June 14, 2024
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American Friends of Soroka Medical Center Celebrates Gala

(Courtesy of AFSMC) American Friends of Soroka Medical Center (AFSMC) recently celebrated Tomorrow’s Health Today, its ninth annual gala event, at Cipriani, 25 Broadway, in New York City. The event spotlighted Israel’s Soroka Medical Center’s leadership in medical and scientific research and successes in fostering innovation in the service of saving lives, supporting a new innovation center in the Negev. Two extraordinary leaders, Mr. Pedro Lichtinger and Dr. Jay E. Selman, were recognized for careers dedicated to advancing global health and alleviating human suffering.

Two hundred fifty guests attended the auspicious event, with scores more participating via livestream. The board president, Caroline Friedfertig, reflected on the connection of Soroka Medical Center and American Friends, as she said, “AFSMC plays a vital role in connecting our American community with this major medical center—it is thrilling to see the difference we have made over the years in supporting the hospital and its exciting new projects.” Thanks to the combined efforts of friends around the world, Soroka Medical Center is one of Israel’s leading institutions in the fastest-growing and most diverse region advancing global health.

Dr. Selman, recipient of the Inspired Leadership Award, is a powerhouse of wisdom and compassion with a strong dedication to Soroka, which, combined with his impressive clinical experience and generosity, make him an exceptional leader. He is the president emeritus of American Friends of Soroka Medical Center and serves as a director of the nonprofit. Presenting the Inspired Leadership Award, Susie Stern, a community activist and political advocate, reflected on how Soroka meets the ever-growing needs of the residents of the Negev, the country’s most diverse region. She added, “Dr. Selman is a brilliant doctor who has been a friend for over 40 years. His heart, soul and immense intellect goes into everything he does, especially for Soroka. Dr. Selman is a very special person who works every single day of his life to create a world as it ought to be and is the perfect person to receive the Inspired Leadership Award tonight.”

As board leader, Dr. Selman is inspired by Soroka Medical Center’s core humanitarian values. He expressed his gratitude for Soroka, as he said, “Tonight is about the 1.6 million people of the Negev, which represents half of the area of the state of Israel and the people who work at Soroka—the nurses, the therapists, the physicians, the support staff and all of their families, who work under difficult and dangerous conditions providing life-saving healing to all in need, while focusing on groundbreaking research in cancer, heart disease, environment and many other fields. They are not just taking care of patients but making active contributions benefiting global health. Together, we are celebrating Soroka’s achievements and preparing for even greater achievements.”

Pedro Lichtinger’s outstanding global leadership in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries is directed by the belief that innovation is always at the heart of advancement in medical science. He is the recipient of the Healthcare Champion Award. As the co-founder, chairman & CEO at Starton Therapeutics, a company dedicated to improving and extending the lives of cancer patients, Lichtinger is an expert in the drug-development cycle from proof of concept to loss of exclusivity. While accepting his award, bestowed by Dr. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, Lichtinger stated: “Soroka Medical Center is a unique center of research that will change the future of clinical research, medicine and health. I am honored to be receiving Soroka’s Healthcare Champion Award.” With his deep connection to Israel, Pedro Lichtinger
is extremely proud to be supporting medical advancement at Soroka.

Dr. Bourla, AFSMC’s gala honorary chair, highlighted the importance of innovation and medical breakthroughs to help individuals live longer and better lives. While leading one of the most vital healthcare emergency responses in recent history, he is having a transformative impact on human health by fulfilling Pfizer’s purpose: breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.

As longtime friend and colleague of Lichtinger, Dr. Bourla said, “I am proud to call Pedro Lichtinger my dear friend—he is one of the smartest people I know, a brilliant businessman, an excellent negotiator and sees opportunities when others could not.” He added, “At Pfizer, I say ‘growth never just happens—growth is created,’ a phrase I have learned from Pedro, bringing clarity to my work and how I communicate with others. Congratulations, Pedro. I am forever grateful for the lessons you have taught me that have helped shape my life and career.”

In reflecting on the decision for Israel to become the real-world test case of the vaccine’s efficacy, Bourla stated: “As a small nation with universal healthcare, sophisticated systems for collecting and sharing data and deep experience in crisis management, Israel was considered an ideal place for studying the vaccine in a real-world setting. As one of Israel’s leading institutions, with a pioneering spirit and deep focus on clinical research, Soroka represents an ideal place for innovation and medical breakthroughs.”

The executive Director of AFSMC, Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld, stated, “From bench to bedside, research and innovation at Soroka Medical Center saves lives. Soroka shines as a beacon of hope, healing and innovation by delivering ‘tomorrow’s health today,’ enriching the lives of Negev residents, while advancing global health.” The funds raised at the event help support a new Innovation Center at the André Deloro Medical Research Institute at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, Israel. The Institute will focus on advancement of personalized medicine and the study, prevention and cure of disease. It will equip Israel’s most promising physician-researchers with the laboratories, resources, guidance and administrative support they need to initiate transformational, patient-centered medical research that benefits the region, the country and the world.

For additional information, contact us at [email protected] or call Executive Director Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld at 914-725-9070.

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