Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Education Minister Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton approved on Monday 60 more openings for medical students nationwide effective immediately – 50% of them at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
The move will bring the freshman class of the Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School to 150 students on the first day of classes this coming Sunday.
The decision comes amid rising concern about a shortage of doctors in the next few years as a generation retires and not enough doctors remain in practice. The situation is particularly acute in the South, which is why BGU has been pressing for more openings for years. In 2015, the class was increased from 90 to 120.
BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, "I applaud the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education's decision to add spots to the current medical school class. It is an important and significant addition of students, but, over and above that, it is a significant contribution to strengthening the health system in general and particularly in the South. The shortage of doctors is great, and I am hopeful that this is the precursor for future expansions."
Prof. Angel Porgador, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, "Increasing the number of medical students is a national priority and very important for the health system in Israel. The increase will address the shortage of doctors and open a window of opportunity for more students to be accepted to medical school while maintaining the quality of teaching. The Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School is one of the best and leading medical schools in the country and many of our graduates serve in senior positions in medical institutions and the health system."
Prof. Ilan Shelef, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, "These new students will become the future generation, who we hope will remain in medical centers, community clinics, and rehabilitation centers affiliated with the Faculty and other places. This is the generation that will improve the health of the citizens of Israel as a whole and of the Negev in particular. We will instill our values – excellence, humanity, and cutting-edge advanced skills – in accordance with the guiding spirit of our school."