Family Medicine Residency Program for Palestinian Doctors

Preparations are underway to make Nazareth Hospital EMMS the center for Residency Training of Palestinian doctors in Family Medicine. One hope of this future program is for Palestinian doctors to bring specialized care to their West Bank communities.

Like the mobile clinic outreach initiative, this program seeks to address the issue of healthcare access for residents of under-served communities. Recognized as a teaching hospital with the Galilee Medical School, the Nazareth Hospital is accredited for specialization training of doctors in seven of its departments.

This past March, The Nazareth Project hired a consultant, Daniel J. Ostergaard, MD, a nationally-renowned expert in the field of Family Medicine with considerable international experience, to consult with Nazareth Hospital on starting its own Family Medicine Residency program. Dr. Ostergaard chairs the AAFP Center for International Health Initiatives Advisory Board.

NPI’s sponsorship of this consultancy falls under our Senior US Advisor program to provide technical assistance and educational exchange. Dr. Ostergaard joined hospital leadership, Dr. Bishara Bisharat and Dr. Suzy Srouji to meet with Israeli and Palestinian Health Ministries and deans of medical schools in both the West Bank and Israel.

In his report, Dr. Ostergaard writes:

“Family medicine residents will invigorate and challenge the teaching physicians and others on the professional staff. Over time, the patients and their families will appreciate that the care provided by these new family physicians incorporates the bio-psycho-social and holistic approach to patient care that can reduce the fragmentation of care.

“As a Christian hospital serving a primarily Arab population, the Nazareth Hospital-EMMS is in a most unique situation to make a major impact on health not only in its current major service area but in health care in the West Bank. Perhaps among all health care institutions in Israel, it is in a unique position with a great opportunity and responsibility, consistent with its fine original and continuing mission, to be an ‘instrument of cross-checkpoint medical education and care’.”