Israel's Unique Place for Treating Disorders of Sexual Development

Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine

Dr. David Zangen has performed groundbreaking research in ambiguous genitalia, ovarian development and the BRCA2 gene. He is the director of the pediatric endocrinology and juvenile diabetes unit, Department of Pediatrics, Hadassah Hospital. Hear about his research, unique patient stories, and what is his personal contribution to building bridges to peace. Special guest co-host Barbara Sofer, Director of Public Relations, Hadassah Office in Israel joins this episode.

About this episode

Dr. David (Dubi) Zangen is a senior pediatrician and the director of the pediatric endocrinology unit in the Department of Pediatrics at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem.

He served as a captain in the armored corps and was a Major and Chief (medical officer) doctor in his Brigade.  Prof. Zangen has received several awards and honors and is a member of several elite medical societies.  He has researched various interests in diabetes, hyperinsulinism, thyroid and disorders of sexual development. He has published numerous articles since 1990.  Dr. Zangen is married with four children and resides in Jerusalem.

"Hadassah On Call" host Benyamin Cohen spent his entire youth bouncing from one pediatric endocrinologist to another. He was one of the shortest kids in his class, and the only solution offered was hope and a dose of growth hormones. He opted against the latter and ended up an adult that stood only 5'2.

Did he make a mistake by not taking growth hormones? In this episode, he asks that question to Dr. David Zangen, the director of the pediatric endocrinology unit in the Department of Pediatrics at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Dr. Zangen's response might surprise you.

The Israel-born Zangen – who spent time studying at Harvard – specializes in diabetes, gender and other growth challenges. Besides answering Cohen's questions about his own height inferiority complex, the discussion in this episode spans across Zangen's various lines of research: how artificial pancreas are revolutionizing diabetes treatment, how the BRCA2 gene – which is most commonly related to breast cancer – is also linked to healthy ovarian development. That discovery helped him diagnose a strange malady that impacts young adults who have ambiguous genitalia.

Listeners will also hear Dr. Zangen talk about his unique family background. He is the son of Holocaust survivors and his mother became the first woman to head the Israel Medical Association. Later in the episode, Cohen talks to Dr. Zangen about a special program, where he trains Palestinian doctors. "I believe this is my personal contribution to the chance of peace, of really being able to live together," Zangen said of his interfaith outreach. "I believe that living together, looking in the eyes of people on the same level, is important to our future here."

To top it off, there's a special guest in the studio as well: Barbara Sofer, the Israel Director of Public Relations at Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America joins in the discussion. Oh, and did we mention that she also happens to be Dr. Zangen's neighbor?

Further reading:

Hadassah surgery clarifies gender for Palestinian teen

No ovaries? Mystery solved by Hadassah endocrinologist

Read a transcript of this episode.

"Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine" is a production of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah enhances the health of people around the world through medical education, care and research innovations at the Hadassah Medical Organization. For more information on the latest advances in medicine please head over

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The show is hosted by Benyamin Cohen and edited by Skyler Inman and the team at the Hadassah offices in both New York and Israel.

This episode includes promotions for:

Hadassah Israel Travel

Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America takes several trips to Israel every year and guess what; you're invited. The trips for 2020 are already filling up. The trip in February will highlight Israel's bountiful nature and ecology, a March trip will unmask the country's vibrant art scene, an April trip will celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut - Israel's Independence Day, a trip in May will tour Israeli wineries and dine in some of the Mediterranean's finest restaurants, a June trip will showcase Israel's music scene, and an August one will be dedicated to exploring the country's vast archaeological sites. If this sounds like "a can't miss opportunity" to you, head on over to for more info and to explore the full calendar of trips and itineraries.


The Branch

This podcast offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of Jews and Arabs in Israel forging meaningful relationships. Presented by Hadassah and hosted by Dina Kraft, The Branch shines a light on the stories of people living the example of a shared society. Together. Even though it's complicated.

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