Middle East's Leading Autism Center to be Established by Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center | האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Middle East's Leading Autism Center to be Established by Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center


Planned investment of $75 million USD

Interdisciplinary university-based center will be the leader in the field of autism in Israel and the Middle East

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Hadassah Medical Center will establish the first interdisciplinary university-based autism center in the Middle East. The Autism Center is a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort bridging several faculties within the Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center, anchored in the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine.

The Autism Center will bring together cutting-edge research, clinical services, state of the art training and education for professionals and parents in the community. Research will be informed by the relationship with the community, which will in turn lead to better clinical practice, public programming and policies in support of those who deal with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Prof. David Lichtstein, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University, said: "Our goal in establishing the Autism Center is to lead Israel and the Middle East in research, training, clinical services and community engagement for the benefit of individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families. By bringing together the relevant disciplines at the Hebrew University, including medicine, social work and education, and combining them with the clinical excellence of the Hadassah Medical Center, the Autism Center will be positioned to achieve important breakthroughs in the research, diagnosis and treatment of autism."

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder diagnosed in approximately 1% of children. The Israel Ministries of Education, Health, and Welfare recognize ASD as a top priority and provide diagnostic services, intervention programs, and support for families. Yet despite these efforts, significant gaps exist within the system. The Autism Center will fill these gaps within the context of the first interdisciplinary, university-based autism center in Israel.

The proposed combination of research, education, and training with clinical and community work is rare in autism centers worldwide. While some universities in the Middle East have extensive autism research programs, and others have specific associations with clinical services, none approximates the comprehensive, collaborative model proposed here.

Universities abroad follow the model of either focusing on research, or work with a community service agency through which applied research projects are established. The Autism Center aims to learn from and work with existing centers, and grow to serve as a model by expanding on current models of interdisciplinary research and service.

Hadassah Medical Center is a world-class university medical institution with a global reputation for excellence in caring and curing. It is distinguished by its innovative approach to complex medical problems and the cooperative efforts of its medical and research teams to provide individualized attention to individual problems. Dealing with virtually every conceivable aspect of modern medicine and serving as a national referral center for the most complex and challenging medical cases, it provides the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services, as well as attending to the daily needs of the local population and providing sophisticated treatment for international patients.

About the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine is a comprehensive training and research institution. Its mission is to educate Israel's finest medical personnel and deliver biomedical research breakthroughs that alleviate human suffering and improve health care throughout the world. The Faculty encompasses five schools offering comprehensive curricula to serve tomorrow's medical needs. In addition to the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, the Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, and the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine provide the education and skills that enable the Faculty's graduates to establish and deliver the highest standards of research and treatment in Israel and around the world. With two major Institutes, the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) and the Institute of Drug Research, the Faculty conducts fundamental and applied research essential to understanding and finding therapies for the illnesses that challenge medical science, among them cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and infectious diseases.​ The student body includes over 2500 undergraduates, over 1000 graduate students, and approximately 70 postdoctoral fellows per year. For more information, visit https://medicine.ekmd.huji.ac.il/En.

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Middle East's Leading Autism Center to be Established by Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center