Role of Grassroots Public Health Leadership in Bedouin Society in Israel in Reducing Health Disparities

Keren Dopelt, Einat Krispel, Nadav Davidovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Negev Bedouin settlements suffer from poor infrastructure, and the population’s health status is low across all indicators. While it is difficult for Bedouin citizens of Israel to integrate into the Israeli employment market, integrating this population into the health system is far-reaching. The aim of this study is to analyze the barriers and motivational factors experienced by Bedouin doctors to promote public health in the Bedouin community in southern Israel and to examine the perceptions these doctors have around the concept of leadership in a public health setting. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with Bedouin doctors from the Negev Bedouin community and analyzed them using thematic analysis. Results: Most interviewees saw themselves as leaders whose role was to improve public health in their community. They stressed the need for health leadership in Negev Bedouin society, and their desire to lead change in the community from within. All interviewees had grown used to a different way of life and a higher standard of living, and as a result, had difficulty returning home. Interviewees presented that trust in the health system is a critical factor for the success of health promotion programs. However, they noted the evolving trends of general mistrust in the government and its institutions that form the infrastructure for mistrust in the health system. Lack of time and workload were barriers to exercising leadership. Interviewees reported their perception of how socioeconomic status, the standard of living, and lack of infrastructure, education, and training affect health outcomes and collaboration potential. Discussion: This study presents a unique perspective on the views of doctors from the Negev Bedouin population on their involvement with grassroots leadership as a strategy to reduce health disparities in this community.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)177-192
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Healthcare Leadership
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Negev Bedouin
  • health inequalities
  • health leadership
  • health policy
  • socioecological model
  • under-represented minorities

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Leadership and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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