Coordinators of a program to train licensed Eastern European physicians believe the program could potentially alleviate Israel’s physician and hospital intern shortage, while also saving on the time and costs involved to train more new doctors. The cost of medical studies to the State of Israel is estimated to be approximately NIS 750,000-NIS 1,000,000 per medical student over six years of medical studies while the estimated cost of Rambam’s course is approximately NIS 50,000 per physician.
Seventy new immigrants—doctors from Eastern Europe—recently completed the Physician Preparation Course at Rambam Health Care Campus. The new graduates are licensed physicians who came to Israel before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in order to participate in the Jewish Agency’s Masa Young Doctors program, in conjunction with Israel Experience and Rambam’s Knowledge Center.
Subsequent to the war in Ukraine, a record number of 170 physicians—mainly from Russia and Ukraine—have applied for acceptance to the next course, scheduled to start in September. The supervisors estimate that more than 100 of the applicants will be approved. “We are eager to complete the course, pass the exam, and start working as full-fledged doctors in Israeli hospitals,” explained one of the program participants.
Graduates of the last course underwent far more than the usual stress of their studies because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and their concern for families left behind. Dr. Valeria Droborov, a graduate of that course, recounts the immense concern for her family in Kharkiv. “It was clear that my family had to leave Ukraine. My cousin, who serves in the IDF, told me that the Jewish Agency arranges bus transport for refugees evacuating Kharkiv. In early March, my mother, aunt, and cousin got on a Jewish Agency bus bound for Moldova. From there to Romania and then on to Israel. My father is still in Ukraine because men are not allowed to leave. My father, grandfather, and uncle are hiding in different apartments. I hope that we will be able to bring them to Israel when men are permitted to leave.”
The program’s graduates have among the highest licensing test pass rates in the country. During the recent graduation ceremony, Rambam Deputy Director Dr. Yael Shachor-Meyouhas addressed the graduating class. “Most doctors who immigrate to Israel integrate into the healthcare system successfully. We need you. We need your great passion in our mission to care for patients.”
This story is excerpted from an article that recently appeared on the Hebrew-language news website Ynet.