News and Events

Will Rambam Solve Israel’s Doctor Shortage?

Publication Date: 10/24/2021 1:30 PM

To date, approximately 700 immigrant physicians who participated in a training program at Rambam Health Care Campus have successfully integrated into the Israeli healthcare system, and this year’s class is the largest so far. Their licensing exam success rate is higher than that of most Israeli students who studied abroad, and this year stood at 88.5 percent.

Participants in the current training course for immigrant doctors. Photography: Rambam HCCParticipants in the current training course for immigrant doctors. Photography: Rambam HCC

On Thursday October 21, a ceremony was held at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa to launch a course for 70 immigrant doctors, aimed at preparing them for Israel’s medical licensing test. The program, conducted as a partnership between the “Israeli Experience” company and Rambam Knowledge Center, is being held at Rambam. The Israeli Experience is a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency and partners with them as part of the Masa Project, established to encourage young Jewish people from abroad, to stay and live in Israel for a period of one semester up to one year. The physicians participating in the program at Rambam are carefully selected from graduates of Eastern European medical faculties recognized by the Ministry of Health.

While the cost of medical studies in Israel is estimated at NIS 600,000 and lasts for six years, the Rambam doctors' program costs about NIS 40,000, and in less than a year, the immigrant doctors are integrated into their specializations in hospitals throughout the country.

Many of the program’s graduates have moving stories – one intern served as a doctor in the Ultra-Orthodox military corps, other interns have helped women with emergency births of premature babies and saved people's lives in ambulances, and one of the graduates is a fifth-generation doctor.

The Ministry of Health is full of praise for the program, with former Minister of Health, Yaakov Litzman calling it at the time “the Sixth Faculty of Medicine”. Rambam and the Israeli Experience believe that this is a possible model for solving the country’s doctor shortage, which will become even more challenging with a shortening of interns' hospital shifts.

“For several years now, I have been accompanying this impressive project, and every year I am impressed by the growth – both in the number of participants and in the increase in their caliber. Beyond Zionism and the possibilities for quality immigrants, the program has the particularly exciting potential for helping the plight of doctors in Israel,” said Dr. Avi Weissman, Rambam's Deputy Director, who congratulated the program’s newest participants.