The prize was awarded to Prof. Bar-On in recognition of his many years of humanitarian activities around the globe and his masterful management of the Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba Medical Center. Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, Director General of Sheba Medical Center stated: “Prof. Bar-On’s many years of humanitarian work, culminating in his establishing the Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba, reflect his abiding humanity and in essence, conveys the medical center’s vision of Hope Without Boundaries”.
Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba Medical Center, and one of the most seasoned professionals to have provided emergency medical response to countless countries around the globe for well over 30 years, is to receive the Yigal Alon prize for Pioneering Excellence.
The prize has been awarded annually, since 1982, on the date of Yigal Alon’s passing, to an individual, entity or organization who’s life’s work or actions serve as a model of pioneering excellence, contributing to society in Israel.
Prof. Bar-On was elected to receive the prize, in tribute to his many years of humanitarian efforts, his leadership of the Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response, and for being the very epitome of “Hope Without Boundaries”
A substantial portion of Prof. Bar-On’s life has been, and still is, devoted to lifesaving missions and deployments. As a Lt. Colonel in the IDF Medical Corps Reserves he participated in numerous IDF humanitarian aid missions, as a senior orthopedic surgeon and head of the orthopedic department in the IDF field hospitals following the earthquakes in India in 2001, in Haiti in 2010 and in Nepal in 2015 and following Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines in 2013. He has also participated in missions with various other governmental and non-governmental organizations: in Turkey following the 1999 earthquake, in India following the 2004 Tsunami and in Haiti as part of a team which established a rehabilitation center in Port au Prince.
Prof. Bar-On maintains close ties with international organizations such as the World Health Organization, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders with whom he works to train medical teams in countries such as India, China, Nepal, Tanzania, Mozambique, Albania, Kosovo, Morocco and others.
Over the years, he has won awards and accolades for his work, including the Sino-Phil Asia International Peace Prize for his humanitarian activities in disaster areas around the world.
Prof. Bar-On actively breathes life into the vision of medicine as a bridge to peace, with his involvement and assistance to residents of the region. Amongst others, he was one of the initiators of Building Bridges, a project in which Israeli and Palestinian doctors were sent for joint training in London; and he coordinated assistance to medical staff in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority.
In January, 2020, Prof. Bar-On was one of the first to identify the need to prepare for an outbreak of the coronavirus in Israel. He instigated and planned construction of the first dedicated isolation unit in the country for coronavirus patients.
Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, Director General of Sheba Medical Center: “Prof. Bar-On embodies the good Israeli, deeply instilled with the desire to reach out to all in need. 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”.