Israel’s First Interprofessional Student-run Community Health Center

April 9, 2019
Kevin Hattori

The Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine has established “Ruach Tova” (Hebrew for “Good Spirit”), an interprofessional student-run community health center in the City of Haifa. The center offers services free of charge, catering to a local urban population that has difficulty obtaining medical treatment, whether due to lack of means or special status, including at risk, homeless, and LGBTQ youth.

Students at Ruach Tova, with Professor Ruti Margalit (standing, third from left)

The first educational-social initiative of its kind in Israel, the center connects medical students at the Technion to the urban fabric and to the population it will serve in the future.

The center is operated by medical students from the Technion under the close supervision of volunteer doctors and in collaboration with various health professions: nurses, social workers, and various caregivers. Student participation is anchored in the curriculum of the Faculty of Medicine and other faculties involved.

With a wonderful team, the center is headed by Faculty of Medicine Professor Ruti Margalit, a physician with extensive experience in community medicine who knows the model and has led influential academic and medical initiatives in the United States, India, and Africa.

“Health is a basic human right. We  are working to make it accessible to all,” said Prof. Margalit. “When a person is provided with basic needs – food, shelter, health, personal security – she is able to look beyond, be productive, and contribute to the surrounding community and its development. Participating students experience empowerment, enrichment, and first hand leadership opportunity as they take part in the development and management of this significant project.”

“Such centers have been operating for the past decade in the United States, Canada, and Europe but in Israel this is the first center of its kind, and we hope to give it a unique Israeli character and help establish similar centers around the country,” she continued. “Hundreds of doctors, nurses, social workers, artists, and of course medical and other students joined the project.”

The “Ruach Tova” Center is located in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa, a city known for its openness and co-existence. The center operates in coordination with the City of Haifa, HMOs, local health and welfare offices , hospitals, non-profit organizations, and other entities operating in the field.

As part of the interprofessional work that characterizes it, Ruach Tova will be redesigned and renovated by students from the Technion’s Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, in the framework of a community involvement course led by architects Dafna Fisher-Gewirtzman, Dan Price and Michal Bleicher.

For more than a century, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has pioneered in science and technology education and delivered world-changing impact. Proudly a global university, the Technion has long leveraged boundary-crossing collaborations to advance breakthrough research and technologies. Now with a presence in three countries, the Technion will prepare the next generation of global innovators. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world, innovating in fields from cancer research and sustainable energy to quantum computing and computer science to do good around the world.

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