Canadians share health expertise with
the Middle East
Canadian healthcare and academic leaders have signed on to a formal
telehealth initiative to exchange medical knowledge with their
colleagues in the Middle East. It is hoped the initiative will
strengthen bonds among Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians over a
common cause – improving health status and healthcare services for their
the official agreement are, left to right: Joe Mapa, President
and CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital; Dr. Harvey Skinner, Chair of Public
Health Sciences, University of Toronto; Dr. Arnold Noyek, Director of
the Peter A. Silverman Centre for International Health at Mount Sinai
Hospital and Chair of the Canada International Scientific Exchange
Program (CISEPO); Stephen W. Herbert, President and CEO of Baycrest; and
benefactor Peter A. Silverman Q.C., who supported the three-year telehealth
initiative with the Middle East with a $1-million donation.
The International Network of Knowledge through Electronic Learning was
created in October 2005 with the signing of an agreement between the Baycrest Centre, the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program (CISEPO),
the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto,
and the Peter A. Silverman Centre for International Health at Toronto’s
Mount Sinai Hospital.
The Canadian group has been involved, through CISEPO and the University
of Toronto, in cooperative cross-border continuing medical education
programming for the last decade.
In 2002, live video teleconferencing was introduced on a demonstration
basis with telehealth distance educational programming. Most recently,
the Peter A. Silverman Global eHealth program pioneered, and Baycrest
hosted, a historic international medical rounds with CISEPO’s Israeli,
Jordanian and Palestinian academic partners, South Africa and the World
The Middle Eastern partners include: Edith Wolfson Medical Center, Tel
Aviv University, Holon, Israel; Jordan University of Science and
Technology, Irbid; and Al Quds University, West Bank.
“We now have a remarkable distance learning program at hand that will
enable our Arab and Israeli student, faculty and institutional network
to share knowledge together under a Canadian umbrella and build trust
and confidence in the health sector and beyond for the future of the
region,” said Dr. Arnold Noyek, Director of the Peter A. Silverman
Centre for International Health at Mount Sinai Hospital and chair of
Under the three-year agreement, supported by a $1-million donation from
benefactor Peter A. Silverman, each member of the Canadian group will
contribute specific expertise to the network, which is essentially an
education and distance learning system through the Peter A. Silverman
Global eHealth Program.
“Baycrest is honoured and excited to be part of this historic telehealth
network that will encourage relationship-building and professional
development on both sides of the world,” said Stephen W. Herbert,
President and CEO of Baycrest.
Telehealth rounds will be delivered in real time in Canada and the
Middle East on topics that include the diagnoses and current treatments
of some of the most devastating neurological and psychiatric conditions
to afflict aging adults, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, depression,
Parkinson’s, or a combination of neurologically complex conditions.
Healthcare and community health professionals, residents and students
will view the same patient cases and then engage in discussion,
exchanging ideas and expert opinion.
Baycrest’s on-site telehealth facility, which is being upgraded and
expanded as a result of the new partnership, will be the central hub of
“What better way to exploit global capability than for the purpose of
healthcare and, in the process, build bridges in the Middle East,” said
Joe Mapa, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital.
“This eHealth initiative is truly innovative – building international
cooperation while addressing local needs in the Middle East through
professional education. It shines light on a positive way forward in a
conflicted region for achieving global health,” added Dr. Harvey
Skinner, Chair of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto.
If this model of global eHealth learning proves successful with the
Middle East, the network plans to expand it to other countries and
regions of the world with adaptations considering local culture,
politics and language.
“This program fulfills a long held dream of mine to help form an
initiative that is truly global and has such groundbreaking potential.”
said Peter A. Silverman Q.C.
What each Canadian member brings to the collaboration:
Baycrest will contribute its expertise in geriatric and gerontological
care, brain health functioning and mental health, as well as its on-site
telehealth facility to deliver and coordinate the international distance
learning. Baycrest has developed international partnerships including
and beyond the health sector.
CISEPO brings a strong, internationally-known network in global medical
and health education, having developed important relationships with
academic, government, hospitals and community organizations in Canada
and the Middle East.
Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH) is a leader in providing education in areas
such as Women’s and Infant’s Health, Pathology, Oncology, and Internal
Medicine. Through the Peter A. Silverman Centre for International
Health, MSH has developed international partnerships including and
beyond the health sector.
Public Health Sciences (University of Toronto) has Canada’s largest
concentration of academic public health sciences faculty and has
experience in distance education, eHealth research and evaluation.