Disaster Management; Crisis Leadership; Urban Terrorism; Preparedness and Response for Mass Casualty Events; Individual and Community Resilience. He has published more than two hundred papers in medical and scientific journals, and presented his work in the United States, South America, Africa, Europe Asia and Middle-East countries. In the last fifteen years, Dr. 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 U.S.; and the UJC.