The Development of the Field and the Program
The vision of personalized medicine depends entirely on the emerging discipline of Biomedical Informatics. This area of research deals with how to analyze, utilize and manage biomedical information, including genomic data, clinical data and molecular information. Methods and approaches that have been developed in the field already revolutionize not only the theoretical biomedical research, but also the medical care and day to day practices.
Israel is a world leader in the field of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. Moreover, the Medicine field in Israel is sophisticated and modern medicine and utilizes world-class state of the art technologies. Due to the structure of public medicine in Israel, HMOs and hospitals manage medical information databases more extensively than anywhere else in the world. Therefore, Israel, as a “high-tech and startup nation” is not only an ideal arena of medical informatics development, but is a world leader in the computational developments that are required in this field.
The medical community lacks trained medical personnel that are aware of the importance and potential of medical informatics. The Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University is a pioneer in the field of Computational Biology, and 20 years ago it was the first in Israel to offer a B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in the field.
Since 2010 The Sheba Medical Center in collaboration with the Computational Biology Program at Bar-Ilan University, offer one of the first programs in the world to train physicians and researchers in the fields of Personal Genomics and Biomedical Informatics.
In the last six years of the program around 100 physicians already attended from different specialties (such as: Oncology, Gynecology, Surgery, Genetics, Internal Medicine, Nephrology, Endocrinology, etc.) Some of the physicians that joined the program were just starting their careers, others were interns, and others veteran doctors, as well as head of departments.
The feedbacks we received from physicians participating in the program were very positive, and were above and beyond what we had expected! Many of the physicians claimed that the program had broadened their horizons, and that it added a new dimension to the way they apply medicine. Many reported that the way of thinking and computational tools used in the program made them change and improve their current medical practice.