By Rochelle Maruch Miller

The Technion American Medical Students (TeAMS) program offers an excellent opportunity for qualified U.S. or Canadian pre-med college graduate students to pursue a career as physicians through the M.D. degree in the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Since the program’s inception in 1983, all of the hundreds of graduates have successfully passed the licensing exams to return to the United States or Canada. All graduates have been accepted for residency positions, many among prestigious specialties and subspecialties. The program couples a strong curriculum in basic medical sciences at a world-class technical institute with clinical education at some of the finest medical centers in the country. Studying in Israel enriches the medical school experience considerably. Headed by Professor Eliezer Shalev, dean of the Technion Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Andrew Levy, director of TeAMS, the administration is working to ensure that each student reaches his or her maximum potential, providing a challenging and yet supportive environment in which to receive full individual attention.

The 5TJT spoke with Professor Levy during his recent visit to the United States.

RMM: Professor Levy, please tell us about yourself.

AL: I am a religious Zionist, born and raised in the United States. I received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. I received my M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University. I trained in internal medicine at Hopkins and then in cardiology at Harvard. I made aliyah with my wife and five kids in 1997. I run a basic molecular technology laboratory at the Technion, supported by NIH and other international granting agencies. I am currently full professor at the medical school, vice dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and director of the TeAMS Program.

RMM: What are some of the advantages of the TeAMS program?

AL: The small class size provides more personal attention to each student and allows greater participation in class. This more intimate setting has also let us set up a system whereby each student has a one-on-one interaction with a specific faculty member for all four years of their tenure here. The faculty member serves as a student advisor for all academic and non-academic issues.

Another advantage of the TeAMS program concerns research. All of our students are provided the framework to carry out medical research at one of the laboratories in the Technion Faculty of Medicine. Furthermore, any student that wishes to carry out such research will receive a small stipend to do this work. Typically, about one half of the students end up publishing an original paper as a result of this work. The quality of this research is generally high, as evidenced by the program’s peer review grant support, as well as publication in medical journals.

One last advantage I would like to mention involves clinical rotations. We have recently been selected by the American Association of Medical Colleges to be one of 15 international medical schools to participate in a program involving an exchange of students between participating U.S. institutions. This will facilitate the ability of our students to obtain clinical rotations at prestigious U.S. schools during their fourth year. We are the only Israeli medical school with this affiliation.

RMM: Please describe the significance of these clinical rotations.

AL: During the fourth year of medical studies, TeAMS students go abroad to the United States or Canada and spend 12 weeks in medical centers. Obtaining these rotations is competitive. The rotations are extremely helpful in positioning oneself for the residency match. The fourth year students are doing their clinical rotations at such places as Johns Hopkins, Case Western, University of Michigan, Wisconsin Medical Center, Wayne State, University of Washington, and others.

RMM: What is the main reason students choose to enroll at the TeAMS Program at Technion?

AL: About one half of our students choose to study at the Technion after having been accepted by a U.S. medical school. Sometimes, the choice is due to a simple decision to remain in Israel. We are recognized as having an excellent product and have an unbelievable match rate of 97% of our students qualifying. I allow every student to go with the psak of his or her rav and we are very sensitive to and highly supportive of every student. We offer an outstanding program and welcome all inquiries from prospective students and their parents.

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