Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, director of the Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, has won the 2020 Yigal Alon Prize for Pioneering Excellence, the hospital announced.
The award was due to his “masterful” management of the center during his tenure throughout the years, and for exemplifying the phrase “Hope Without Boundaries.”
With multiple awards and accolades to his name, Bar-On is one of the hospitals most seasoned emergency medical response professionals, with three decades of experience under his belt. This includes his tenure in the IDF Medical Corps Reserves, he participated in numerous IDF humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations around the world. Some of the most notable disasters where he lent aid include numerous earthquakes, such as India in 2001, Haiti in 2010 and Nepal in 2015. He also helped provide relief in 2013 to the Philippines, after the country was devastated by Typhoon Yolanda.
His humanitarian aid efforts was not limited to just IDF humanitarian missions, however. Over the years, he has taken part in numerous missions with government agencies and NGOs. These include Turkey following an earthquake in 1999 and India following the 2004 tsunami. Bar-On maintains his ties with international health and relief groups such as the World Health Organization, Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. In fact, he still lends his experience to the latter, working to train medical teams in countries across the world, ranging from India and China to Mozambique, Tanzania and more.
Bar-On has also worked on other medical projects, such as joint Israeli-Palestinian medical training projects and coordinating medical assistance to Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. But among his most recent and notable achievements was in January 2020, when he was one of the first Israeli doctors to vocally identify the need to prepare for the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Consequently, he helped spearhead the construction of the country’s first dedicated coronavirus isolation unit, which was done at Sheba Medical Center in order to treat Israeli citizens with coronavirus returning from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
Bar-On has also helped train Palestinian doctors to treat and manage coronavirus, and in May urged Israel work together and support the Palestinian Authority to prevent large numbers of cases entering Israel and the PA from one another.
“Because this is a completely new scenario, sharing knowledge among healthcare providers is of utmost importance,” Bar-On told The Jerusalem Post at the time.
“Prof. Bar-On embodies the good Israeli, deeply instilled with the desire to reach out to all in need,” Sheba director-general Yitshak Kreiss said in a statement. “His many years of extensive work to save lives and provide humanitarian relief, culminated in his establishing the Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba in 2017, that has saved thousands of lives around the world. He is most worthy and deserving of the Yigal Alon Prize for Pioneering Excellence.”
Maayan Hoffman contributed to this report.
Published August 13, 2020 The Jerusalem Post