Medical education exchange ongoing since 1992

April 19, 2006 

WORCESTER, Mass— Four students from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Medical School (BGU) in Beer Sheva, Israel have arrived in Worcester for two months of medical education American-style at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). They are here thanks to an international medical student exchange program between the two medical schools which has been in operation since 1992.

All in their final year of BGU’s six-year program, Saad Amit, Tali Gombo, Shiri Shpilman and Eran Zimran arrived in Massachusetts on April 1st and are completing two electives of their choice at area hospitals and clinics. In addition to their professional and educational experiences, the Israelis are enjoying a cultural exchange as they celebrate Passover Seders at local homes and have opportunities to participate in social activities, including events sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.

The UMMS/BGU exchange program is funded by the Frederick Krupp Foundation in Medical Education, which was established by his family in honor of the late Frederick Krupp as a tribute to his lifelong passion for health care education and for BGU, of which he and his brothers were founders. The exchange program was established at UMMS after Mr. Krupp’s passing by his widow, Selma, and children, Karen and Gene Kroner, his granddaughter, Rachel, as well as his brother William and the late Philip Krupp and their respective families, along with UMMS Chancellor and Dean Aaron Lazare and the late UMMS faculty member, philanthropist and medical education pioneer Gerald L. Haidak, MD.  The program was initiated informally by Dr. Haidak and the Krupp family in the late 1970s.  The longstanding bond between the two medical schools is a strong one, informed by their common mission to provide quality medical education with an emphasis on primary care and service to communities where there is a physician shortage.

A Massachusetts native devoted to humanistic philanthropies and deeply committed to Israel, Frederick Krupp was a founder of BGU, and served as president of the American Associates of BGU.  Established in 1974, BGU is renowned for its emphasis on primary and community health care – like its international partner institution, UMMS. Through the generosity of Mr. Krupp and his family, that common thread was tied with the formal establishment of the medical school student exchange program between the two schools which was made official at a  ceremony during the BGU Annual Board Meeting in May 1992.  That was followed by the signing of a formal University of Massachusetts – Ben-Gurion University affiliation agreement signed by Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld during his first trade mission to Israel a few months thereafter.

About the University Center of Health Sciences of Ben-Gurion University 
The University Center of Health Sciences of Ben-Gurion University comprises a medical school, schools for community-oriented allied health professions, health administration and health economics, a school for continuing education and Soroka Hospital, the largest teaching hospital in Israel’s enormous Negev desert. The University has played a major role in developing medical services and in advancing technology and desert agriculture for the Negev region, which is home to a diverse population of recent immigrants, town-dwellers, kibbutzim, and semi-nomadic Bedouin.

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, attracting more than $174 million in research funding annually.  Ranked fourth in the 2006 US News & World Report annual ranking of 125 primary care medical schools in the nation, UMMS comprises a medical school, graduate school of nursing, graduate school of biomedical sciences and an active research enterprise, and is a leader in health sciences education, research and public service.