Joel J. Nobel print  

Joel Nobel founded ECRI, a 38-year old U.S. based nonprofit health services research organization. He developed ECRI's overall policies and programs, including its technology assessment, product evaluation, risk management, and technical assistance services. He created the concepts and operating plans for Health Devices, Health Devices Alerts, the Healthcare Product Comparison System and many other ECRI publications and services. He also developed ECRI's international programs and its related World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre.

He established offices in the United Kingdom to serve Europe, in Malaysia to serve the Asia-Pacific region, and in Dubai to serve the Middle East. He has also directed projects on five continents.

Dr. Nobel testified before the U.S. Congress on proposed legislation, ranging from national telecommunications policy to medical device regulation, and has served as a consultant to many government and international agencies, ministries of health and hospitals.

Dr. Nobel received his BA degree with high honors from Haverford College, his MA degree in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania and his MD from Thomas Jefferson University Medical College.

His neurosurgical residency was interrupted by military service as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy. He served on a nuclear submarine and then chose a research rather than a clinical career and established ECRI.
The Impact of Progress in Life Sciences on Health in Developing Nations
The Impact of Progress in Life Sciences on Health in Developing Nations Joel J. Nobel, MD Founder & President Emeritus, ECRI Improving healthcare in developing nations, as was the case for industrialized countries in earlier times, is a multi-sectoral challenge. While our focus at Biovision 2006 is on life sciences and health, we must remain alert to the relationships between disease, nutrition, energy levels, productivity, education, capital formation and health. Current developments in biotechnology, gene mapping and therapies, immunology, neurosciences, other life sciences and their expression in new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies capture our imagination. But they will have little impact on health indicators in developing nations in the foreseeable future. Such nations will continue the struggle to provide safe water supplies, sanitary systems, food distribution, to improve education and basic immunization programs. Nutrition is a core health determinant. Transportation infrastructure is often the primary limitation in food and healthcare availability. Therefore progress in life sciences is likely to have relatively little impact on the world’s poor for decades to come. Two exceptions to this assertion are immunization programs and genetically modified foods, despite political resistance to the latter. Extending lifespan increases population and food demand, lest starvation kill those saved from disease. Population pressures have led to forest loss because of the need for fuel and agricultural land in some nations. The loss of topsoil then decreased food availability and turned subsistence agricultural areas into net food importers. Social unrest and political turmoil often accompanied these changes. To benefit the world’s poor, improvements in healthcare must be paralleled by improvements in regulating fertility, improving nutrition and education and job availability before progress in life sciences and sophisticated medical care will serve human needs well.