Dear Friends,

Trauma Medicine is one of Hadassah Medical Organization’s highly developed disciplines, one we have honed during the two decades since we established Israel’s first Shock Trauma Unit – often under “trial by fire.” Treating victims of terror attacks and mass casualty events play a major role in our learning process. Less visible, but unfortunately more common, are the unconscionable number of road accident victims we treat each year.

We have shared–and continue to share–what we have learned through journal articles, conference presentations and on-site training. Some years ago, we were asked to help set up a trauma unit in Buenos Aires. This summer, we participated in the Hadassah Mexico Trauma Symposium.

I recently returned from the Third Trauma Symposium at Hospital Santo Tomas in Panama, the country’s largest teaching hospital where HMO and Hadassah Panama helped to establish a Level 1 Trauma Unit. Over 700 doctors and nurses attended the first symposium in 2007, and about the same number return each year. The dedicated members of Hadassah Panama were instrumental in initiating this fruitful collaboration and continue to foster it – Hadassah International can take pride in creating these and other important initiatives.

Since the beginning, Hadassah doctors and nurses have been an instrumental part of the program. They present papers at the meetings and remain in Panama for a week or more, working alongside the local medical teams.

“These seminars are very useful for our personnel,” says Dr. Elias Garcia Mayorca, Medical Director General of Hospital Santo Tomas. “They give us the opportunity to share our experiences here with the well-trained physicians from the Hadassah Hospitals in Jerusalem, which allows us to give our patients better assistance.”

This year, Neurosurgeon Prof. Jose Cohen, an Interventional Neuroradiologist and stroke specialist, Dr. Miklosh Bala, an expert in trauma from the Department of Surgery, and Emergency Medicine Nurse Merav Kamer represented HMO. While still in Panama, Dr. Bala and Ms. Kamer shared their impressions with us.

“The trauma conference was extremely successful and the turnout was remarkable. The audience included all trauma personnel – from doctors and nurses to paramedics and fire fighters. In fact more people came than could fit in the auditorium. The lectures generated a lot of interest. There was a lot of feedback and many questions. When I saw the people coming back the next day, I knew that ‘it worked.’

As for our work in the hospital, it is still in progress. As far as we can tell, there have been many improvements since Dr. Almogy and Pnina Sharon’s visit last year, but there is yet much to do.”

Last year, Dr. Gidon Almogy, the Director of HMO’s, Surgical Center B, Pnina Sharon, the Head Nurse of Adult Emergency Room at our Judy and Sidney Swartz Center for Emergency Medicine, and Dr. Liat Appelbaum, Director of the Center for Diagnostic and Invasive Ultrasound in the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, spent two weeks at Hospital Santo Tomas helping them organize their Trauma Unit and assisting them in formulating their protocols. This was their fourth visit to share advice and provide tangible support. Dr. Ruth Stalnikowicz, Head of the Emergency Room at Hadassah-Mt. Scopus, accompanied them on one of their visits, adding invaluable insight.

“The men and women of Hadassah Panama did and are doing an amazing job of organizing everything for the conference and every other aspect of our visit,” Dr. Bala and Ms. Kamer wrote. “Their hospitality and warmth are overwhelming. They have gone to extreme measures to make us feel at home and we are at a loss for words to show our gratitude to them. “

Now it’s my turn to add some words of praise for Hadassah Panama and for Hadassah International President Sherry Altura. Sherry has nurtured the group and the project since its inception, fostering personal relationships and important connections. Most of all, she has made the name Hadassah – and Hadassah Panama – renowned and respected throughout the country.

sept 16 2011 hadassah international builds bridges shlomo with sarita and jacobo cohenDr. Jacabo Cohen, or Jacky as he is called, organized and chaired the Symposium. Thanks to his outstanding medical reputation and superb organization skills, it was an outstanding success.  “I am proud to belong to Hadassah and to do this seminar for my country,” Dr. Cohen said modestly. But the seminar is just part of what he did for Panama and for us. He and his wife Sarita, President of Hadassah Panama, along with past president Margie Mizrachi and her husband Moy, hosted us throughout our stay–providing us with invaluable advice and incredible hospitality. Among many of their many gracious gifts, they arranged for me to attend Slichot services and Moy accompanied me for this meaningful observance.

The Jewish community of Panama held their former Chief Rabbi, Rabino Sion Levy, of blessed memory, in such high esteem that they raised over one million dollars to name the Centennial Conference Room in the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower in his honor.

Hadassah Panama organized television interviews and a special VIP luncheon –with major media attendance–where the new national protocol for treating trauma patients was formally announced. Hadassah Panama helped devise and promote the new protocol, which will enhance how medicine is practiced in Panama.

During the Symposium, our Hadassah experts were stellar attractions. After his outstanding lecture on strokes, Prof. Cohen was inundated by people with questions about patients and loved ones. He listened attentively and reviewed each situation.

“It is amazing how competent this community is in the planning and execution of these events, Sherry Altura says. “They could run this country given the chance.”sept 16 2011 hadassah international builds bridges hadassah panama group shot

I agree. All the members of Hadassah Panama, but especially the women, are masterminds at planning and executing events, assuring that Hadassah has a prominent place in the community and most graciously coordinating our visits. As Hadassah Panama Vice President Raquel Btesh noted, “When Hadassah puts their heads and their hands together we can do everything.”

“I am thankful to Hadassah for sending these doctors to Panama to help us with this important project. They are our inspiration,” Sarita Cohen added.


My experience in Panama–like the one in Mexico and in many other places around the world–is an inspiration to me. It reminds me of how much the Hadassah Medical Organization has to offer, how important it is for us to share our knowledge with the people and countries, the esteem the Hadassah Medical Organization elicits, and how important Hadassah International is to our efforts.

Whether in Latin America or the Far East, Europe or Australia – countries that are our friends as well as some that don’t recognize the State of Israel – Hadassah’s doctors and nurses are welcomed with warmth and enthusiasm, admiration and respect. They in turn, bring honor to Hadassah and to Israel, creating new relationships, establishing new friendships, building bridges across countries and continents by caring for others.

Shabbat shalom,


Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef

Director General


Hadassah International has organized many different academic and medical symposiums and seminars in different areas of Latin America.

Following is a short list of these academic activities:

Caracas, Venezuela, 2001: International Nursing Seminar

Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2001: International Nursing Seminar in collaboration with Einstein Hospital

Miami Beach, FL, USA, 2001: International Nursing Symposium

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2002: Trauma Seminar in collaboration with Hospital Fernandez

Mexico City, Mexico, 2004: Nursing Seminar in collaboration with Ministry of Health

Monterrey, NL, Mexico, 2004: 1st International Nursing Seminar: “Challenges facing a nurse today” in collaboration with Tec Monterrey Hospital and Nuevo Leon General Hospital

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico 2005:  VII International Congress of Medical Advancements – Dealing with Massive Catastrophes in collaboration with Guadalajara Civilian Hospitals

Jerusalem, Israel, 2005: Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) and Hadassah Mexico organize a one-week Symposium for Mexican Pediatric Dentists in collaboration with Mexican Association of Orthodontics

Costa Rica, 2006: Alternative Medicine Seminar in collaboration with Unibe University; Collaborative Agreement signed that allows for five Costa Rican physicians to do specialty training at HMO

Panama, 2007: 1st Trauma Seminar – “Trauma Emergencies” as well as a Medical and Nursing Seminar in collaboration with Hospital Santo Tomas

Mexico City, Mexico, 2008: Human Genome Institute Conference

Mexico, 2009-2010: First Aid Courses – as part of a grassroots project, intended to raise awareness of Hadassah International among the Jewish communities of Mexico and provide health education to its members

Mexico, 2010: Breast Cancer Awareness Week (including conferences, workshops and seminars) in collaboration with the Mexico National Cancer Institute, Oncology Center of ABC Hospital,  Hospital San Jose – Tec de Monterrey, Hospital OCA, Red Cross of Monterrey

Mexico City, Mexico, 2011: Trauma Symposium – “Dealing with Multiple Victims of a Mass Catastrophe: Experiences from the Hadassah Medical Organization” in collaboration with Cadena, A.C., a group of young volunteers from the Jewish community that deal with emergency situations and national disasters

Mexico, 2011: Nutrition and Wellness Event (including conferences, workshops and seminars) in collaboration with the Mexico Ministry of Health, Mexico National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, Gea Gonzalez Hospital, ABC Hospital, Maguen David Community Center

Sao Paulo, Brazil; June, 2012: Academic Medical Congress in light of a collaborative agreement drawn up between Alberto Einstein Hospital, the government of Sao Paulo and HMO.