Philadelphia's Thomas Jefferson University announced the opening of the Jefferson Israel Center at a ceremony in Jerusalem on Tuesday, with the goal of boosting existing partnerships between Jefferson and Israeli colleges and universities, and opening the door to new possibilities.
We plan to expand existing partnerships and find new ones, "said Mark Tykocinski, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at Jefferson, The Jerusalem Post .
Jefferson also signed a joint statement with the Authority. Innovation from Israel that calls for proposals to link Israeli health care companies with the academic and clinical firm of Jefferson in order to promote cutting-edge products and services for the US market.
Jefferson Zvi Grunwald He will serve as executive director of the center, relocating at least one third of the year to Israel.Grunwald is a native Israeli who has lived in the US For decades, he serves as professor of anesthesiology James D. Wentzler at Sidney Kimmel Medical College and is best known for his experience in working with patients with progressive ossifying fibrodysplasia, an extreme disease rare entity of connective tissue.
The center does not have a physical location yet but plans to open one soon. Jefferson has had alliances in Israel for more than five years. In 2013, Jefferson and Rehovot's Weizmann Institute of Science presented a joint call for proposals in the areas of computational and systems biology, which resulted in nine pairs of collaborative research. Three years ago, Jefferson became the preferred site of elective clinical training for medical students at the Hebrew University on the Tzameret track of the FID.
The university also has commercial alliances with the Israeli biotechnology sector, including Breath of Life Pharma and Alpha Tau Medical.
"This process with Israel happened a long time ago, but it solidifies today," said Grunwald.
The center, explained Tykocinski, "will give life to our vision of redefining 'what is humanly possible.'
" Israel's value proposition is its thriving ecosystem of innovation and compelling overlap with Jefferson's definite strengths, among they life sciences, information sciences, medicine, digital health, population health intelligence, industrial design, smart textiles and architecture, "said Tykocinski.
Jefferson moved quickly to finalize several mergers, becoming one of the fastest growing academic medical centers in the United States, its hospital serves more than 4.3 million patients annually and has more than 6,600 physicians in its clinical orbit.
Jefferson has 10 universities and four schools, along with an important health system, Jefferson Health.
"Jefferson's system works like the Israeli system "said Grunwald, citing the dizzying starting arena of the Jewish state. "You can do things."
Grunwald said plans are already underway to expand existing joint ventures, expand programmatic research relationships with more Israeli academic centers, expand educational links beyond medical schools and develop collaborative health care research projects.
The center will also work together with the Israel Innovation Authority and the Google LaunchPad Accelerator in Tel Aviv.
TYKOCINSKI SAID that Israeli companies seeking product validation in the US market will now be able to better access Jefferson's clinical laboratories and its expansive health sciences system, including its PIER Consortium (Partners in Innovation, Education and Research). ): an optimized clinical trial system.
Jefferson recently hosted 22 digital health programs. ups on campus. Tykocinski explained that, while Jefferson develops new businesses around his own discoveries, he has also developed a model by which the university can take the discoveries of others and propel them.
"Jefferson's connection with Israeli start-ups has been a small part of that development," Tykocinski said. "We are moving at an Israeli pace and that makes it so exciting, we feel at home in this country."
The center in Isreal will become the second center of Jefferson. The first was established in Japan five years ago and focuses on humanism and medicine. Jefferson plans to open additional centers in Italy, India and Latin America.
Tykocinski explained that each center has a different approach. In Italy, the objective will be to collaborate with the European Union. In India, Jefferson plans to expand existing collaborative research on maternal and child health in low-income countries. And in Latin America, the focus will be on global health.
Tykocinski said that in addition to the focus on Israeli innovation, Jefferson hopes to work with Israel to address the issues of health disparities in the US. UU And Israel, specifically through partnerships with Ben-Gurion University, Sheba Medical Center and Rambam Hospital, all of which serve diverse and low-income communities.
In addition, Jefferson hopes to start collaborations with the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and the School of Design, Engineering and Commerce of Kanbar University and JeffDesign: a university design track within the university that applies design thinking to professional health education.
"We plan to provide an industrial design or smart textile projects for students on our East Falls campus and the same project for students at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design or Bezalel and make solutions based on diversity of thought work on all continents, experience and culture, "said Grunwald.
Jefferson held the official launch ceremony last week to coincide with the Philadelphia Orchestra tour for the country's 70th birthday, Jefferson was the university's sponsor.
The orchestra was met with several protests in response to their decision to play in Israel. Pro-Palestinian activists protested in front of the orchestra's Kimmel Center for several weeks and protesters interrupted one of the orchestra's performances in Brussels, while two women stood up with chants of "Free and Free Palestine," prompting the music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin approximately 25 minutes.
Tykocinski said he does not fear similar repercussions for the decision of the university to open the Jefferson Israel Center and that it would not yield to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement directed at the Jewish state.
"We are proud to work with Israel," said Tykocinski. "We believe that health and the arts rise above politics."
Grunwald added: "We are excited about innovation and collaboration, and this excitement crosses the boundaries between oceans and countries."