From initiating and hosting a widely attended symposium on trauma medicine featuring Hadassah health experts to raising millions of dollars for the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower at the Hadassah Medical Center, Hadassah Panama is making a multi-layered impact.

As Sherry Altura, Chair of Major Gifts for Mexico and Panama, and Ethel Fainstein, Director of Hadassah Mexico, report: “It takes other philanthropies years to accomplish what President Margie Mizrachi and her dream team have done in a little over a year. This community is simply amazing in their focus and dedication to enhancing the health care system of both Panama and Israel. We were truly touched by the warm welcome the Panamanian community extended to us and their steadfast devotion to Israel.”

The two-day symposium, with Dr. Jacobo Cohen, a prominent Panamian otolaryngologist as medical coordinator, and Dr. Gideon Almogy, Senior Trauma Physician at Hadassah-Ein Kerem, Dr. Ruth Stalnikowicz, Head of the Emergency Room at Hadassah-Mount Scopus, and Pnina Sharon, Head Emergency Room Nurse at Hadassah Hospital-Ein Kerem as featured speakers, brought out 700 health professionals. The host medical facility was Santo Tomas Hospital, the home of Panama’s first Trauma Center, inaugurated at the symposium’s culmination. All in all, there were 17 lectures and workshops, as well as a nursing seminar showcasing a role play of treating a trauma victim, replete with fake blood and intravenous equipment.

Hadassah Panama raised $30,000 from outside sponsors to defray the costs of the symposium. The Hadassah Panama public relations team was successful in placing articles about the need for trauma facilities in Panama in the main newspaper, La Prensa, and Dr. Cohen was interviewed twice for television. Several radio spots aired as well. The visiting Hadassah physicians were interviewed on Panama’s most popular morning TV show.

On Tuesday, the first day of the symposium, relates Mrs. Altura, “our first view was a very long table staffed by 16 lovely young women wearing blue vests embroidered with the Hadassah International logo and “Hadassah Panama.” These young women registered the 700 participants, which included doctors, nurses, paramedics, and students of trauma medicine. Each participant received a canvas briefcase containing a Hadassah International Tower brochure, a program, and a nametag and lanyard with a lapel pin featuring the flags of Israel and Panama.

In addition to the symposium, Hadassah Panama hosted a roundtable luncheon for 55 heads of Panamanian emergency units to discuss a unified protocol for transporting victims to Santo Tomas Hospital’s Trauma Center. This was the first time that the group of health professionals had ever gathered.

The symposium’s closing ceremony, which included the playing of the Israeli and Panamanian National anthems, was attended by the National Health Minister, hospital directors, head of the Trauma Commission, the Minister of the Canal, and the Israeli Ambassador. Then came the inauguration of the new Trauma Center. Hadassah Panama was given the honor of naming the new facility and it was announced during the ceremony that the name would be Maimonides.

The Tower Campaign Launch:
At a cocktail event at a Hadassah Panama home, guests viewed the Hadassah International video, The Heart Has No Borders, and the Tower Campaign was officially launched, with a moving appeal and the announcement of new gifts. Hadassah Panama has a “Tower Team,” led by Sarita Cohen, comprised of men and women, all devoted to fundraising for the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower. To date, Hadassah Panama has raised over $1,500,000, with many sections of the Patient Reception Center now bearing the names of Panamanian donors.