In 2022, Dr. Sharon Alter, an ER Physician from Chile, received a phone call that would change her life. She’d always dreamed of working at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, known for its world-class healthcare. But the opportunity to make her dream come true came out of the blue – an invitation to join a Hadassah event in Zurich, Switzerland, with just two days’ notice. Without a second thought, Sharon embraced the chance.
At the same time, Dr. Ahmad Nama, the new Director of the Emergency Department at Hadassah Ein Kerem, was getting ready for the same conference in Zurich. Twelve leaders from around the world were gathering to discuss a new opportunity for Hadassah International. When Sharon shared her dream of practicing medicine in Israel with Ahmad, he immediately saw the potential and encouraged her to give it a try.
This meeting marked the beginning of a remarkable journey. Ahmad believed that having doctors from different backgrounds working together in the Emergency Department would be a huge advantage. He’d already seen the benefits of international experience during his time at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. It was clear that diverse perspectives could greatly enrich the field.
A few months later, Sharon and 30 other participants travelled to Jerusalem for the beginning of what would become the Young Hadassah Without Borders Program (YHWB). This gave Sharon the opportunity to work alongside the Hadassah Hospital emergency team, and it solidified her decision to practice medicine in Israel.
With the collaborative support and effort of her colleagues in Chile, Prof. Yoram Weiss, Director- General of Hadassah Medical Center, Ahmad, and local members of YHWB, Olga Davidson and Asher Arad, Sharon arrived in Israel 7 months later in June 2023 accompanied by her dog, Greta.
Adjusting to a new culture and language was a challenge, but the Hadassah team provided amazing support. Over the past few months, Sharon has thrown herself into her work in the Emergency department and found it incredibly rewarding. What amazed her most was the collaborative atmosphere at Hadassah, where Arabic and Jewish colleagues worked together seamlessly.
In addition, Israel’s healthcare system was a revelation compared to what she’d known in Chile. Access to specialists and advanced medical technology was nothing short of impressive.
Sharon sees her journey as an incredible opportunity. Her role in the ER has enriched her professionally and personally. Her Hebrew improves with each passing day, offering her a fresh perspective on emergency medicine.
Dr. Sharon Alter’s journey to Hadassah serves as a powerful reminder of the incredible things that can happen when you seize unexpected opportunities and embrace diversity in your field.