The Snyder Fellowship: Caring for the Arab Israeli Community

(L-R) Dr. Moti Lifshitz, RMC Deputy Directo;, Dr.Wattad, winner of the two-year Snyder Fellowship; and Dr. Jihad Bashara of the Infectious Diseases Unit, his teacher and mentor

Infectious diseases are a major cause of mortality and morbidity, accounting for 25 percent of all deaths worldwide, a totaling 17 million deaths per year. In Israel, as throughout the world, infectious diseases are more prevalent among low socioeconomic groups, particularly in the Arab Israeli community and among hospitalized patients who are prone to infections.

In response to these needs, AFRMC benefactor Harry Snyder has generously sponsored a project for an Arab Israeli physician to specialize in the study of infectious diseases through an accredited fellowship program at Rabin Medical Center. Upon completion, the physician will utilize his expertise within his own community and surrounding areas to help diagnose, treat and care for patients suffering from infectious diseases.

The physician chosen for the Harry Snyder Fellowship is Dr. Morad Wattad from the village of Bacqa Jat, who was very grateful for this opportunity. Dr. Wattad had demonstrated significant interest in the field of infectious diseases during his recently completed residency in internal medicine at Rabin Medical Center. Two months into the program, Dr. Wattad has already become familiar with all aspects of the microbiological laboratory and has begun his clinical work with hospital patients suffering from infectious diseases from both surgical and nonsurgical departments. He is supervised by senior physicians and by Dr. Jihad Bishara, head of the Unit of Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Wattad also receives patients nightly in his community clinic in Bacqa Jat, through referrals from his own village as well as from other surrounding Arab villages. He has already built up a sterling reputation. A 26 year old woman who had been suffering from severe stomach pains and intermittent fever came to Dr. Wattad after her family physician could not diagnose the problem. Dr. Wattad asked for a blood smear and found that she was suffering from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. He prescribed the proper medication and the woman is now pain free and healthy again. Another patient, a 28 year old man, began to suffer from epileptic attacks after returning from a trip to South America. He underwent an MRI and CT scan and was believed to have a tumor. However, Dr. Wattad found him to be suffering from a parasitic infection which could be treated with medication, which was far from a possibly cancerous tumor.

Thanks to Harry Snyder's donation, these patients as well as many others within the community and at Rabin Medical Center, will be able to receive more advanced lifesaving care for a wide spectrum of infectious diseases.

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