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Second-year medical students Orli Bogler and Hannah Samuels, along with residents Michael Chaikof and Jillian Taras were intrigued when they noticed different faculties from the University of Toronto participating in international learning trips to Israel. This prompted them to wonder if medical students could be given the same opportunity. Knowing that the University had strong ties with Israel on research and other projects, they sought a hospital partner, and turned to Sinai Health System. “We knew that Sinai Health was having some great exchanges with Israeli health-care leaders, and has a robust fellowship program with Israeli physicians so we thought this could be a great partnership,” said Orli.

The group were connected to Sinai Health Foundation. Together, they were able to raise the funds for 15 medical students, two residents and two physicians from Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Jodi Shapiro and Dr. Eric Goldszmidt, to visit medical facilities in Israel for an exchange of ideas and experiences.

“It was a phenomenal experience. Everywhere we went in Israel, Israeli health-care professionals shared their leadership on everything from emergency response, to their humanitarian aid work. They were also very interested in collaborating on quality improvement initiatives,” said Orli.

Dr. Howard Ovens, Sinai Health System’s Chief Medical Strategy Officer, was happy to support this initiative. “Thanks to the generosity of philanthropic leaders like Larry Tanenbaum, the Schwartz/Reisman Foundation and the Azrieli Foundation we were very pleased to support this exchange of ideas between our medical students and Israel’s impressive health-care professionals,” said Dr. Ovens. “Like Canada, Israel is a hub of brilliant medical minds and this was a chance to build on the collaborative relationship between the two countries.”

Last fall, senior political and health-care leaders from Israel including the Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Health visited Sinai Health System and were given a tour of our NICU, and then sat down with our leaders, including President and CEO Dr. Gary Newton, to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our different health-care models. Dr. Newton, along with other Sinai Health leaders visited Israel in October to continue the discussions on how we can further our collaboration to strengthen care in both countries.