Maryland Governor Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Hogan, Jr. pledged expanded cooperation with Hadassah Medical Organization during his visit WHEN, which included a symposium on new approaches to treating cancer, visits to children with cancer, and a tour of HMO's shock trauma center, patterned after one at the University of Maryland.
Gov Hogan was accompanied by a delegation including his personal physician, Dr. Aaron Rapoport of the University of Maryland Medical System, Dr. Mort Rapoport, formerly a member of the Hadassah Medical Organization Board; Michael Greenebaum, President of Greenebaum Enterprises; Abba Poliakoff, Chairperson of the Baltimore Jewish Council, and Bonnie Glick, a Hadassah Life Member and co-chair of the Maryland-Israel Sister State Committee.
"Baltimore is where this all started," said Barbara Goldstein, Deputy Director of Hadassah’s Office in Israel, speaking of Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold who, in 1860, was born in Maryland's largest city, where her father was an influential rabbi. "Miss Szold's earliest memory was being lifted on her father's shoulders for the funeral cortege of Abraham Lincoln. Her love of America and of Judaism were deeply entwined."
Professor Yoram Weiss, Director of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, presented an overview of Hadassah's history and current healing, teaching and research mission.
In the symposium, Prof. Howard Cedar, of the Hebrew University Hadassah School of Medicine, described DNA methylation, the mechanism that turns genes on and off, which has provided the science for the breakthrough in epi-genetic treatments of cancer. Dr. Rapoport spoke of immunotherapy used in treating lymphoma, and Dr. Michal Lotem, a Hadassah physician and researcher who heads the melanoma and immunotherapy program at the Sharett Institute of Oncology, spoke of an experimental preventive vaccine for patients who have melanoma and are at a high risk for a repeated malignancy.
Governor Hogan spoke about his own battle with cancer. Soon after he was inaugurated as governor, he discovered a swelling in his neck. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and underwent half a year of chemotherapy. "I believe that with all these good minds, in Maryland and Hadassah and other places, we will see a cure for cancer in our lifetimes."
The governor asked to visit the pediatric oncology department, where he personally encouraged children with a variety of diseases: leukemia, osteopetrosis, and sarcomas, sharing about his own experience with cancer. The delegation also stopped at the Marlene Greenebaum Interdisciplinary Breast Center, named for Michael Greenebaum's mother, a breast cancer survivor and activist for increasing awareness and research.
In the trauma unit, Professor Avi Rivkind thanked the governor for the seminal training he had received at the University of Maryland's shock trauma center. "We have saved thousands of patients as a result of what we've learned in Maryland." Prof. Rivkind highlighted ongoing cooperation and ties with Maryland, and offered to share Hadassah's unique two-week training program for Hebrew University-Hadassah medical students who get terror medicine training in addition to their specialties.
"We have had a fascinating visit, and look forward to even more cooperation with Hadassah in the future," said Governor Hogan.