Prof. Shlomo Maayan, head of Hadassah’s AIDS Center, recently participated in a four-day international dialogue in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Israel and Ethiopia’s fruitful partnership in HIV/ AIDS research, training, and clinical practice. Entitled “Leading By Example in the Fight Against AIDS: An International Dialogue on the Israeli Ethiopian Experience,” the meetings brought together experts from Canada, Ethiopia, and Israel to share best practices, while exploring opportunities for future collaboration. The symposium was initiated by Julie Schneiderman, Director of Communications at the Canadian HIV Trials Network, and Canada’s leading AIDS expert, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Director of McGill University AIDS Centre. A series of community agencies and research institutions sponsored the symposium.
Prof. Maayan and his colleague in Ethiopia, Dr. Dawit Wolday, gave joint presentations to the medical community at the Center for International Child Health at Children’s and Women’s Hospital of British Columbia, St. Paul’s Hospital, and the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. They also gave a presentation at Vancouver Hospital that was open to the general public, where the attendees included Hadassah supporters as well as members of the Ethiopian community in Vancouver.

The presentations generated positive public relations for Hadassah, especially since the main thrust of the talks was the Hadassah project with Ethiopia. “The fact that Dawit came all the way from Ethiopia made it real,” said Prof. Maayan, “and not just something in the air.”

These talks have already led to the next steps in creating unique collaborations between Hadassah Medical Center and the medical institutions mentioned above. Specifically, the collaborations will focus on how to develop a program encouraging circumcision in Ethiopia, which has been shown to decrease the spread of HIV; administering the HVC vaccine to HIV positive women; and dealing with increased HIV resistance as a result of taking HIV medications.

Prof. Maayan just left for the northern part of Ethiopia with Ms. Schneiderman to explore these potential projects.