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It's not every month that DARA receives coverage from the media, but we're happy to announce two recent mentions of DARA - and on issues close to our heart and mission. Also in this newsletter, we bring you exciting innovation from Israel in medical cannabis and a provocative piece on the history of discrimination in pain medicine.

Read on to see the latest developments in the medical world regarding anti-Semitism, anti-Israel activity, and racism.
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OMA: Holocaust should be taught to medical students

Last November, Dr. Frank Sommers spoke from the heart to medical colleagues in Toronto.

The occasion was a meeting of the Ontario Medical Association, and Sommers was advocating that the group support Holocaust education for health professionals.

Sommers, who co-founded DARA and continues to serve as a member of its board of directors, was born in Budapest in 1943. He and his immediate family survived by hiding in the basements of bombed-out buildings.

“My larger extended family were shipped, stripped of their human dignity and murdered in the gas chambers and crematoria of Nazi extermination camps, which were planned, produced and directly supervised by German doctors and scientists,” Sommers told the OMA meeting.

He had long believed that medical schools should teach their students about the Holocaust. But a recent opinion piece in the Lancet pushed him to take action. The piece, Medicine and the Holocaust – it’s Time to Teach, was written by the publication's editor, Richard Horton, and urged schools to add the Holocaust to their curriculum.

The OMA voted unanimously to “endorse and promote the recent call by the editor of The Lancet to include the Holocaust in the curriculum of health professionals.”

Sommers - or Frank, as we know him - was thrilled.

These lessons "can serve as powerful vehicles for nurturing students’ humanistic qualities, that is, their deep-seated convictions about one’s obligations to others, especially others in need,” he told the Canadian Jewish News.
 
We're thrilled, too, Frank! Congrats on the big win, and we look forward to hearing how this important initiative helps cultivate anti-racism and anti-Semitism in the next generation of doctors.

DARA leaders analyze Richard Horton's journey

Richard Horton's stance on Holocaust education needs to be seen in context - and two members of the DARA leadership team collaborated provided that context in another recent article in the CJN.

As DARA members know, the Lancet's editor has used his prestigious publication's pages to criticize Israel for its policies. His opinion piece supporting Holocaust education continues the important work of reclaiming the Lancet's reputation.

The CJN op-ed - which was written by Dr. Bernard Goldman, an honorary DARA director, and Dr. Shawna Novak, one of the newest members of our board of directors - describes the journey Horton has trod.

The turning point came in Israel, where Horton visited Rambam Hospital for three days.

"It was three days of first-hand exposure for Horton," write Goldman and Novak, "and he felt so impacted by this visit that he gave a parting lecture at Rambam Hospital on Geopolitical Issues and Responsibilities of Medical and Scientific Journals where he shared his regret for the unnecessary polarization."

Kudos once again to our DARA leaders for their engagement on these important issues in the media. 

If any DARA members would like to become engaged on these important issues, contact us at daradoctors@gmail.com.

Medical cannabis tech incubator to open in Israel


The world’s first government-sponsored medical cannabis technology incubator is opening in Israel.

Called CanNegev and located in the southern city of Yeruham, the incubator is expected to bring together 30 startup companies over the next five years.

Cannabis is increasingly used to treat chronic pain, and CanNegev is designed to help companies access the growing global market for medical cannabis.

Supporters of the new incubator also hope it grows the economy of this small city in Israel's southern region, or Negev in Hebrew.

“The incubator will serve as an anchor for innovators from around the world and will upgrade the activities of entrepreneurs, who are already in the process of allocation of land for the establishment of cannabis extraction plants in Yeroham,” said the city's Mayor Tal Ohana.

CanNegev is one of three incubators in peripheral areas announced by the Israeli Innovation Authority and Economy Ministry. The second promotes Industry 4.0 development and is located in northern Israel. The third will boost cleantech, agritech, plastics and advanced industry - and will be built in the Idan Hanegev Industrial Park, near the Bedouin city of Rahat, not far from Beersheba. 

The long history of discrimination in pain medicine

Doctors look to diagnose their patients objectively - to treat their symptoms effectively and treat them with respect.

But how can they manage the subjectivity inherent in being human? 

This piece from the Atlantic delves into the long history of discrimination in pain medicine with an interview of Daniel Goldberg, who teaches at the University of Colorado.

It is required reading for any health professional. Knowing our own biases is the first step in channeling them. By understanding the long history of discrimination in the murky yet very real experience of patients' pain, we can all improve our diagnostic accuracy.

 

For more information on DARA activities, visit us at www.daradocs.org/.
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