The Jewish Federation of Northern NJ's (JFNNJ) delegation of first responders, including eight police force members, a senior Emergency Room physician and a paramedic, visited Israel through the Jewish Agency's  PartnershiptoGether framework and its connection with Nahariya. While in Israel, the delegation spent a morning at the Galilee Medical Center (GMC) to get an inside look at our facility and hear about our experiences and emergency preparation protocols for mass casualty events.

Dr. David Kniaz, Senior Physician in the GMC's Emergency Department explained the procedures including the checklists that the Medical Center uses to ensure that incoming patients with different types of injuries will be processed in the right manner as quickly as possible. The group toured the Underground Hospital, the first of its kind in the world, and the only one used to date when it provided safe and continuous care for 34 days during the 2006 Second Lebanon War after the main hospital was evacuated.

The group was impressed by the GMC's ability to provide secure treatment even in times of crisis. Miriam Allenson, Director, Communications, JFNNJ accompanied the delegation and remarked:

"I’ve always been an admirer of the Galilee Medical Center. The Underground Hospital is a marvel. That it was the first in Israel makes me feel proud even though I’m only a Nahariyani through our Partnership! What really impressed me on this trip was the table top demo of what to do during a mass casualty incident. When disaster strikes it’s too late to figure out what everyone needs to do. Galilee Medical Center doesn’t have to do any figuring out under those circumstances because they already have."

Detective Captain Timothy Torell, Officer-In-Charge, Criminal Investigations Bureau, Englewood City Police Department added:

"Our tour of the Galilee Medical Center was truly awe-inspiring on so many levels. Despite being hit with a rocket at one point in its proud history, the men and women of the hospital complex adapted and to this day remain truly dedicated to saving and restoring lives no matter creed, color or religion – even in some cases treating the very people intending it harm. What an amazing place!"

 Lafe Bush, Head of the Paramedic Unit at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood said, "The Galilee Medical Center has proven that through teamwork, training, and infrastructure investment, hospitals can be sustained during all types of emergencies and mass casualty incidents."

The first responder's visit, coordinated by the GMC's International Affairs Department, promotes the Partnership2Gether platform which brings the global Jewish world together through collaboration in fields that unite them. Dr. Arie Eisenman, Head of Internal Medicine in the Emergency Department and Co-Chair of the GMC's Partnership Medical Task Force met with the group over lunch to continue the conversation about our institution and other aspects of Israel's health system.

The visit, clearly a success, is just one example of how the GMC makes Israel personal for medical and other professionals abroad through PartnershiptoGether and personal connections that enable both sides to learn and grow. According to Chief of Bergenfield's Police Department, Cathy Madalone:

"The presentation (at the GMC) given to the North Jersey group of First Responders was both informative and inspirational. The staff was extremely knowledgeable. The use of “Eva’s Board” (simulation table) brought the entire presentation to life. I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given by the Jewish Federation and for all of the new friends I met along the way."
For more on the First Responders visit to the GMC see Kenneth Ehrenberg, Chief of Police, Borough of Paramus Police Department's thank you note to Mr. Jason M. James, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President, for this "once in a lifetime opportunity to visit such a great facility (GMC)" in the attached PDF.