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New Year, New Beginnings

Dear Family and Friends of Hadassah,

For as long as I can remember, Hadassah has always been known for its superb and talented staff that produced a high level of excellence in clinical care, teaching and research. That is true as true today as it was yesterday. However, we have an obligation to our patients and ourselves to ensure it will be true tomorrow – and all the tomorrows that follow.

The quality of Hadassah’s future is directly connected to the quality of the young men and women we attract to our Medical Center, first to serve as residents and later to remain as up-and-coming physicians. A little less than a year ago when I became Director General, I presented the HMO Board with a number of topics that were among my immediate concerns – revamping the Residency Program was high on my list of issues that needed to be addressed. The Board members agreed and a few short months later – in January 2012 – we began to analyze and evaluate the current program and elicit input on what should be improved and how.

"We are facing a lot of competition for these talented young doctors,” said HMO Deputy Director General Prof. Shmuel Shapira, who heads the revised and revamped program officially known as the Next Generation Residents Program.  “We wanted to create the best program that could be,” said Prof. Shapira pointed out, “and I believe we have.”

We started by conducting a satisfaction survey and then a series of focus groups and in-depth discussions with the residents themselves. Simultaneous interviews and focus groups were held with heads of Hadassah departments to receive their input and recommendations.

Just nine months after we initiated the project, the Next Generation Residents Program was officially launched on September 1st. The new program is more comprehensive and structured than its predecessor ofering current and prospective residents a more supportive environment, better working conditions and greater transparency.

Most of all, the Next Generation Residents Program focuses on communication between the residents and the people who are responsible for their training. Each resident has a personal mentor who serves as a liaison with the department head; someone who is there to help them with academic, professional and even personal advice. An individualized, structured and detailed residency plan ensures that the residents and their department heads are all on the same page when it comes to expectations.

Communication continues through formalized evaluation and feedback processes – and this communication is a two-way street. Just as each year department heads will provide a written evaluation and oral explanation, so too, residents will provide feedback on the quality of teaching and the residency experience. And just to make sure the residents’ reactions are heard at the highest level, Prof. Shapira will serve as their representative on the Management Committee.  

The program contains more on-the-job experience for residents in the operating rooms and in the departments giving them additional training and greater patient experience.

Our concern extends beyond the academic and medical to the very practical. Most of our residents began medical school only after their army service – many have wives and children they rarely get to see. We have tried to help by giving them longer intervals between shifts and easing their financial stress with additional fellowships, scholarships and grants – some for excellence in their fields and some to allow them to devote their time entirely to research.

The Next Generation Residents Program is a giant step forward from my days as a resident in obstetrics and gynecology – a giant step and a most welcome one. These young men and women have decided to devote their lives to the complex and demanding world of medicine. For their sake and ours, we must provide them with the necessary tools and training. But more than that, we must give them all the guidance and support we can to help them pursue their goals.

We at HMO call the new program ‘The Eitan Program’ in memory of Pediatric Surgeon Prof. Eitan Gross who was in charge of the residents program before he passed away quite suddenly last May. He alerted me to the need to redesign our residents program and was passionate about the issue. In English, the name Eitan means “strong.” I believe he would be pleased with the many aspects of the residency experience we took into account and the strength of the program we created.


I write this on the eve of another new beginning, the start of the New Year 5773, with great anticipation of the arrival of the Hadassah Centennial Mission in less than a month, the celebration of Hadassah’s 100th anniversary and the dedication of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower.

And as I write this I look forward to a year of fulfillment for our Hadassah friends and family around the world and our Hadassah Medical Organization family here in Jerusalem.

May we all know a year of health. May we all know a year of peace.

Prof. Ehud Kokia
Director General


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