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Israel Exchange Program Welcomes Israeli Medical Students to Cincinnati
By: Mike Sarason
2/22/2012 

The 10 flags outside the main entrance to Cincinnati Children's recognize the countries who have sent the most patients over the past year

Another week in Cincinnati, another program attracting top talent to the city. Starting next week, Cincinnati will play host to four of Israel’s brightest medical students, who will be the initial participants in an intensive student training program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The program is only one initiative of Cincinnati Children’s Israel Exchange Program (IEP), which David’s Voice detailed in an article over the summer. The program is being conducted in partnership with Tel Aviv University, where the students are currently enrolled in medical school.

Tel Aviv University held an extensive and competitive application process for this new program, which garnered interest from many of the university’s top students. In the end, four students, each with outstanding credentials, were selected to be the inaugural class of this exciting new program. The four students—Lior Goldberg, Hadas Zamir, Yasmin Abu-Ghanem and Miri Dotan—arrive Thursday, March 1, and will be in town for just about a month. They will be studying and working closely with the many of the world-renowedn doctors and staff at Cincinnati Children’s, including Dr. Marc Rothberg, Dr. Marc Levitt, Dr. Thomas Dewitt and others.

The medical student training program was made possible thanks to a leadership gift by David and Nancy Wolf to Cincinnati Children’s to create new formal training programs as part of the medical center’s Israel Exchange Program. The Wolfs’ partnership is helping to strengthen the close bonds Cincinnati Children’s has formed with the scientific and medical communities in Israel, thereby improving child health in our community and around the world.

The goal of this specific partnership is for the Israeli students and community members to develop new relationships, which will allow Jewish community members the opportunity to draw closer to Israel and their Jewish heritage while connecting the Israelis  to the American Jewish community and to Cincinnati more precisely. To that end, in addition to the formal training at the medical center, the program will also be partnering with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Young Adult Division (YAD) and Israel Center to integrate the Israeli trainees into the Cincinnati Jewish community. The students will be guided around the city by Community Shaliach (Emissary) Yair Cohen to locations like the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College, participate in a social action project through the Women’s Philanthropy Helping on Chai program and more.

Activities for the Israeli students are still being planned. Volunteers interested in hosting and/or planning activities during the Israelis’ stay can contact Rebecca Hoffheimer of the Young Adult Division at rhoffheimer@jfedcin.org.

The Israel Exchange Program is run through Cincinnati Children’s Global Health Center with four distinct areas of focus, coordinated together to create one joint effort:

• Education is all about the exchange and training of medical students, residents, fellows, doctors and more between Israel and Cincinnati. To that end Cincinnati Children’s has partnered with not only the hospitals in Israel, but also Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University..

• Clinical Care deals more directly with the care of patients both in Israel and Cincinnati.

• Research and Technology bring together scientists working on joint projects that blend Children's significant research capability with Israeli talent and innovation skills.

• Quality Assurance and Improvement is just that—raising the bar on child healthcare worldwide.

Though the program has only been official for a relatively short amount of time, its accomplishments are many. A list of highlights thus far includes a collaboration between Israeli and Cincinnati Children’s physicians to jointly treat patients with complex conditions in both Cincinnati and Israel; clinical and research postdoctoral fellowships at Cincinnati Children’s for Israelis; short-term training opportunities for Israeli physicians, nurses, students, paraprofessionals and hospital administrators at Cincinnati Children’s; grants to support collaborative research; co-sponsorship of conferences and research symposia in Israel and Cincinnati; technology collaborations with Israeli start-ups and universities, including a new collaboration with Ben Gurion University that is bringing together Israeli engineers and Cincinnati Children’s surgeons to collaborate on the development of medical devices…

…All of this and the IEP is only just getting started.

For a more background on the IEP, read our previous article here and visit their website here.

Mike Sarason is the editor of David's Voice. Mike graduated from DePaul University in Chicago in 2009 with a degree in marketing and advertising. He is deeply rooted in Cincinnati and what goes on here. He is a music lover, concert goer and plays frequently around the nation with his group, The Pinstripes. His other interests include sports, the outdoors and cooking.