Soroka Medical Center
Defending Israel’s Health
Spring Greetings & Passover Appeal
Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of American Friends of Soroka Medical Center, I extend greeting for a Happy and Healthy Passover, and hope the holiday brings you the blessings of good health and personal fulfillment.

Soroka has recently enjoyed three seminal events: In January we kicked-off our new Medical Advisory Board. An extremely talented group of physicians, with unique ties to Soroka, have joined us in supporting Soroka’s mission. This group will strive to build academic bridges between Soroka and other major medical centers worldwide, offering support as we undertake major development projects: the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Clinical Research facility, Rehabilitation Hospital and the Protected NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit.

In March, I was witness to an extraordinary event in Knesset — 250 of Soroka’s leaders, staff and some of the Negev’s most prominent citizens — including Beer Sheva Mayor Danilovich attended the launch of an official lobby, spearheaded by Member of Knesset Shimon Solomon. Born of his deep friendship with Soroka physician Asher Bashiri, this initiative reflects MK Solomon’s desire to change the equation for the citizens’ of Israel’s South. It is designed to spur increased government investment in Soroka, and equalize the allocation of government healthcare resources.

As we go to press, we are anticipating Soroka’s first International Cancer Research Symposium, to be held April 2 in Beer Sheva. We are truly privileged to be hosting such a distinguished group of physicians, who will present “New Frontiers in Cancer Research”. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Larry Norton and Dr. Ethel Siris for their efforts in creating such an extraordinary program, which will be chaired by Dr. Norton and Dr. David Geffen, Soroka’s head of Breast Cancer Oncology.

Read details on these major events below!

As you allocate funds for Maot Hittim, and your charitable giving for the remainder of the year, we hope you will be inspired by the remarkable work being done at Soroka, and help us achieve our goals.

With our Sincere Appreciation for your Support,
Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
Executive Director
Upcoming Events
Gala Benefit Dinner
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
At The New York Palace Hotel Details Below!

March at the Salute to Israel Parade
with American Friends of Soroka Medical Center

Sunday, June 1 at 11 am
Please email to join our team And help us celebrate Soroka’s unique contribution to Israel As “The Iron Dome for Health”
Young Professionals Social Event
Coming in May — please email us for details
Did You Know That Soroka is:
The only major medical center in the entire southern half of Israel
Building the region’s first Comprehensive Cancer Center
Responsible for the health and emergency care of a million people including 400,000 children
A strategic asset for all of Israel as the only medical center on the southern front
The largest employer in the Negev and a key factor for the development of the Negev
Dedicated to advancing research and providing the best care, while treating the patient as a whole human being
A combination of medical excellence, dedication, and the achievements of pioneering Israel
A significant opportunity to partner in having a very real impact on the lives of families and children
Save the Date for the Soroka Gala Benefit Dinner & Auction
Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal

American Friends of Soroka Medical Center is proud to announce and exceptional slate of honorees for our 2014 Gala Benefit Dinner, to be held on Tuesday, June 17 at The New York Palace Hotel at 6 pm. Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, one of the world’s most accomplished leaders in global health, and Professor Gabriel Gurman, Soroka’s “founding-father” of anesthesiology and critical care, will receive awards. We are privileged to welcome renowned media luminary Dan Abrams as Master of Ceremonies, and famed Auctioneer Jennifer Wright, from Christie’s Auction House. Professor Shimon Glick, who received our Visionary Leadership award last year, will be Honorary Chairman. The Event Committee is in formation: please contact us to join. We are curating a spectacular silent and live auction, and would appreciate your donations. There will be a tribute journal. Please contact us with any questions.

Professor Gabriel Gurman

Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A., a champion for improving health, who provided distinguished service for more than two decades as a leading U.S. Government medical expert and spokesperson in the Administrations of four U.S. Presidents, will receive our Stateswoman for Health Award. She served as Assistant Surgeon General of the United States, as the first ever Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health, and as Senior Global Health Advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Rear Admiral Blumenthal was also was a White House Advisor on health issues. Currently, Dr. Blumenthal serves as a Senior Fellow in Health Policy at the New America Foundation, as a Clinical Professor at Georgetown and Tufts Schools of Medicine, and as the Senior Medical Advisor at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. She is the Public Health Editor of the Huffington Post.

Professor Gabriel Gurman will receive our Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Gurman graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in Bucharest, Romania, and made Aliyah in 1972. He has been a specialist in Anesthesiology and Critical Care since 1966. He established the Division of

Dan Abrams
Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Soroka Medical Center, Beer Sheva in 1986. Dr. Gurman was a Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Ben Gurion University from 1991 until he retired. Although he formally retired from Soroka in 2005, he continues to contribute to Soroka’s mission, serving as an adviser to the hospital’s medical director.

Dan Abrams will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Currently the co-anchor of Nightline and Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News, he is also a recognized writer and web entrepreneur. Prior to 2011, Dan was at NBC News for 15 years as, among other things, a reporter for NBC Nightly News, host on MSNBC, and Chief Legal Correspondent for NBC News.

A First in Israel — Pro-Hospital Lobby Established in the Knesset

To Advance Health Services in the South and Strengthen Soroka Medical Center — “The Health Iron Dome of the South”

Professor Ohad Birk, head of Soroka’s
Genetics Institute, greets leaders from the Bedouin communities of the Negev, who
joined other dignitaries gathered at the
Knesset for the lobby.

Hundreds of residents of the Negev and Soroka Medical Center staff gathered at the Knesset for the first meeting of the lobby to advance health services in the South and strengthen Soroka Medical Center. The lobby is a joint initiative of MK Shimon Solomon of the Yesh Atid coalition party and Prof. Asher Bashiri, Acting Director of the Maternity C Department, together with Dr. Ehud Davidson, Director of Soroka Medical Center.

Joining in the lobbying effort are MK Yael German, Minister of Health; MK Meir Cohen, Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs; MK Silvan Shalom, Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee; MK Amir Peretz, Minister of Environmental Protection; MK Avi Wortzman, Deputy Minister of Education; MK Avishay Braverman, Chair of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee; MK Reuvin “Rubi” Rivlin, MK and Chairman of Knesset MK Shuli Mualem Rafaeli, Chair

MK Shimon Solomon, Dr. Asher Bashiri and Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
of the Committee for Equality in Medicine and former director of departmental nursing at Soroka; other Knesset Members; Ruvik Danilovich, Mayor of Beer Sheva; heads of local authorities, Dr. Michael Sherf, Clalit Deputy Director General and Head of the Hospital Division; Soroka Medical Center management, Soroka Hospital employees, patients and their families. Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld, Executive Director of American Friends of Soroka medical Center attended as well. Here are some notable quotes from the dynamic and highly motivating speeches delivered in the Knesset:

MK Shimon Solomon opened the session by stating “The aim of the lobby is to raise public awareness to the needs of the health system in the south in general and the need to strengthen

Ruvik Danilovich
and allocate resources to Soroka in particular. Soroka is the only major hospital in the Negev. It serves some million people, responding to their special needs”. Minister of Health MK Yael German congratulated Solomon on his initiative to establish this lobby. She stated, ” I am here out of a sense of commitment to Soroka as a major hospital that serves the largest population in Israel. We are here to set aims and objectives and find budgetary sources. Priorities must be changed”. The Minister of Environmental Protection MK Amir Peretz added, “It is enough to see everyone present here in the Knesset to understand Soroka’s impact. The time has come for Soroka to be declared a national project! It must be given priority in resource and budget allocations. A real work plan must be prepared and then — Get on with it”.

Mayor of Beer Sheva Ruvik Danilovich expressed his pride in Soroka and specific requests of the Knesset, stating “The residents of the Negev are blessed with a leading hospital and professional staff embracing them with love and warmth. We are not here to whine, but to demand. This is all

Dr. Ehud Davidson
about inconceivable gaps that grew over many years. The state must allocate budgets and resources to the health system in the Negev. A five-year plan with operative decisions must be the outcome of this meeting”.

Dr. Ehud Davidson, Director of Soroka Medical Center, expressed the sentiments of all assembled when he declared: “We at Soroka hope that this is the beginning of a joint journey to narrow the gaps in health services between the center of the country and the periphery. Soroka is the “iron dome of health” for the south and a strategic asset for the State of Israel. We look upon the move by the Israel Defense Forces training bases to the Negev as a great challenge and a great opportunity, which must be addressed by building new departments and adding personnel. We are already forging ahead with the construction of a comprehensive cancer care and research center, the hospital’s foremost project.

International Conference on Breast Cancer
Soroka Comprehensive Cancer Center,
currently under development

As this newsletter goes to press, we are eagerly anticipating Soroka Medical Center’s first ever International Conference on Breast Cancer to promote its new Comprehensive Cancer Center. There is currently no such center in the Negev, and cancer patients in this burgeoning region must often travel for hours to receive the care they need. Highlights will be presenters from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Columbia University Medical Center in New York, who will each focus on a different idea currently at the forefront of breast cancer research. The keynote speaker will be Larry Norton, the Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs and the Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, who will discuss his recent findings relating leukocytes and breast cancer. He will be joined by Ken Offit, the Chief of

Dr. Larry Norton
Clinical Genetics Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering; by Neil Iyengar, a Fellow in the Medical Oncology and Hematology Breast Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering; by Robert Benezra, a full Member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Cell Biology at Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences; and by Ethel Siris, the Director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center of the Columbia University Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Larry Norton is perhaps best known for his development of an innovative approach to therapy he deemed “dose density,” or “sequential dose density.” It is a new and more effective way of using anticancer drugs based on a mathematical model of tumor causation and growth he and his colleagues devised. It maximizes the killing of cancer cells while minimizing toxicity, thereby significantly enhancing the quality of life of patients being treated for breast and other cancers. He will be leading the session on breast cancer and

Kenneth Offit, MD
white blood cells with Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering who is working to identify unique biomarkers in the blood to aid in the diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer.

Ken Offit’s lab discovered the most common BRCA2 mutation, and was among the first to describe the most common BRCA1 mutation associated with susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer. They performed one of the first genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of breast cancer, which led to their discovery of a novel cancer risk allele. The lab has since been focused on utilizing massively parallel sequencing to identify novel cancer predisposing genes in humans, but is also involved in translational projects to integrate the results of

Dr. Ethel Siris
genetic testing into viable clinical management. These efforts will hopefully expedite the clinical utility of the personalized genome.

Neil Iyengar studies the intersection of obesity, inflammation, and breast cancer. Robert Benezra is interested in molecules that control the growth and differentiation of tumor cells, as well as the vasculature that supports their growth. He will be presenting new data on bone metastases.

Ethel Siris is currently analyzing the data coming in from the Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women (GLOW), which was started in 2009. It followed more than 60,000 women over 55 from ten different Western countries with the goal of providing insights into the management of fracture risk in these women, monitoring patient experience with prevention and treatment, and assessing the distribution of risk on a geographical basis. She will be chairing the session on breast cancer and bone health along with Dr. Merav Fraenkel from Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center.

Complete reporting on this conference will be available on our website shortly.

The Pediatric Oncology Team
Pictured here is Dr. Miri ben Harosh and Nurse Pavel Valkin, with Aviram, a patient on the pediatric Hematology-Oncology ward.

The pediatric oncology team at Soroka leaves no stone unturned in providing love and encouragement to its fragile young patients. Striving to brighten the day in any way possible, we offer our children unique experiences, including a pen-pal program with peers in the United States, and a surprise trip to a sold-out soccer game, with Beer Sheva’s Hapoel team.

Medical Advisory Board
On January 8, Dr. Ehud Davidson visited NYC and met with members of our newly formed Medical Advisory Board. We are so proud of the outstanding group of physicians that have assembled to join Soroka in our mission. Professor Shimon Glick, Founding Chairman of Soroka’s Division of Medicine, will serves as chair. The founding members of this group include:
Shimon Glick: Chair
Rebecca Amaru, Mount Sinai
Paul Applebaum, Columbia
Craig Blinderman, Columbia
Igor Branovan, Private Practice
Abraham Chachoua, NYU
James Cottrell, Downstate
Richard Deckelbaum, Columbia
Gerald Friedland, Yale
Yitz Glick, Efrat Emergency
Medical Center & Cleveland
Howie Goodman, Maimonides
Oscar Lebwohl , Columbia
Wallace Lehman, Hospital for Joint Diseases
Martin Leon, Columbia
Kenneth Prager, Columbia
Lynne Quittell, Columbia
Marc Rosenblum, MSKCC
Jesse Roth, NorthShore LIJ
Jay Selman, Blythedale/Bronx Lebanon
Linda Vahdat, Weill Cornell
Jonathan Waitman, Weill Cornell

American Friends of Soroka Medical Center
PO Box 184-H | Scarsdale, NY 10583 | (914) 7259070
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Conquering Cancer at Soroka 6th Annual Gala

Conquering Cancer at Soroka 6th Annual Gala

Soroka with Larry King

Soroka with Larry King

Aaron Wienstein, Performing at June 2012 Benefit

Aaron Wienstein, Performing at June 2012 Benefit

Welcome from Executive Director Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld

Welcome from Executive Director Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld

Israeli Public Affairs Counsel - Gil Lainer

Israeli Public Affairs Counsel — Gil Lainer

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Welcome to Soroka Medical Center

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Soroka at War 2009

Mandy Patinkin at Soroka 2013 Gala Benefit Dinner

Mandy Patinkin at Soroka 2013 Gala Benefit Dinner


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In the United States:
American Friends of
Soroka Medical Center
Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld
PO Box 184-H
Scarsdale, NY 10583
Telephone: 914725-9070
Fax– 914725-9073
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