Celebrating an extensive career during which she founded the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Division for Children at Rambam Health Care Campus and changed the field in Israel, Professor Myriam Ben-Arush, Director of the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Division and Director of the Pediatric Division in the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital, is embarking on new adventures as she retires.
Dozens of dignitaries and senior Rambam staff members gathered recently for a farewell party honoring Professor Myriam Ben-Arush, Director of the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Division and Director of the Pediatric Division in the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital. At the end of January, after 35 years at Rambam and in the field of pediatric oncology in Israel, Professor Ben-Arush has retired.
Guests at the party—which was held at Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital—included former Knesset minister Meir Sheetrit; Bruce and Ruth Rappaport’s daughter Vered Rappaport-Drenger; Dr. Shifra Ash, Chairperson of the Israeli Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Dr. Joe Ninio and Dr. Daniel Ben-Shoshan who came from France; Dr. Michael Halberthal, Rambam’s Director and CEO; Professor Amos Etzioni, a former Director of Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital; representatives of the hospital's administration; many department directors and senior staff at Rambam; patients and their families; and Professor Ben-Arush’s family and friends.
Many of the dignitaries spoke about Professor Ben-Arush and her various roles as a career woman, a colleague, a trailblazer, a woman devoted to her family, and a physician with a unique connection to patients and their families.
“Professor Ben-Arush, is not only a doctor of supreme grace, but she is also beloved by all of her patients, and all who know her,” said Dr. Halberthal at the ceremony. “Thanks to the boundless dedication of Professor Ben-Arush, the department has always achieved notable accomplishments and won awards; she sets an example for everyone in Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital. We have had the great privilege to work with you; you have left your mark on the hospital both professionally and personally. You were always kind and courteous because that is who you are, and for that, Rambam says thank you.” The moving ceremony was officiated by Dr. Avi Weissman, Deputy Director of Rambam, and was accompanied by musical interludes as well as hilarious moments provided by Rambam's medical clowns.
During the event, which showed how one woman miraculously revolutionized the field of pediatric oncology in Northern Israel over the years, Professor Ben-Arush shared her feelings. “I stand here on the stage, feeling very excited and remembering my first day at Rambam. I arrived at an oncology institute for adults as a new immigrant from France, entering the office of Professor Eliezer Robinson, who was then the director. I had spent one month studying Hebrew, and Professor Robinson asked me when I could start working and, if that could be as soon as possible, as there was no pediatric cancer specialist. I responded that I would be very happy to start immediately,” she recalled. “We basically built an exemplary department together and became one big, loving family. Pediatric oncology is entering a fascinating period, and I told our interns and young doctors that I envy them. I will continue to invest a great deal of time and effort to promote pediatric oncology treatment in Israel, and will also continue to do research in Israel and abroad, as well as to advise and promote medicine in Israel. I am proud to be a partner in health promotion in the country ... All of the advances in pediatric oncology at Rambam Health Care Campus would not have been possible without the tremendous help I received from many individuals,” concluded Professor Ben-Arush.
Professor Ben-Arush was born in 1953 in France, and studied medicine in the French city of Dizeng, She immigrated to Israel in 1985 and began working at Rambam in October of that year. While working as a senior physician in the pediatric ward, in 1994 she was given the opportunity to direct the Pediatric Oncology Unit that she founded. In addition to serving as the department director at Rambam, Professor Ben-Arush has also served as Chair of the Israel Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology, as a national coordinator for the treatment of children with Burkitt lymphoma and sarcomas, international member of the children's oncology group in the USA, and other European organizations. In recent years, she served as director of Rambam’s Pediatric Division.
Over the years, Professor Ben-Arush received several honors and awards, including: outstanding staff from the Ministry of Health, Rambam's exemplary award in recognition of her work, the International Medical Organization's Excellence Award, and the French Legion of Honor Award.
Concomitant with her clinical practice, Professor Ben-Arush worked in research and academia. She serves as a full-time professor in the Technion's Faculty of Medicine. In addition, she has written more than 170 international press articles and has given approximately 150 lectures at national and international conferences. She is a co-editor of the Journal of Pediatric Hematology Oncology and editor-in-chief of a book on psychosocial aspects for children in pediatric oncology.
(L-R) Dr. Michael Halberthal, Joel Ben-Arush, Professor Myriam Ben-Arush, and Liora Otits – Director of Nursing at Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital.
Photography: Pioter Fliter, Rambam HCC