First Ever Graduation Ceremony of the Cyprus International Medical School in the Presence of HE Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus

May 15th, 2015, marks the first graduation class of the Cyprus International Medical School of the University of Nicosia: a dream come true of international collaboration between academic institutions in the Republic of Cyprus, the State of Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

This very unique project is the fruit of vigorous labor and determination invested by all the parties involved: the University of Nicosia, Sheba Medical Center in Israel, and its partner, Tel Aviv University, St. George’s University of London, and the Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago.

The mission of this International Medical School is to help students become educated individuals, achieve their academic and professional goals, and assume responsible roles in a changing world of European cooperation and global interdependence.  This school challenges the best and the brightest minds to learn the science of medicine and the art of compassionate care. These students are not only graduates of a Medical School, but have the privilege to graduate from an International Medical School, with an MBBS degree from St. George’s University of London, which is ranked among the world’s top 200 universities. They now belong to a very elite group of young physicians who have the tools and training to improve the lives of so many…whether it is through medicine, research, or public service. They will benefit from added knowledge, professionalism, and open the doors to medical research opportunities between countries in this very special region.

During his graduation speech, Prof. Zeev Rotstein, Director and CEO of the Sheba Medical Center, addressed the graduates as follows: “During the course of your clinical studies, some of you had the opportunity of experiencing two years of international medicine at the Sheba Medical Center. You were able to see and learn how the amazing staff of the hospital practices medicine. I sincerely hope that they were also able to pass on to you their values of tolerance, love of your fellow-man, and compassionate care for all people without any prejudice – Israelis, Palestinians and Foreigners alike. This we call the ‘Sheba Spirit’! I recommend that you adapt these values in your careers as future physicians; and never forget that medicine is an art as well as a science practiced by doctors and researchers who bring to the bedside not only technology and training, but also their humanity, compassion and concern. Their patients do not put their trust in machines or devices. They put their trust in YOU!”

Learn more about the Sheba Medical Center at

150-strong Medical Team: A Lifesaver Amid the Rubble

It’s just a normal day at Israel’s field hospital in Nepal, still reeling after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the country on April 25. As of Tuesday night, the field hospital has treated almost 1,000 patients, delivered 7 babies — all of them healthy — and performed 50 surgeries. Its team, consists of nearly 150 medical professionals from all over Israel; and this team is made up of the best of the best that Israel has to offer.

Every day among these tents is a mixture of the heartbreaking and the hopeful.

On Tuesday morning in the Intensive Care Unit, a 37-year-old woman is fighting for her life. Trapped for four days in the rubble, one of her legs had to be amputated. “Below the knee an amputation like this is easy to treat, but this amputation was very high, and it’s very hard to manage,” said her doctor, Dr. Eli Schwartz, head of tropical medicine at our very own Sheba Medical Center and the leading Israeli in his field.

The tragedy of this case goes even deeper. The woman’s 24-year-old daughter, born after she was raped at age 13, was also badly injured by the quake. She was hospitalized nearby, but died, and the authorities came to the Israeli hospital with the news.

But despite the heaviness weighing on everyone’s minds, joy reverberates through the place when there is something to celebrate. The births get everyone cooing. And signs of recovery also bring delight.

In the course of Tuesday morning, a woman, discovered by a rescue team in a village and brought to the hospital a few days ago unable to move or talk, is suddenly both moving and talking. Alaluf Heli, a 34-year-old who had helped to look after her, was elated. “Sometimes when I’m tired and missing my children it’s really very hard, and this kind of thing helps to give me the drive to continue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bika Rana, a 25-year-old Nepalese soldier, is sitting in a wheelchair, feeling a new sense of encouragement after learning that his injured leg is healing well. “I’m happy, and hoping that I will be able to get back to my normal life.” he said, after recounting how his house collapsed on top of him as he tried to flee the quake.

Dr. Eli Schwartz, who has the 37-year-old patient clinging to her life, said that he worries for people like her once Israel pulls out. Nepal, with its limited health infrastructure, will be overloaded, he said. “These are severe wounds that need long-term care, and we’re worried about who here has the skill to deal with people like this when we leave.”

Sheba Medical Center is invested in doing all they can for those in need.

Will you help Sheba Medical Center continue to save lives in Nepal?

Please contact Adi Hepner, Director of Development at 310.935.0135 or to learn how to become involved and about sponsorship opportunites through Friends of Sheba Medical Center.

The Legacy of Saul Kagan, z”l
Founder of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany

On March the 19th, the ceremony honoring the legacy of Saul Kagan took place at Sheba Medical Center’s Geriatric Rehabilitation Center in the presence of Julius Berman from the US, President of the Claims Conference, Greg Schneider from the US, Vice President of the Claims Conference, Ms. Colette Avital from Israel, Chairperson of the Organizations Center of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, Prof. Zeev Rotstein, director and CEO of Sheba Medical Center, and many Israeli and American guests and representatives of the Claims Conference. The highlight was the unveiling of a stone erected in Saul Kagan’s memory.

(from l to r) Julius  Berman, Avi Dichter, Colette Avital, Prof. Zeev Rotstein,      Avner Shalev - Yad va Shem, Ben Helfgott from the UK (Holocaust survivor and Olympic gold medalist)

(from l to r) Julius Berman, Avi Dichter, Colette Avital, Prof. Zeev Rotstein,
Avner Shalev – Yad va Shem, Ben Helfgott from the UK (Holocaust survivor and Olympic gold medalist)

The event was a tribute to Saul Kagan and his life’s work. Kagan passed away two years ago at the age of 91. He dedicated his life to championing the rights of Holocaust survivors.

Prof. Rotstein saluted Saul Kagan in his speech:

“Saul Kagan was the architect of Holocaust compensation and restitution. He made it his life’s calling to attain a small measure of justice for those Jews who had managed to survive the Shoah, and in so doing, became the backbone of an unparalleled historic endeavor.

Saul Kagan never thought any credit for himself. His work was always about making something happen, finding the way through, solving the problem – it was never about him. All that mattered was that the cause was right and that the result would benefit those who needed the most.

Saul Kagan left his birth town Vilna, a city claimed by both Lithuania and Poland between the two world wars. It was then occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, the year he left at the young age of only 18 – just in time before it was invaded by Germany. He settled with relatives in New York, joined the United States Army in 1942, and afterwards became the founding director of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, which was created in 1951. Even after retirement in 1998, he remained involved in compensation negotiations into his last years.

In November 2013, at the age of 91, Saul Kagan passed away. Some called him an overlooked hero of postwar Jewish history. He himself described his achievement as only “a small measure of justice” and remarked that “a thousand years of history, destroyed in 12 years” were beyond compensation.

During more than 60 years, hundreds of thousands of holocaust survivors received payments.

At the same time, due to the special situation in Israel, with many medical departments over populated by aging people, we encountered the situation that many holocaust survivors are patients in those departments. These under-budgeted departments created a reality of corridor and dining room spaces filled with hospitalization beds – actually, a very humiliating condition for the patients.

We salute the Claims Conference for not ignoring the needs and nurturing the respect for these “public patients” in a variety of hospitalization departments.

The decision of the Claims Conference to recognize this specific and necessary need resulted in the renovation and improvement of facilities, adding more spacious department rooms than before, thus avoiding unnecessary suffering for holocaust survivors due to hospitalization conditions. This dramatically improved their stay at the hospital.

We at Sheba, as the committed guardians of these survivors, salute the late Saul Kagan and the Claims Conference. For many years already, due to their support, not only the holocaust survivors but also our general elderly patient population benefit from these blessed activities.

Thank you for enabling Sheba Medical Center to build and renovate our hospitalization departments and provide dignified care, treatment surroundings and ambience for the holocaust survivors.

The Day a Victim of Terror was Discharged from Sheba’s Rehabilitation Center

Gadi Yarkoni, a victim of terror during the “Protective Edge Operation”, lost both his legs from a mortar that exploded next to the Nirim Kibbutz where he lives – only one hour before the ceasefire started. Walking independently now, Gadi was discharged from Sheba’s rehabilitation center after almost half a year of hospitalization in the orthopedic rehabilitation department, headed by Dr. Itzhak Ziev-Ner.

Gadi & Dr. Ziev-Ner

Gadi & Dr. Ziev-Ner

Yarkoni warmly thanked the rehabilitation team: the physiotherapists, the occupational therapists, the team of the hydrotherapy swimming pool, the nurses and doctors, and said “All of you represent what we call the beautiful Israel. When I arrived even lifting my hand hurt me. Because of you I am leaving now on my own two legs and run ahead to continue my active life in Nirim.”

Dr. Ziev-Ner parted from Yarkoni and said that “this was a farewell with mixed feelings. We are happy and very proud of you for the amazing rehabilitation process you went through and mastered, but we will also miss you. You are a very special person.” Dr. Ziev-Ner remarked further that, “It always takes two to tango: the professional and experienced team needs a partner in order to achieve such impressive and successful rehabilitation results like in this case. Gadi Yarkoni was a perfect partner and the results can be seen today, the day of his discharge.”

Sponsor a Victim of Terror

A new Imaging Device for Spinal Cord Surgeries: Allowing for more secure procedures with higher success rates

Dr. Nachshon Knoler (r) and Dr. Ran Harel

Dr. Nachshon Knoler (r) and Dr. Ran Harel

Sheba’s spinal cord unit, headed by Dr. Nachshon Knoler, only recently started to use a new imaging device of type O-arm for spinal cord surgeries. This new device enables imaging during the course of the surgical procedure and provides real-time information of the exact location for a variety of surgical incisions.  The device produces 3-dimensional pictures which are transferred to an advanced navigation system that allows the surgeons to cut in the precise places, to insert the screws and  implants perfectly, and even perform an additional scan to make sure that the implants are in place.

The new system plays an important role in surgeries with minimal invasive access and with the need for smaller surgical incisions, in reduced damage to the muscle tissue surrounding the spinal cord, less bleeding during surgery, decreased infection risk after surgery, lesser need for pain medication due to reduced damage to the tissue, and shorter hospitalization time following surgery.

Dr. Ran Harel, a senior physician of the unit, remarked that “the guidance of an advanced navigation system is essential because it allows for more precise orientation during surgery, and radiation protection for the medical team is no longer needed.

Though navigation systems during surgery have been in use for years already in the field of neurosurgery, but only during recent years they have been technologically improved, and the O-arm device enables us to perform spinal cord surgeries efficiently and safely.”

In the framework of the spinal cord unit of Sheba’s neurosurgery department, four successful surgeries were performed during the course of the last few months with the help of the O-arm imaging device in tandem with the advanced navigation system.

First Time in Israel: A new Unit for Young Cancer Patients

A new Department, including a Unit for young oncology patients aged 18-35, was recently inaugurated in Sheba Medical Center’s Cancer Center. This unique Unit will provide treatment and hospitalization conditions tailored to the needs of the young patient population embedded in a supportive atmosphere and ambience, and with a specially trained medical team. This Unit is located separately from the other departments in the cancer center, with various public areas and hospitalization rooms that allow the patients, some of whom have young families, to host their loved ones in a relaxed environment.

Prof. Mark Kaufman and Zoe Sever

Prof. Mark Kaufman and Zoe Sever

The design is of young appearance, decorated with Arie Berkovich’s woodworks and Daniel Landau’s video art, and receives a colorful touch, contributed by vivacious works, donated by Zoe Sever. She chose cityscapes because they suit the entire concept of the urbanite unit design best.

When the ribbon was cut, Prof. Zeev Rotstein, director and CEO of the Sheba Medical Center, said that “it is and will always be our goal to provide the patients with the best possible treatment experience, and today we fulfill this duty towards these young patients who need a different kind of treatment and care. We aim to give them this special environment and will not rest until we achieve it”.

Dr. Damien Urban, director of the Unit for Adolescents and Young Adults, remarked “All around us are stories representative for the kind of special needs these patients have. Take, for example, a young lady with breast cancer who plans to get pregnant in the future. In this Unit she can find genetic fertility counseling. Or an 18-year-old youngster who can find psychological and social support adapted to his young age. The support and the warmth the young patients need, this makes us special.”

The Unit for Adolescents and Young Adults in Sheba’s Cancer Center was established through a donation of the Kaufman Foundation and with the help of Keren Hayesod. The Kaufman Foundation is dedicated to bettering the lives of young cancer patients. This was the first international project supported by this foundation and its founder, Prof. Mark Kaufman.


Center 2

A Real Eye-Opener: Narcolepsy Bears Classic Autoimmune Hallmarks

The Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer​’s Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, Head of the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Disease, finds that narcolepsy bears the trademarks of a classic autoimmune disorder and should be treated accordingly.


Narcoleptics suffer from bouts of sleepiness and sleep attacks, which impair their ability to function in daily life. But the precise cause of narcolepsy has long eluded scientists, and the cure for the devastating neurological disorder afflicting an estimated three million people worldwide—and one in 3,000 Americans—remains at bay.


‘Stronger together,’ Israelis, U.S. complete historic medical exercise

Israeli medics transport Army Private 1st Class James Black through a corridor during a simulated medical evacuation through The Israel Center for Medical Simulation (MSR) at The Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. MSR is a world leader in simulation-based medical education. MSR strives to improve patient-safety and healthcare providers’ skills through new approaches to healthcare training and clinical practice.The medical exercise tested both nations‘ ability to communicate and track transportation of a simulated patient from the scene of an injury, to a hospital, and then to a U.S. military aircraft.

(U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

Air ForcemedicalU.S. ArmybilateralAtlantaIsraelU.S. Military,GrafenwoehrmedicsexerciseIDFIsraeli Defense ForceJuniper Cobra 14JC14air evacuationSheba Medical CenterHatzor Air Base


“On a recent trip to Israel I had the opportunity to visit MSR and experience the ongoing programs.  The sophistication, detail, and accuracy of the simulations are unparalleled.  The integration of skills training and situation simulation is superb, reflecting the outstanding leadership of Amitai Ziv. MSR is truly the most advanced center of its type in the world.” 

—Jeffrey L. Ponsky, MD
Chairman, American Board of Surgery
Chairman, Department of Surgery, Case School of Medicine
Cleveland, Ohio
The Israel Center for Medical Simulation (MSR) is a world leader in simulation-based medical education.  MSR strives to improve patient-safety and healthcare providers’ skills through new approaches to healthcare training and clinical practice.MSR works to reduce errors and improve quality of care by training on teamwork, clinical and communication skills.  MSR proactively exposes trainees to simulated extreme and challenging clinical and humanistic encounters.  MSR trained over 20,000 healthcare professional between the years 2002-2005.MSR’s programs make extensive use of the newest and most sophisticated technologies available in the field of medical simulation education.  In addition, MSR researches and develops technologies to further enhance medical simulation.

MSR conducts hands-on experiential simulation training in a wide variety of clinical domains such as Anesthesia, Cardiology, OB-GYN, Trauma, Chemical & Biological Warfare Management, and more.

MSR enhances communication skills through programs dedicated to teaching challenging tasks, such as delivering bad news, obtaining consent and the detection of domestic abuse.

MSR also works in collaboration with the Tel Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine in providing simulation-based personality screening of medical school candidates.  This breakthrough project seeks to improve the humanistic quality of medical school candidates by assessing their personal and inter-personal characteristics.

MSR is an integral part of the accreditation and licensure process of several of Israel’s healthcare professional bodies.  These include competence-based board exams for Anesthesiology Residents and for Paramedics.  In addition, MSR conducts an intensive hands-on simulation-based training course that all medical school graduates must complete prior to starting their internship.

MSR was founded in 2001 by Dr. Amitai Ziv, a Pediatrician and Deputy Director of Sheba Medical Center.  Dr. Ziv was first exposed to simulation-based training as a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force.


MSR is internationally recognized as a model in effective medical simulation training that addresses all fields of medicine.  MSR serves as a “sister center” to other simulation centers, helping them to establish their own centers based on MSR’s unique model and rich curriculum.In response to critical national needs, the Israel Center for Medical Simulation (MSR) has designed specific hands-on training programs in the field of emergency preparedness for both conventional and non-conventional warfare.Dr. Ziv has testified before the U.S. Congress on MSR’s medical emergency preparedness programs and has lectured before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security.

MSR has trained many international groups of healthcare professionals in various simulation-based emergency preparedness training programs.

“The Israel Center for Medical Simulation (MSR) has in a very short time become an internationally recognized world leader in the art and science of medical simulation.  It has brought sophistication and realism to simulation-based training and has made it an important tool in the education and training of all medical professionals in Israel.” 

—Kevin Lachapelle, MD
Director, McGill Medical Simulation Center
Montreal, Canada
“Methods developed and implemented by MSR are revolutionizing the manner in which physicians and allied health personnel are trained with a renewed focus on patient safety and demonstrated competency through training with simulated patients in a controlled multidisciplinary ‘simulation center’ environment.  MSR has had an incalculable, truly worldwide impact.”
—William F. Dunn, MD
Medical Director, Mayo Multidisciplinary Simulation Center
Minnesota, USA


“Today, I know I am a very lucky guy”

Every day, IDF pilot Noam Gershony copes with pain from the injuries he suffered when the Apache helicopter he was flying collided with another helicopter during the Second Lebanon War on July 20, 2006. The accident sent his chopper plummeting to the ground, killed his copilot, and broke almost every bone in his body.

Gershony spent six months rehabilitating at Sheba Medical Center but was determined to return to the sports and activities he loved before his devastating injuries.
In 2012, after six years of hard work, Gershony was rewarded when he received Israel’s first-ever gold medal in the Paralympic Games by capturing the top spot in wheelchair tennis in London.