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עמוד בית
Tue, 05.12.23

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May 2012
Y. Gofin, A. Afek, E. Derazne, A. Toker and A. Shamiss

Background: The medical workforce shortage worldwide varies for different residencies.

Objectives: To determine future gaps in medical specialties in Israel by means of a model and to identify trends and considerations among medical students when they choose their residencies.

Methods: The gap (Gi) assessment model was based upon current demand (Di) and existing (Ei) status for each residency, using the formula [Gi=(Di-Ei)/Ei]. Ei represented the proportion of specific residencies in 2006–2010 out of all Israeli residency graduates and Di was based upon questionnaires filled out by medical students at Sackler and Hadassah medical schools in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem respectively (N=909).

Results: The largest relative shortages (Gi ranges from -1 to 1) were in Pathology (G=-1), Rehabilitation Medicine (-0.9), Radiology (-0.8), General Practice (-0.8) and Anesthesiology (-0.8). The highest relative demands were in Surgical subspecialties (2.9) and Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) (1.6). More females than males chose residencies in OB/GYN (19.5% vs. 7.1%, P < 0.001) and pediatrics (28.1% vs. 15.4%, P < 0.001). Surgery subspecialties (9% vs. 23.7%, P < 0.001) were male-predominant. The workload consideration was rated higher among females, while income was rated higher among males. Among students in clinical years, compared to pre-clinical, there was a decline in the selection of some professions, including Surgical subspecialties (9.7% vs. 19.5%, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The suggested model, based on a survey of demand and current or projected future needs, can be used to assess gaps and plan early interventions. Programs at the level of medical school may affect residency preferences. The decline in selection of surgical professions and the increasing workload as a consideration for residency choice should be given attention.


October 2007
R. Gofin and M. Avitzour

Background: Trauma management includes the care provided both in hospital and by emergency medical systems in the community. In many cases it is the parents who decide where to take an injured child for care, depending on the circumstances and severity of the injury, the personal characteristics of the injured or the carer and the availability and accessibility of services.

Objectives: To examine the use of pre-hospitalization services and reasons for their use by children and adolescents according to the injury and personal characteristics.

Methods: The study group comprised 924 Israeli citizens aged 0–17 years hospitalized for injuries in six hospitals across Israel. Carers were interviewed in the hospital regarding the circumstances of the injury event, the use of pre-hospitalization services, and sociodemographic characteristics. Data on the cause and nature of the injury were obtained from the hospital records.

Results: The proportion of severe injuries (Injury Severity Score 16+) was higher in Arab children than Jewish children (15% and 9% respectively). Sixty-three percent of the Arab children and 39% of the Jewish children used community services prior to hospitalization. The odds ratio of proceeding directly to the hospital was 0.44, 95% confidence interval 0.29–0.69, for the Arab compared to the Jewish children, controlling for severity, cause and nature of the injury, sociodemographic characteristics, and the reported availability of ambulance services.

Conclusions: More Arab than Jewish carers tended to seek care in the community for an injured child, but the effect of personal characteristics on seeking care was similar in both population groups. Issues of availability and accessibility of services may explain the differences.


July 2007
R.Gofin and M.Avitzour

Background: Head injuries, especially in young children, are frequent and may cause long-lasting impairments.

Objectives: To investigate the outcome of head and other injuries caused by diverse mechanisms and of varied severity.

Methods: The population consisted of Jews and Arabs (n=792), aged 0–17 years old, hospitalized for injuries in six hospitals in Israel. Caregivers were interviewed during hospitalization regarding circumstances of the injury and sociodemographic variables. Information on injury mechanism, profile and severity, and length of hospitalization was gathered from the medical files. Five months post-injury the caregivers were interviewed by phone regarding physical limitations and stress symptoms.

 Results: Head injuries occurred in 60% of the children, and of these, 22.2% suffered traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness (type 1). Among the rest, 22% of Jewish children and 28% of Arab children remained with at least one activity limitation, and no statistically significant differences were found among those with head or other injuries. The odds ratio for at least two stress symptoms was higher for children involved in transport-related injuries (OR[1] 2.70, 95% confidence interval 1.38–5.28) than for other mechanisms, controlling for injury profile. No association was found between stress symptoms and injury severity.

Conclusions: Most children had recovered by 5 months after the injury. Residual activity limitations were no different between those with head or with other injuries. Stress symptoms were related to transport-related injuries, but not to the presence of TBI[2] or injury severity.

[1] OR = odds ratio

[2] TBI = traumatic brain injury

July 2006
I. Arad, M. Baras, B. Bar-Oz and R. Gofin
 Background: Maternal transport, rather than neonatal transport, to tertiary care centers is generally advocated. Since a substantial number of premature deliveries still occur in hospitals with level I and level II nurseries, it is imperative to find means to improve their outcome.

Objectives: To compare the neonatal outcome (survival, intraventricular hemorrhage and bronchopulmonary dysplasia) of inborn and outborn very low birth weight infants, accounting for sociodemographic, obstetric and perinatal variables, with reference to earlier published data.

Methods: We compared 129 premature infants with birth weights of 750–1250 g delivered between 1996 and 2000 in a hospital providing neonatal intensive care to 99 premature babies delivered in a referring hospital. In the statistical analysis, variables with a statistical significant association with the outcome variables and dissimilar distribution in the two hospitals were identified and entered together with the hospital of birth as explanatory variables in a logistic regression.

Results: Accounting for the covariates, the odds ratios (outborns relative to inborns) were 0.31 (95% confidence interval = 0.11–0.86, P = 0.03) for mortality, 1.37 (95%CI[1] = 0.64–2.96, P = 0.42) for severe intraventricular hemorrhage, and 0.86 (95%CI = 0.38–1.97, P = 0.78) for bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The odds ratio for survival without severe intraventricular hemorrhage was 1.10 (95%CI = 0.55–2.20, P = 0.78). Comparing the current results with earlier (1990–94) published data from the same institution showed that mortality decreased in both the outborn and inborn infants (OR[2] = 0.23, 95%CI = 0.09–0.58, P = 0.002 and 0.46; 95%CI = 0.20–1.04, P = 0.06, respectively), but no significant change in the incidence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage or brochopulmonary dysplasia was observed. Increased survival was observed also in these infants receiving surfactant, more so among the outborn. The latter finding could be attributed to the early, pre-transport surfactant administration, implemented only during the current study.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that very low birth weight outborn infants may share an outcome comparable with that of inborn babies, if adequate perinatal care including surfactant administration is provided prior to transportation to a tertiary center.


[1] CI = confidence interval

[2] OR = odds ratio

September 2004
R. Gofin, B. Adler and H. Palti

Background: Prenatal care in Israel is established as a universal service, but the degree of compliance with care recommendations may vary with the healthcare provider or the characteristics of the population.

Objectives: To study referral to and compliance with the performance of ultrasound, alpha-fetoprotein and amniocentesis and the factors associated with them in a national sample. 

Methods: The sampling frame consisted of women who gave birth during March 2000. The sample included 1,100 Israeli Jewish and Arab women who resided in localities with over 50,000 and 20,000 inhabitants respectively. They were interviewed by phone 3 months after delivery. 

Results: In both population groups 30% reported having seven or more ultrasounds during pregnancy. The performance of fetal body scans was relatively low. Factors associated with non-performance among Jewish women were: lower education, religiousness, and attending Mother and Child Health services as compared to all other services. Seventy-seven percent of Jewish women and 84% of Arab women reported that they had been referred for alpha-protein tests. For women aged 35 and over, 55% of Jewish women were referred and 63% complied, whereas 39% of Arab women were referred but none complied.

Conclusions: Ultrasound is almost universally performed among Jewish and Arab women; however fetal body scans, alpha-fetoprotein and amniocentesis (for women over the age of 35) are not. The reasons for the lower coverage may be due to under-referral and/or lack of compliance of the women, perhaps due to sociocultural barriers. In both population groups considerable out-of-pocket money is paid for the tests.

March 2004
H. Palti and R. Gofin

Background: In Israel, preventive services for mothers and children are provided mainly by the Ministry of Health through a network of Maternal and Child Health clinics, and partly by municipalities and health maintenance organizations. Utilization of the MCH[1] clinics for prenatal care has declined during the last decades.

Objective: To study the utilization and satisfaction with prenatal care services following the introduction of the National Health Insurance Law.

Methods: The study population comprised a national sample of Jewish and Arab women who were interviewed by telephone regarding the following: main service utilized for prenatal care, physician and nursing visits, satisfaction with care, and demographic and other characteristics. The response rate was 92% among Jewish women and 88% among Arab women.

Results: Twenty percent of the Jewish and 52% of the Arab women selected MCH clinics as the main service for prenatal care. The great majority of the study population attended the HMO[2] services (clinics, independent physicians, women’s health centers), while 7% of the Jewish and 4% of the Arab women visited a private clinic. The predisposing factors affecting the women's choice were educational level, ethnic group, religiosity, district of residence, and type of HMO. The mean number of physician visits was more than the eight visits recommended. Forty percent of the sample visited with three or more physicians at different services. More than 50% of the women had no appointment with a nurse, mainly those who chose the services of an HMO clinic, independent physician, or private physician. Satisfaction with the physician, nurse, and physical structure of the main service chosen for prenatal care was high.

Conclusions: Since the majority of women preferred the HMO services, the merging of prenatal care with curative care provided by the HMOs has to be considered. Public health nurses should be integrated in the service, and their specific role needs to be defined.

[1] MCH = Maternal and Child Health

[2] HMO = health maintenance organization

December 1999
Yona Amitai MD, Daniel Katz MD, Matityahu Lifshitz MD, Rosa Gofin MD, Maya Tepferberg MSc and Shlomo Almog PhD, published in IMAJ.

Background: Prenatal lead exposure (umbilical cord blood lead concentration 10 (μg/dl) may impair cognitive development. Childhood lead poisoning is infrequent in Israel, and there are no data on lead exposure in immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union.

Objectives: To evaluate prenatal blood lead concentrations in Israeli newborns whose mothers were born in Israel and in those whose mothers recently immigrated from Russia, and to compare data of prenatal lead exposure in Israel with those reported from other countries.

Methods: We compared the UCBLC of 35 newborns of new immigrants from Russia with a group of 35 newborns whose mothers were born in Israel. Venous BLC was also measured in 50 mothers. Data are compared with similar reports on prenatal lead exposure internationally.

Results: The UCBLC in all 70 newborns (mean±SD) was 3.53±1.6 μg/dl, and mothers' BLC (mean±SD) was 3.90±1.39 μg/dl. UCBLC and BLC in the 50 mother-newborn pairs correlated (γ=0.36, P<0.01). All newborns except one had UCBLC<8.0 μg/dl. There was no significant difference between UCBLC in the two groups.

Conclusions: Prenatal lead exposure among the study subjects in both groups was low. In this sample the newborns of mothers born in Israel and those whose mothers recently immigrated from Russia were not found to be at risk for lead poisoning. Prenatal lead exposure in this sample was low compared to that reported from various parts of the world.

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