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Hadassah Medical Relief Organization Holds First Congress

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The historic first Congress of the Hadassah Medical Relief Association (HMRA), which brought together leaders in government, medicine and philanthropy from four continents, has just been concluded after three days of intensive sessions in Paris.

According to Bernice Tannenbaum, chairman of the almost three-year-old organization, delegates from II countries convened “to relate the challenge of medical science today to the unique role of the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) which, as the Mideast’s pacesetter in healing, teaching and research, is the focus of medicine between Rome and Tokyo.”

Simultaneous translation into French, English, Spanish and Hebrew was necessary to accommodate both panelists and members, many of whom represented the highest levels of medical, legal and community involvement in their home countries.

A symbol of the truly international scope of the undertaking and its significance in fostering breakthroughs in cooperation between countries was the announcement at the Congress of the accord between the French and Israeli governments to support the creation of Europe’s and the Mideast’s first medical imaging treatment and research center, which will be located at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The announcement was made by Ovadia Soffer, the Israeli Ambassador to France, on behalf of Hubert Curien, the French Cabinet Minister for Research and Technology, and Dr. Henri Atlan, chief of Hadassah’s Department of Medical Biophysics, who was the impetus behind the creation of the project.

Highlights of the unprecedented gathering included multi-national symposia on current medical economics and “Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die,” an in-depth debate of the medical, legal, psychological, neurological and ethical ramifications of current medicine led by Dr. Charles Sulman of France.

The Congress was held under the patronage of Georgina Dufoix, France’s Minister of Social Affairs and National Solidarity. Ruth Popkin, national president of Hadassah in the United States, and Frieda Lewis, national chairperson of the HMO for the United States, were leaders of some of the pivotal sessions which also included an address by noted lawyer and writer Samuel Pisar on “Human Resources.”

The Congress resulted in a renewed dedication among the participants to expand the international support of the HMO and to build closer relations between the members of the HMRA and Israel via the mechanism of HMO involvement.

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