The Class of 2017 graduated on May 24th and became the 16th cohort of the MSIH Alumni Association! It was a momentous occasion as the title of doctor was officially bestowed upon beaming MSIH students, who were surrounded by family, friends and faculty.
2017 Class Speaker, Esther Lee, MD
In her address, Esther reminisced fondly on her experiences at MSIH, and offered a message of hope to her cohort.
Esther declared to her classmates and friends, “May we give ourselves the same measure of hope we grant our patients. May we be agents of change, striving to bring restoration to all parts of health."
Virginia Byron, MD (R) with the family of the late Sakal Kiv, MD ('16).
Virginia received the inaugural Sakal Kiv Celebration of Life in Medicine Award, which was created in Dr. Kiv's honor.
This award is given to one graduating student who has modeled the qualities of respect, involvement, kindness and compassion with humor, joy and zest for life.
Class of 2003's Inaugural Reunion
L to R: Aviva Fohrer, MD, Rachel Hammel McDowell, MD and Susan Wallis, MD.
L to R: Dov Frankel, MD, and Simon Kotlyar, MD
L to R: Jenny Pisculli, MD and Aviva Fohrer, MD
L to R: Jennifer Coles, MD, MPH and Jenny Pisculli, MD
"Recently, my cohort - the Class of 2003 - had our very first class reunion since graduating from MSIH. It was one of the highlights of my year so far, and I only wished we had reunited earlier. For various reasons, not everyone was able to attend but certainly everyone's presence was felt.
One of the more exciting aspects of our reunion was the constant e-mail exchange we had as a class trying to arrange a time and place for us all to meet. We were also encouraged to write a quick Bio describing what we have done personally, professionally and socially since graduating medical school. To read what everyone in my class had done was most inspiring and made me even prouder to be an MSIH alumnus!
I hope my class will continue to meet on a more regular basis, and in the meantime, we will remain in touch via e-mail. We will not allow another 14 years to pass until we all meet again.
I would encourage any and all classes to follow suit as it was truly wonderful for us all to take a walk down memory lane together!"
-Dov Frankel, MD, MSc FACEP (’03)
Featured Alumna: Dr. LaShawn Worsley-McIver
LaShawn Worsley-McIver, MD, MPH ('04) is the new Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Advocacy at the American Diabetes Association (ADA). She has held a number of posts with the ADA, including her most previous position as the Vice President of Public Policy.
In her current role at the Association, LaShawn leads the legislative, regulatory, and legal advocacy efforts and initiates strategic relationships with policymakers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and industry to promote access to care, advocate for policy initiatives that focus on the prevention and treatment of diabetes and other chronic diseases. Partnering with the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and other nonprofit, health-centered organizations, LaShawn works to establish national policy platforms on behalf of people with chronic diseases and works to reduce health inequities among cultural groups in the U.S. LaShawn also liaises with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, which seeks to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities including recently leading a national strategy to prevent amputations related to diabetes complications.
Prior to entering MSIH, LaShawn's goal was to work internationally as a clinician. However, during her capstone global health clerkship in Kenya, LaShawn observed the large number of patients being seen far too late in the progression of their illnesses. She reflected on ways to use her medical education, skills and interests to prevent the spread of diseases and assuage their progression while also addressing the systemic inconsistencies in patient care.
Professor Lechaim Naggan, who was Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at BGU, encouraged LaShawn to complete a Master’s of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University. As part of her coursework, LaShawn performed community-based work in Baltimore, where she continued to witness disparities in the healthcare treatment of the diverse patient populations, and she was inspired to advocate on behalf of these groups. Later, LaShawn completed a policy fellowship at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Center for Policy Analysis and Research, where her studies focused on the impact of HIV/AIDS on African Americans. These experiences strengthened LaShawn’s inclination towards advocacy and changed the trajectory of her career.
“You can’t be afraid to follow the right path for you,” LaShawn shared. Exploring the less-traveled road led her to the American Diabetes Association. During her six-year tenure at the Association, LaShawn has worked alongside local, state and federal government agencies to develop, and strengthen, public policy affecting people with diabetes. Now in a chief executive role, LaShawn embraces the opportunity to have a systemic impact on the medical field especially as the Association seeks to broaden its work internationally. She thrives on driving population based strategies and influencing public policy initiatives that touch millions of lives.
MSIH Launches a New Website
Last month, MSIH launched a new, user-friendly website, with information for prospective students, current students, advisors and alumni.
On the refreshed website, alumni can easily share career updates, academic publications and professional opportunities. Degree verification and transcript requests can all be completed online. Visit the new website at http://msih.bgu.ac.il/
2017 Fundraising Campaign
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the MSIH inaugural class. Until this point, many alumni activities have been self-funded or financed by MSIH. The Alumni Association is beginning to raise funds to support our initiatives, including regional and national alumni gatherings, professional development, and other alumni-led endeavors.
“Recently, everyone should have been contacted regarding a fundraising campaign the Alumni Association is pursuing. To encourage giving, and considering this will mark the first time many of us donate to the organization, I want to let you know that I just became a monthly donor.
Getting on the AABGU website and donating was easy, much easier it seems than in the past. It took me about two minutes and I had the option to give a one-time donation or a little bit every month. I chose to give a small monthly donation as this sort of sustained giving is critical to building a financial base for our association. Imagine what we could do if 100 alumni gave $10 every month?! Amazing things for our alumni, like getting us back to the school to teach and mentor or out on International Health Elective rotations with our fourth year students as alumni counselors or even site coordinators. Big things are to come, and I am excited to be a partner in that effort!”
-Lt Col Brian H. Neese, MD, MPH, ('05) Global Health Liaison, United States Air Force International Affairs Division, Pentagon
Deborah Bloch, MD (‘13) completed her Pediatrics residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, PA. While a resident, Deborah organized two "Helping Babies Breathe" training courses, which teaches neonatal resuscitation in the first golden minute of life. The courses were to certify residents and attendings to be able to train health care providers in low-resource settings, who could then not only utilize the training in daily practice but also train other providers.
Deborah has started a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Though she is still developing her fellowship project, she is confident it will involve a cohort of mother-baby pairs in Kenya and examine transplacental transfer of antibodies towards vaccine-preventable diseases and infant response to BCG vaccine in the setting of maternal parasitemia, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control.
Sarit Polsky, MD, MPH (’04) is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine. She is also the director of the Pregnancy and Women’s Health Clinic at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, Adult Clinic.
Sarit is interested in how diabetes affects women over the adult life cycle during the reproductive years, menopause, and post-menopausal stages. Her early research examined risks to developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, such as excess weight and HIV treatment. Her early obesity studies focused on bariatric surgery, which is most often sought by women.
Currently, Sarit is a site principal investigator for the PERL Study (Preventing Early Renal Loss in Diabetes), an international, multi-site randomized controlled trial investigating a new way to help prevent or decrease the progression of kidney problems in individuals with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM). She also recently completed a study examining outcomes in pregnant women with T1DM using continuous glucose monitoring therapy with or without remote monitoring capabilities. Women with diabetes experience unique challenges, thus Sarit aims to examine strategies that can improve glycemic control and prevent long-term complications in women with T1DM.
Sanjai Dayal, MD (‘13) is involved in the Residents as Teachers Graduate Medical Education program at Duke University Medical Center in Chapel Hill, NC. This program is for residents interested in advanced training in teaching. He has also helped improve the medical student psychiatry curriculum by incorporating a substance use disorders lecture series and motivational interviewing training, given the lack of training medical students receive in these areas. Analyzing data from the students' performance and their attitudinal scales has shown that knowledge and attitudes related to substance use disorders and the patients who are afflicted have improved with the introduction of this course.
After he completes his addiction psychiatry fellowship at Yale University, Sanjai hopes to dedicate some of his time to serving the indigenous populations in Northern Canada where there is a scarcity of mental health providers.
Alumna Dr. Miriam Rahav & the Gold Humanism Honor Society
"I founded the MSIH chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) in 2003. Shortly thereafter, I attended the first ever biennial conference in 2004 in Chicago, where I was proud to represent MSIH.
The following year, I returned to Israel after my maternity leave, and I joined a younger class that did not know me as well, or induct me into the same honor society chapter I had founded. I always felt some regret about not being inducted, but dearly respected and loved the students who were inducted, and was proud to have started the chapter that recognized my wonderful colleagues.
In 2015, I received a survey from GHHS asking original attendees of the biennial in 2004 about where they were in their lives. I responded back with my enthusiasm about the organization, its tenets and how I was incorporating those same tenets into my daily work. I then received an email from the chair of the planning committee for the next biennial meeting, who asked if I might join the planning committee and represent physicians in practice.
You can imagine my excitement to get involved with GHHS again. For the past year and a half, I was honored to serve on the planning committee.
In March of this year, in the midst of opening Rahav Wellness, my very own Functional Medical Center in NYC, I traveled to Chicago to participate in the conference, and after 14 years of history with GHHS, was inducted into the GHHS that I love so much.
Mimoza Meholli, MD (‘05) - a fellow MSIH Alumna - was there at the conference as well. We each did not know the other would be attending. What a treat that was to see her! Mimoza is a remarkable person, and a physician who has received many accolades for her excellent clinical and teaching skills.
Founder of the GHHS, Dr. Arnold P. Gold, is a human treasure, known for his deep caring for humans and his pediatric patients in particular. Dr. Gold is also an old friend of Professor Glick. It was such a gift to share a moment with him, and express my gratitude to him for his life's work and contribution to medicine and my own experience in medicine.
The Gold Humanism Honor Society's conference was so inspirational, revitalizing and uplifting. It was a great reminder of the power of community, and the power of love to deepen meaning, and grow our personal and professional resiliency. These are tenets that have inspired the creation of Rahav Wellness, The Center for Collaborative Healing."
*Stoll Medical Group is a thriving young family medicine practice in the heart of center city Philadelphia, PA. They are growing very fast and looking for a caring and enthusiastic family doctor for their practice. The patient population is made up of mostly young working professionals but there are also care for older patients and patients with Medicaid. Stoll Medical Group provides comprehensive family medicine care including women's health, small procedures, preventive medicine, acute care, etc. They are tied into the University of Pennsylvania system and have close relationships with trusted specialists in the area for referrals. The office is fast-paced and a fun place to work with dedicated medical assistants and support staff.
If interested, or if you have any questions, please contact Jonah Mink, MD (‘12) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite alumni to share recent announcements, academic publications, honors and accolades or medical opportunities. We publish information on our graduates in the MSIH Alumni Association newsletter and on our website.