Magen David Adom and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev are affiliating in an academic initiative designed to improve training for paramedics and emergency medical technicians, as well as improve the quality of pre-hospital emergency care in Israel and potentially around the world.

“Just as some of the most innovative and leading-edge medical centers are designated as ‘teaching hospitals,’ we’re officially making Magen David Adom a teaching EMS organization,” said Eli Jaffe, deputy director for community health and a paramedic at Magen David Adom.

The affiliation, he added, will enhance MDA’s research abilities and expose the organization to a broader international audience through academic journals.

“MDA has experience in certain areas from which other EMS organizations can benefit, such as running a mass-vaccination program, and treating scores of people injured in rocket attacks and other multi-casualty incidents,” he said. “This affiliation will provide us with a better mechanism for sharing our learnings.”

Professor Chaim Hames, BGU’s rector (provost), said “we value and recognize the professional and academic ability of MDA’s leaders who are experts in emergency medicine, response to multi-casualty events and the management of the nation’s blood services. Through this enhanced academic affiliation, we will be playing a major role in improving the training of paramedics who will be using our new simulation center and expect to participate in joint research that could lead to developments in the EMS field, and ultimately, save more lives.”

“Our students and MDA have already been training together for more than 25 years,” said Oren Wacht, head of Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Emergency Medicine and its medical-simulation center. “This affiliation provides us with an opportunity to capitalize on a number of synergies between the two organizations.”

That includes coordinating activities between BGU’s three-year bachelor’s degree program in emergency medicine and MDA’s paramedic school in Ramat Gan, as well as sharing experiences and instructors between the two programs.

Wacht, who is also a volunteer paramedic with MDA, said the ultimate goal is to provide faster and more effective pre-hospital treatment. “By researching pre-hospital emergency care,” he said, “there’s an opportunity to challenge widely accepted protocols and to develop innovative approaches that can improve results for patients.”

A senior EMT with Magen David Adom practices a procedure on a high-tech mannequin. Credit: Courtesy.

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