In every car is a story of Israel. A Druze IDF soldier doing rehabilitation from a combat injury. An Orthodox woman pregnant for the first time coming for her first ultrasound with her husband. An Arab-Israeli man in heart failure who finally cleared the waiting list for a transplant. A ten-year-old girl from a Russian immigrant family in Ashdod coming for a checkup. And that’s just four out of 21,000 cars. Every day.
Sheba Medical Center was founded in 1948 as Israel’s national hospital, and today is the largest and most comprehensive medical center in the Middle East. Ranked as one of the top ten hospitals in the world three years in a row, Sheba is the only medical center in Israel that combines an acute care hospital and a rehabilitation hospital on one campus, and it is at the forefront of medical treatments, patient care, research and education. More than a dozen of Israel’s national centers are housed there, including the National Burn Center, National Virology Laboratory, and, National Center for Health Policy and Epidemiology,
Almost 20% of Israelis have some contact with Sheba in 1.6 million clinical visits annually. 10,000 professionals, including 1,700 doctors and over 200 Ph.D.’s and 3,200 researchers, technicians and lab workers engage in 25% of all medical research in Israel and 3,300 clinical trials each year. This capability and leadership is why the Israel put Sheba in charge of Israel’s entire national Covid-19 effort.
Sheba also plays an indispensable role for the IDF. If a soldier is injured from Eilat to north of Tel Aviv, they will almost certainly be helicoptered to Sheba. And almost 100% of injured soldiers will do their rehab at Sheba, which houses Israel’s National Center for Rehabilitation of Injured Soldiers. And of course, many IDF medical personnel are trained there.
Sheba is also an essential part of how Israel brings healing and humanitarian outreach to the world. When Israel sends a medical delegation to a human disaster, it is usually Sheba staff and equipment. Sheba houses the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response, which leads the way through preparation, response, and training for humanitarian missions worldwide from remote villages in Africa, to Greece, Haiti, Central America, New Guinea, and beyond. Sheba even deployed a team to Italy to help contain their COVID-19 wave.
Because of its size and capabilities, Sheba is part of Israel’s diplomacy as well. Following the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Sheba immediately made history as the first Israeli medical center to partner with the UAE’s National Investment in Abu Dhabi. The second plane from Israel to Abu Dhabi had Sheba staff on board and cooperative medical agreements are already being implemented. Sheba also treats patients from other countries across the Middle East as well as Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. While Israel is 20% Arab-Israeli, Sheba staff is 25% Arab-Israeli, and it is an island of coexistence and cooperation.
Sheba Medical Center is also one of the most important innovators of health technology, not only in Israel, but globally. Through its ARC Innovation Center, Sheba leads the digital healthcare revolution and is the largest launch pad and ecosystem for healthcare innovation and development in Israel. With more than 100 start-ups in its incubator, Sheba originates 20 biomedical patent applications per year in everything from big data and artificial intelligence, to expanding telemedicine, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, surgical innovation, and rehabilitation. There are already high tech medical products for retail sale in the US that were incubated at Sheba with more to come.
Among the important lessons of the global pandemic was how interconnected we all are biologically and the critical need for health innovation and rapid response to health challenges. Sheba Medical Center has quietly become a global leader in healthcare delivery and innovation and another reason for pride in how Israeli helps improve lives around the world.