Chicago's Sinai Health System celebrates its centennial in 2019; the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center outside Tel Aviv marked its own milestone last year, turning 70. Now, thanks to the efforts of the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest, these major medical institutions are looking forward to teaming up for the health of their communities in the years to come.
The two hospitals are collaborating in three areas--direct care to patients, community-wide public health efforts, and enhancing the infrastructure that makes these services possible.
Dr. Osnat Levtzion-Korach, general director and CEO of Shamir, recently visited Chicago, where she met with Karen Teitelbaum, Sinai Health System's president and CEO, and toured Sinai's facilities.
"It was an inspirational visit," Levtzion-Korach said. "I was inspired by the passion of the staff and amazed by the challenges they face, many of which are in my bailiwick. The work they do is absolutely critical."
Shamir, named after the seventh Israeli prime minister, is the fourth-largest government hospital in Israel, and growing. The hospital will double in size--making it the largest hospital in Israel in the coming years--adding facilities that specialize in geriatrics, mental health, forensic medicine, women's health, and public health. Shamir boasts the leading orthopedic department in Israel and leads the way in thoracic surgery.
Following Levtzion-Korach's Chicago visit, Sinai staff, led by Teitelbaum, will visit the Israeli hospital in the spring for the start of bilateral fellowships and training.
Shamir has much to glean from Sinai, said Levtzion-Korach, especially in the areas of trauma treatment, chronic illness, and public health. Given that the Israeli hospital will soon open a major psychiatric facility, the Israeli medical staff are particularly eager to learn from Sinai about best practices in mental and behavioral health, as Sinai is a leader in that field.
Both hospitals believe in helping at-risk populations. "Our hospitals have a lot of similarities, especially with regards to treating trauma and serving vulnerable communities," Teitelbaum said.
Making connections is a major part of the work of the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. From academic exchanges to cultural partnerships, the Consulate routinely brings the best of Israel to the Midwest and vice versa. "We are constantly thinking about what Israel can bring to the table," said Aviv Ezra, Israel's Consul General to the Midwest, who made the shiduch (match) between Shamir and Sinai.
Whether in Israel or Chicago, a hospital has one goal, according to Teitelbaum. "Sinai is Jewish at the roots, and therefore has an ethos of helping all in need," she said. "Our job is to keep people out of the hospital-and healthy in their communities."
Sinai Health System is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.