Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Israel’s Medical Brain Drain

January 8, 2013 3:55 pm 1 comment

Technion Institute for Science in Haifa, Israel. Photo: wiki commons.

Last week the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published a disturbing report suggesting that 14% of Israelis holding PhDs in the Sciences and Engineering leave Israel for three or more years and 7% of Israeli doctors move abroad. This latest report represents the most recent in a series of damning reports on Israelis leaving their home country attracted by post graduate opportunities abroad.

Reported by all the nation’s major papers; the coverage was largely pessimistic.

The so called ‘Brain Drain’ effecting Israel is not unique to our country. Most developed countries follow the same pattern; the higher the education level, the higher the likelihood of migration. Israel is no different. Where the difference does lie is that generally, Israelis show an incredibly high motivation to return.

Israelis generally feel a stronger dilemma when choosing to leave their homeland. Writing in Haaretz recently, Professor Tamar Hermann from the Open University of Israel said that it is generally much more difficult for Israelis to give up Israel as their home and very few leave Israel with the intention to leave permanently.

For most, there always is a strong desire to return home. “Few people pack their life’s belongings in advance with the aim of moving elsewhere permanently,” said Hermann.

In the field of medicine it is not unusual for my colleagues to travel abroad but I see it as  a process of enrichment and they return to Israel as better physicians with experience gained from practicing abroad. I work with physicians who have worked at hospitals and universities across the USA, Canada and Europe bringing back their expertise to teach the Israeli doctors of the future. The Israeli government has increased incentives to entice academic and professional citizens to return and recent initiatives to increase world-class scientific research centers in Israel are providing new options for research. Last year alone the Israeli medical research industry showcased breakthroughs in the fields of Alzheimers, diabetes, infertility, viruses and asthma to name but a few. Israel made inroads in medical marijuana research and just across the road from the Technion, Rambam hospital is building the world’s largest fortified underground emergency hospital.

True, some of Israel’s brightest scientists are currently working abroad but let’s not forget the influx of educated and professional Olim (immigrants) who are enriching Israeli society. Both Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency run successful programs for Physicians to move to Israel and the numbers of doctors moving to Israel is steadily rising. Another interesting phenomena that the Israeli government is now capitalizing on, is those doctors who have carried out their American medical training here in Israel.

Directing one of Israel’s three American medical schools, the standard of our students has always been a sense of pride to myself and my colleagues. Our students are highly trained by some of Israel’s best scientists and physicians and they return to America with a medical education to rival some of the best medical schools across the USA. But four years in Israel, learning to love the country and developing a desire to influence Israeli society has left many students wanting to stay.

The Israeli government is currently debating changes in the regulations governing the necessary exams needed to be taken by students studying in the American Medical Schools in Israel. Easing the additional testing required to practice medicine in Israel is just one way to encourage these students to stay in the country they have grown to love. I take great pride in seeing students return, not only to practice medicine in Israel but even to teach the next generation of doctors here at the Technion.

I believe that these new moves to capitalize on the increasing popularity of American Medical Programs in Israel will immensely benefit our country’s medical system. With groundbreaking medical discoveries and world-class hospitals, Israel is an exciting and innovative location to practice medicine. Now more than ever I reflect on my move from America to Israel with pride, joy, and a profound sense of success. Medicine is evolving the world over but here in Israel, one of the fastest developing countries in the world, we are experiencing an incredibly exciting period of medical discovery and innovation.

1 Comment

  • Did the geniuses who authored that report realize that Israeli universities REQUIRE post-graduate work abroad?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →