Inside the Spirit of Innovation at Soroka 2019 Gala

Photo credit: Jared Siskin, Getty Images courtesy of the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center

American Friends of Soroka Medical Center (AFSMC) hosted the Spirit of Innovation at Soroka Gala, during its seventh annual benefit dinner on April 3, 2019, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. More than 400 guests attended the auspicious event.

The event celebrated Soroka Medical Center’s successes in fostering scientific and medical innovation in the service of saving lives, positioning Soroka as a leader amongst Israeli hospitals and worldwide. The Gala raised an impressive amount of funds to support the new Negev BioBank, as well as acquire urgently needed equipment for its Genetics Institute.

Soroka Medical Center is currently working to develop the Negev BioBank (NBB), a joint initiative of the Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). This project, which began in November of 2018, is the first large-scale, population-based genetic archive in Israel.

The NBB will create valuable research opportunities that are expected to yield powerful insights into early detection, disease prevention, and breakthrough treatments that will save lives in Israel and globally. Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Fraiha, one of Soroka’s young doctors recently included in Forbes “30 Under 30” list will speak about the important genetic research project she initiated through her NGO GENESIS to prevent genetic diseases in the Middle East, especially within the Bedouin community.

Photo credit: Jared Siskin, Getty Images courtesy of the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center
“Soroka is a growing force for innovation in cancer care, integrating breakthrough research and technology,” remarks Professor Itzhak Avital, head of the Legacy Heritage Oncology Center and the Dr. Larry Norton Institute at Soroka Medical Center, “Soroka’s relationship with Ben Gurion University and its proximity to Israel’s cyber hub in Be’er Sheva, place it at the center of forward-thinking talent.”

The evening honored three innovators in their own realms. Dr. Julie Ratner, Ed.D. will receive the Healthcare Champion Medal of Honor. Dr. Ratner is the founder of the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, which helps breast cancer patients and their families cope with the physical and emotional aspects of breast cancer. This important foundation serves the East End of Long Island, by advocating for education on early detection and ensuring access to state-of-the-art comprehensive cancer treatment for the underserved.

“We’re all here to make the world in a better place,” states Dr. Julie Ratner, Ed.D. founder Ellen Hermanson Foundation. “Our collective determination has changed the medical landscape by providing state-of-the-art treatment along side a supportive environment to help women thrive through their recovery, regardless of their means.”
Photo credit: Jared Siskin, Getty Images courtesy of the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center

Edward A. Oates received the Visionary Award for technology and innovation. Mr. Oates co-founder of Oracle Corporation is a pioneer in the technology and music industries. Rock Your Business, his latest endeavor, brings world-class talent to corporations while providing team building and leadership workshops. Jewelry designer Orna Simkhai received the Inspired Leadership Award. Ms. Simkhai is the founder of Shema-Or, a jewelry line that incorporates prayer with precious metals and gems. Shema-Or serves as a model for businesses that seek to meld creativity and compassion with a focus on giving back.