Dean Goldschmidt Joins Governor Scott on Trade Mission to Israel

Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., joined Florida Governor Rick Scott last month on a trade mission to Israel aimed at attracting Israeli companies to Florida and fostering stronger ties between the Sunshine State and the Jewish state.

For Dean Goldschmidt, who, together with the Miller School’s Joseph Rosenblatt and Michael Lewis, has visited Israel several times to forge collaborations with Israel’s newest medical school, the trade mission provided the chance to become better acquainted with the governor, and help him learn more about Israel and the opportunities beneficial to both Israel and Florida.

“The governor is interested in the impressive bio-tech and bio-med growth of Israel and wanted to benefit from the interaction with those of us who have an established relationship with Israel,” said Dean Goldschmidt, who is also Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of UHealth. “There was also an impressive desire – genuine and sincere – to learn more about Israel and its people. He was notably interested and touched by what he saw.’’

The trip, which included visits to Yad Vashem, the living memorial to the Holocaust, the Western Wall, and other historic and sacred sites, as well as meetings with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, was scheduled to coincide with the Globes Israel Business Conference. Held December 11-12 in Tel Aviv, the conference attracted more than 3,000 delegates, including Israel’s leaders, top executives, diplomats, and other important decision makers. Speaking at the conference, Governor Scott reiterated his commitment to creating more jobs and a business-friendly environment in Florida.

The governor also attended the ceremony where Dean Goldschmidt and Ran Tur-Kaspa, M.D., dean of the new medical school that Bar-Ilan University opened last fall in Israel’s medically underserved northern Galilee region, signed a memorandum of understanding to continue their medical schools’ collaboration on a variety of projects. Among them is the development of a cancer center with integrated cancer research conducted by basic and translational scientists and clinical faculty.

A research powerhouse with four regional campuses, Bar-Ilan University was formally chosen last year by Israel’s Council for Higher Education to establish Israel’s fifth medical school in the Galilee’s ancient and holy city of Safed. The relationship between UM and BIU was initiated by Dr. Rosenblatt, professor of medicine and interim director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Dr. Lewis, professor of anesthesiology and Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, who were motivated by their close ties to Israel and recognized early on the benefits of cross-cultural collaboration between the two universities.

Dr. Rosenblatt, who attended high school in Israel, and Dr. Lewis, who completed some of his residency training there, were both Fulbright Scholars in Israel and joined the Dean as members of the governor’s delegation.

“The Galilee is a severely underserved area where cancer patients have to drive hours for treatment,” Rosenblatt said. “Helping BIU create a vibrant cancer center with significant clinical and research dimensions in the Galilee area is a unique opportunity. When great scientists work together, everybody benefits.’’

Also joining the 48-member delegation were UM Trustee Stuart Miller, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, and his wife Stephanie, a family medicine practitioner and great communicator of medical and scientific breakthroughs. According to an account written by her husband for the Florida Today newspaper, Dr. Haridopolos “was especially excited’’ to witness the signing ceremony.

Dean Goldschmidt also signed a memorandum of understanding with the medical school at Ben Gurion University in southern Israel’s Negev desert, where he had the opportunity to speak about UM’s programs and projects, including the new Life Science & Technology Park. The Miller School and Ben Gurion’s Medical School for International Health plan to collaborate on diabetes, cancer, neuroscience and cardiovascular research.

“The University of Miami, with its long history of global health education, is in a unique position to make this collaboration particularly productive,” Lewis said.

In addition to learning more about Israel’s business and medical landscape – including the fact that most of Israel’s trauma surgeons were trained at Jackson Memorial Hospital by Miller School faculty doctors – Governor Scott also toured Israel Aerospace Industries, a global leader in developing military and commercial aerospace technology. As Dean Goldschmidt noted, Governor Scott seemed most impressed by Israel’s rich and challenging history, entrepreneurial spirit and promising future.

“He clearly understands that we are more and more becoming a global world and, as a consequence, that Florida having direct interactions with important allies of the United States is critical,’’ Dean Goldschmidt said. “And we were glad to have the chance to get to know our head of state better. He has been a great ally to the University of Miami.’’

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