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Going Beyond the Medical Norm

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About the Technion American Medical School in Haifa, Israel

For many American students who want to study medicine, the option to study abroad is an attractive one. And for Jewish students, studying in Israel is becoming an increasingly popular option. One program to which many American Jewish students are applying is TEAMS (The Technion American Medical School Program). It offers qualified US pre-med college graduates the opportunity to pursue a career as physicians at a world-class technological institute—the Technion, amidst the stunning backdrop of Haifa’s Mediterranean coastline.

“I was supposed to go to med school in America,” explains fourth year TEAMS student, Lauren Astrug. “But then, In between my junior and senior years I went on a Birthright program to Israel and fell totally in love with the country. When I came back to America I made the spontaneous decision to apply to programs in Israel. I didn’t want to look back in twenty years time and regret never having got out of Chicago. And thank goodness I did,” she adds. “Because the past four years at the Technion have absolutely lived up to and surpassed all my expectations.”

The TEAMS program began seven years ago and is designed to prepare students for the USMLE licensing exams and residency in North America. With affiliations to over twenty medical centers in the US, students can carry out their clinical rotations in these centers, providing them with an increased edge in terms of residency matching. In fact, of the 2012 TEAMS graduates, over 85% have found residency positions at the most competitive programs in the US. This contrasts sharply to the 65% success rate of those who applied for the match worldwide.

In addition to the obvious religious, cultural and social advantages that studying in Israel brings to many American Jewish students, studying at the Technion offers other significant and distinct benefits. The Technion itself is a world recognized institute of science and applied science, which, since its founding 40 years ago, has seen the introduction of many innovations that have changed the face of medical research and patient care. And TEAMS requires its students to engage in basic or clinical research as part of their studies. “The quality of research at the Technion is outstanding and certainly comparable to the best universities in the US,” comments Professor Andrew Levy, Vice-Dean of the medical school and Director of the TEAMS program. “The TEAMS program attracts those students who are interested in being innovators in the future. Combining medicine and science is what it takes find the cure for a disease, and an appreciation of these two elements is what we aim to instill in our students. And we’ve been remarkably successful. Many of our students have won prestigious awards and presented their research at national meetings and a large percentage end up publishing their work!”

Another unique feature of the TEAMS program is its small class sizes. With just thirty students being admitted each year, each student can benefit from a unique level of individual attention and develop a strong rapport with members of faculty. The mentoring program, in which each student is paired with a personal advisor for the entire four-year program, also significantly enhances the students’ experience by providing them with a supportive and nurturing learning and living environment.

Studying in the TEAMS program has been an incredible professional and personal learning experience for me,” continues Lauren. “The atmosphere in school makes me feel like I’m part of a close-knit family. I’m being taught by leading professors in their fields and also get to spend time in the lab carrying out research with them. And to top it all off, I live in beautiful and sunny Haifa and get to go for runs on the beach every morning! What could be more perfect?”

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