South Florida Hospital News
Monday December 17, 2018
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December 2018 - Volume 15 - Issue 6

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A Historic Partnership Will Help Save Lives in Florida During Future Disasters

 
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Thomas Schmuki Photography
From Left to Right - Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, M.D., former Surgeon General of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Director General of Sheba Medical Center, Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, Director of the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba Medical Center and Maurice Plough, FAU Foundation Board and Vice Chair, Board of Advisors Executive Committee, FAU International Center for Emergency Management 
 
South Florida has a powerful new tool when it comes to treating patients and saving lives during potentially deadly storms and other wide scale emergencies. World renowned doctors from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer - the Middle East’s largest and most comprehensive hospital – just taught a weeklong intensive training program at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for first responders to improve readiness and response during disasters. 
 
FAU is now one of the few universities in the world to partner with an international hospital to develop emergency management training programs that are informed with a global perspective and world-respected expertise. 
 
“What FAU benefits from is a partnership with not just any major international hospital, but with the most renowned in the Middle East, whose experts impart wisdom from a lifetime of disaster response and humanitarian missions across the globe. All the experts from Sheba who led this training were exceptional in their experience and their teaching methods,” said Rebekah Dickinson, Chief Program Officer at FAU. 
 
During the training, first responders focused on the best ways to handle a variety of emergency scenarios including mass casualty events or a chemical, biological or radioactive attack. Participants took part in interactive drills, visited the Palm Beach Emergency Operations Center and reviewed after-action reports from the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting and 2017 hurricane season.
 
When it comes to emergencies – hurricanes are always a top concern in South Florida. This past October, dozens of people died after hurricane Michael swept through Florida. 
And just last year, the unpredictable and powerful Hurricane Irma took over a hundred lives, caused more than 50 billion dollars’ worth of damage and forced 6 million Florida residents to evacuate. 
 
During these types of crises, first responders, along with public safety and health professionals, are almost immediately on the ground to help. Organizing the emergency response in the first few hours and days of a humanitarian crisis is imperative to saving the maximum amount of innocent lives, and Sheba Medical Center is a world leader in emergency response. 
 
Plus, FAU is getting the expertise of an innovative, medical powerhouse. Sheba is the only hospital in Israel that combines an acute care hospital and a rehabilitation hospital on one campus, and it is at the forefront of medical treatments, patient care, research and education. 
 
Leading the FAU course was Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, M.D., former Surgeon General of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Director General of Sheba Medical Center; Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, Director of the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba Medical Center; Prof. Kobi Peleg, Director of The National Center for Trauma & Emergency Medicine Research in The Gertner Institute for Health Policy & Epidemiology; Dr. Yoram Klein, Director of Trauma and Acute Surgery at Sheba Medical Center and Dr. Ross Gross, a Senior psychiatrist and PTSD specialist at Sheba. All are renowned experts who have traveled the world administering much-needed care in a wide range of disaster scenarios.
 
“It was such an incredible opportunity to work with FAU,” said Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, Director General of Sheba Medical Center. “Sheba and FAU share the same vision when it comes to reaching out to the community and the world during catastrophic events. This training program was an inspiring collaboration and we look forward to working together again.”
 
“FAU should be applauded for its extraordinary work to make this partnership a reality. This kind of commitment to saving lives embodies the ethos of Sheba. Together, we will work to protect and make the citizens of Florida safer than ever,” said Sheba’s Prof. Elhanan Bar-On. 
 
FAU plans to offer an enhanced version of this training with Sheba next year. 
 
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