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Archive for September, 2011

The Technion American Medical School (TeAMS) offers North American students a fully American medical school curriculum. It offers all classes in English, and complete preparation for a career in the United States or anywhere else. But this American-style med-school education takes place against a backdrop no American school can match: the richness of Israeli culture and the wide ranging scientific resources of the Technion.

We recently caught up with Professor Andrew J. Levy, who was named TeAMS Program Leader earlier this year, for a Q&A session to find out more about the TeAMS program.

Can you briefly describe the TeAMS program? How does it differ and what are the advantages as compared to other American Medical Schools in Israel?

Dr. Andrew Levy

The TeAMS program provides a four-year medical degree program at the Technion Faculty of Medicine.  The program accepts approximately 25-30 students from the United States and Canada each year.

One of the main advantages of the TeAMS program is its small class size, which provides more personal attention to each student and allows greater participation in class. This more intimate setting has also let us set up a system whereby each student has a one-on-one interaction with a specific faculty member for all four years of their tenure here. The faculty member serves as a student advisor for all academic and non-academic issues.

A second advantage of the TeAMS program concerns research. All of our students are provided the framework to carry out medical research at one of the laboratories in the Technion Faculty of Medicine. Furthermore, any student that wishes to carry out such research will get a small stipend to do this work. Typically, about one half of the students end up publishing an original paper as a result of this work. The quality of this research is generally high, as evidenced by the program’s peer-reviewed grant support, as well as publication in medical journals.

One last advantage that I would like to mention involves clinical rotations. We have recently been selected by the American Association of Medical Colleges to be one of 15 international medical schools to participate in a program involving an exchange of students between participating U.S. institutions.  This will facilitate the ability of our students to obtain clinical rotations at prestigious U.S. schools during their fourth year. We are the only Israeli medical school with this affiliation.

What are the main reasons TeAMS students choose to study at the Technion, as opposed to a school in the states? When they graduate do they have to pass the same licensing exams as their American counterparts?

About one half of our students choose to study at the Technion after having been accepted by a U.S. medical school. In some cases this is due simply to a desire to be in Israel.

Our students take the same exams needed for licensure as any student studying in the U.S. Therefore, our graduates become licensed to practice medicine in the U.S., as well as Israel.

What types of residencies can TeAMS graduates get in Israel and the U.S.? Can you please explain the matching programs and how TeAMs students fare?

TeAMS student Karyn Winkler gains valuable clinical experience while studying at the Technion

All TeAMS students are eligible for obtaining residencies in the U.S. or in Israel. The matching program in the U.S. is a system whereby a medical student selects where he or she will perform postgraduate training (residency) in the US.  There are about 30,000 spots in the U.S. at all of the different hospitals, and each year about 45,000 students apply for these positions.   The hospitals select the students based on their exam scores, clinical performance and letters of recommendation.    Our students have obtained residencies at outstanding institutions in the U.S., a trend we expect to only grow stronger.

Do TeAMS students typically stay in Israel upon graduation or do they return to the U.S.?

Each year 2-3 students decide to stay in Israel upon graduation. The rest return to the U.S.  However, one interesting fact is that many graduates who go to the U.S. for residency training return to Israel upon completion.

You are the new director of TeAMs. Can you share a bit about your own background and your vision for the future of the TeAMs program?

I was born and raised in the U.S. I attended Yale University for my undergraduate education, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. I received my M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University. I trained in internal medicine at Hopkins and then in Cardiology at Harvard.

The Rappaport Faculty of Medicine

I made Aliyah with my wife and 5 kids in 1997. I run a basic molecular cardiology laboratory at the Technion, supported by NIH and other international granting agencies. There are about 15 students, post-docs and fellows working in my lab.  I am currently Full Professor at the Medical School, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and Director of the TeAMS program.

My vision for TeAMS is that we will help each student reach his or her maximum potential — providing a challenging yet supportive environment in which each student will receive personalized attention.  Technion graduates are innovators, and I believe they will be leaders in the next generation — armed with the skills to bring cutting-edge technology to the bedside to improve patient care and reduce health care costs.  This is no pipedream. I know our students can do this; we just need to provide them the tools.

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