Wiessman gift to UTSW expands partnership with Israeli medical center

By Sharon Reynolds

Shaking on the renewed partnership agreement are Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern Medical Center, left, and Dr. Eyran Halpern, CEO of Rabin Medical Center (both seated). Joining Drs. Podolsky and Halpern for the occasion are (standing, left to right): David Wiessman, Bruria Wiessman, Ron Haddock, Pninit Cohen, Pinchas Cohen, Karen Morris, and Jeff Morris.

In 2010, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Rabin Medical Center (RMC) near Tel Aviv, Israel, established a global partnership to foster a faculty exchange program and joint research projects. Each institution brings unique strengths to the collaboration, leveraging the expertise of leading specialists at UT Southwestern and RMC to address complex medical problems and provide exceptional patient care. Past projects have enabled knowledge-sharing and joint research in areas such as oncology and emergency medicine.

David Wiessman, a longtime supporter of both institutions, recently made a lead gift of $350,000 to expand the collaboration in three areas: heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and fatty liver disease.

“I believe that the advantages of this program are only just beginning to be realized,” said Mr. Wiessman, Executive Chairman of Sonol Energy, Co-Owner of Gefen Capital and Tulip Winery, and Director of Delek US. “This project is a tremendous instrument for the benefit of both institutions as well as for patients in their respective countries and around the world.”

The gift will support the expansion of the faculty exchange program to include additional specialty areas as well as funding for fellowships and collaborative studies between the institutions – all to provide a channel for sharing research breakthroughs in areas of joint interest, such as heart disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

RMC is one of the largest and most widely respected medical centers in Israel. Among RMC’s centers of excellence, the Department of Organ Transplantation performs about 75 percent of all transplants in Israel; the heart surgery department is the largest in that country; and the Davidoff Cancer Center is one of the most advanced comprehensive cancer institutes in the Middle East.

“RMC is a leading medical facility in Israel and has research and clinical collaborations with major institutions worldwide. It is always challenging for physicians to gain broad and varied clinical experience in the early stages of their careers, and this agreement provides that valuable exchange of experience,” said Dr. Eyran Halpern, CEO of Rabin Medical Center. “The connection with UT Southwestern, which is one of the top academic medical institutions in the United States, allows physicians to reach unique clinical fields and establish ties between their clinical practice and medical research at the highest level.”

UT Southwestern is committed to being an active citizen in the global health community, and the growing emphasis on international health programs reinforces the Medical Center’s three-part mission of patient care, research, and education. Global partnerships are important to the study of medicine since people in other parts of the world are exposed to diseases that may be rare or nonexistent in the U.S. Leaders of the two institutions believe that international understanding and educational opportunities for students, postgraduate trainees, and faculty will be greatly enhanced by international academic and scientific cooperation.

“Collaborative research enables scientists to share and build on one another’s discoveries and has the potential to uncover new and more effective treatments for the most challenging medical problems we face today,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “Strategic partnerships like the one between our two medical centers have the power to accelerate and amplify the impact of our collective efforts.”

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can support this collaboration, please contact Darrin Goldin at 214-648-8933 or Email.