Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national paramedic and Red Cross service, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), one of Israel’s leading universities, are affiliating in an academic initiative designed to improve training for paramedics and EMTs and the quality of pre-hospital emergency care in Israel and potentially around the world.
The academic affiliation is believed to be the first between a national EMS service and a university.
“Just as some of the most innovative and leading-edge medical centres are designated as ‘teaching hospitals,’ we’re officially making Magen David Adom a teaching EMS organization,” said Dr. Eli Jaffe, deputy director for community health and a paramedic at Magen David Adom.
The affiliation, Dr. Jaffe added, will enhance MDA’s research abilities and expose the organization’s research 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.”
“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,” said Prof. Chaim Hames, BGU’s rector (provost).
“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 centre and expect to participate in joint research that could lead to developments in the EMS field and ultimately save more lives,” Prof. Hames added.
“Our students and MDA have already been training together for more than 25 years,” said Dr. Oren Wacht, head of Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Emergency Medicine and its cutting-edge medical simulation centre. “This affiliation provides us with an opportunity to capitalize on a number of synergies between the two organizations.”
This includes coordinating activities between BGU’s three-year Bachelor of Emergency Medicine program and MDA’s paramedic school in Ramat Gan, as well as sharing experiences and instructors between the two programs.
Dr. Wacht, who is also a volunteer paramedic with MDA, explained that the ultimate goal is to provide faster and more effective pre-hospital treatment. “By researching pre-hospital emergency care there’s an opportunity to challenge widely accepted protocols and to develop new, innovative approaches that can improve results for patients.”