Jan. 13, 2020

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Prof. Haim Doron was remembered fondly during the Naming Ceremony of The Division of Community Health and the Inaugural Memorial Lecture in his name last week in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Prof. Doron was one of the visionary founders of the Medical School and played a pivotal role in healthcare policy in the South as head of the Negev region for the Clalit Health Fund. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, he made Aliyah in 1953 after having studied to be a doctor because he heard that Israel needed doctors.

In addition to his own devoted service, Doron arranged for 250 more doctors from South America to make Aliyah over the years.

Prof. Amos Katz, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and a member of the first class of the new medical school in 1974, recalled his own personal connection to Prof. Doron. "I was assigned to his clinic during my studies. The loyalty and dedication to his patients were an inspiration to me," he told the audience.

Soroka University Medical Center Director-General Dr. Shlomi Codish said they were all "thankful for Prof. Doron's vision and we must continue to fulfill it." 

Dr. Carmi Margalit, the first head of the Division of Community Health, explained the rationale behind the creation of the department and reminisced about his personal encounters with Prof. Doron and his lasting legacy. "The idea was to encourage clinicians and community workers to work together. To remind the clinicians about the issues of the local population and remind the community workers about the specialties of the clinicians," he said. Margalit recalled that Prof. Doron "taught me what Zionism was. During my job interview, he asked me about my background. Then he said, 'What is Zionism? It is making Aliyah. My grandfather used to say that Aliyah was just like taking a bus ride. There are lots of stops and if you last until the final stop then you're there.'" Margalit also recalled that Prof. Doron secured a house for him so he could stay in Israel "and I am still living in that same house over 40 years later."

Hanna Holland, Prof. Doron's daughter, thanked the University and the Hospital for commemorating her father. "There is no better place than here in the Negev."

After the lecture, a plaque was unveiled in the Division.

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Prof. Haim Doron Memorial Lecture

Dr. Stephen C. Schoenbaum was the keynote speaker at the first Prof. Haim Doron Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Goldman Family. Dr. Schoenbaum was a personal friend of Prof. Doron's.

Schoenbaum chose to discuss vision and leadership using Prof. Doron as a model. He contended that Prof. Doron's vision was very broad and deep, that he had implemented much of it, and that there were still elements of it that needed to be implemented.

He defined vision as "What a leader sees in the world, how it resonates with their values, and how it could look better."

He defined leadership as "change involving groups of people." It was not about "being in charge" but of "taking care of the people in your charge."

According to Schoenbaum, Prof. Doron epitomized vision and leadership, and every action he took was reflected through those prisms. From bringing doctors to the South to creating primary care teams of physicians and nurses, and many other actions, he strived to produce an excellent healthcare system in the South and throughout Israel, attuned to the needs of its residents.

Schoenbaum argued that the current challenges were to strengthen those primary care teams and to adapt teaching to the 21st century. For example, faculty need development in order to replace frontal lectures with interactive discussions. He also advocated more interprofessional education.

Schoenbaum is a Special Advisor to the President of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. He has extensive experience as a clinician, epidemiologist, manager, and grant-maker. From 2000 to 2010, he was Executive Vice President for Programs at The Commonwealth Fund and Executive Director of its Commission on a High-Performance Health System. Prior to that, he was the Medical Director and then President of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England, a mixed model HMO delivery system in Providence, RI. He helped to found the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has been President of the Board of the American College of Physician Executives (now American Association for Physician Leadership), Adjunct Professor of Healthcare Leadership at Brown University, and is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Until 2017 he served as the Head of BGU's Faculty International Academic Review Committee.