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American Friends of Soroka Medical Center Raises Funds for Research Projects

Edward A. Oats, Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld and Shlomi Codish attend The Spirit of Soroka Gala | Photographer Jared Siskin, Getty Images courtesy of the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center

American Friends of Soroka Medical Center (AFSMC) hosted the Spirit of Innovation at Soroka Gala, during its seventh annual benefit dinner, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. More than 400 guests are expected to attend. The event celebrated Soroka Medical Center’s successes in fostering scientific and medical innovation in the service of saving lives, positioning Soroka as a leader amongst Israeli hospitals and worldwide. The gala raised major funds that will support the new Negev BioBank and important genetic research projects at Soroka Medical Center.

“Soroka is a growing force for innovation in cancer care, integrating breakthrough research and technology,” said Professor Itzhak Avital, head of the Legacy Heritage Oncology Center and the Dr. Larry Norton Institute at Soroka Medical Center. “Soroka’s relationship with Ben Gurion University and its proximity to Israel’s cyber hub in Be’er Sheva, place it at the center of forward-thinking talent.”

The evening honored three innovators in their own realms. Dr. Julie Ratner, Ed.D. received the Healthcare Champion Medal of Honor. Dr. Ratner is the founder of the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, which helps breast cancer patients and their families cope with the physical and emotional aspects of breast cancer. This important foundation serves the East End of Long Island, by advocating for education on early detection and ensuring access to state-of-the-art comprehensive cancer treatment for the underserved.

“We’re all here to make the world in a better place,” Dr. Ratner said. Ed.D. “Our collective determination has changed the medical landscape by providing state-of-the-art treatment alongside a supportive environment to help women thrive through their recovery, regardless of their means.”

Edward Oates received the Visionary Award for technology and innovation. Oates is a co-founder of Oracle Corporation is a pioneer in the technology and music industries. Rock Your Business, his latest endeavor, brings world-class talent to corporations while providing team building and leadership workshops.

“I believe that the breakthrough research conducted at Soroka will have a similar global impact,” Oates said during his speech. “Tonight, we are here raising money for Soroka’s Biobank — a database that will be filled with samples of biological material, including blood and tumor specimens. It will benefit all future patients of Soroka Medical Center and will, ultimately, benefit people throughout the world, as so much learning will be possible because of Soroka’s Biobank. This is innovation, this is life-saving data analysis.”

Jewelry designer Orna Simkhai received the Inspired Leadership Award. Simkhai is the founder of Shema-Or, a jewelry line that incorporates prayer with precious metals and gems. Shema-Or serves as a model for businesses that seek to meld creativity and compassion with a focus on giving back.

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