On Target: Sheba’s Project Arrow Propels Youth into

Sheba Medical Center’s Project Arrow (“Chetz“) young researchers apprenticeship program celebrated a milestone last week with an emotional ceremony marking the completion of another successful year. Established in 2006, the innovative project matches selected medical students with experienced Sheba researchers who serve as their mentors, providing hands-on experience to pave their entry into the world of medical research.

Over the past two years, the program has expanded with the research duos now including a third tier, high school students, a majority of whom are selected from Israel’s Ethiopian and Arab communities. Sheba is the only hospital in Israel that has provided grants to Ethiopian and Arab-Israeli students who endeavor to learn alongside other medical students and gain invaluable experience before entering the medical field, all while being mentored by Sheba’s top doctors and research scientists.

Arrow Project Director Prof. Eldad Katorza (left) and staff with graduates of Arrow’s high school program.

“The Arrow program is amazing,” says Liel Gatehun a 17-year-old high school student of Ethiopian descent from Rishon LeZion who majors in Biology and Chemistry. “It exposed me to worlds of research I never could have imagined. All the doctors and medical students I worked with were so supportive and I learned so much. After I graduate, I hope to pursue a career in medicine.”

Arrow’s Medical Students: Receiving Hands-on Research Experience

The main aim of the Arrow Project is to develop a platform that will strengthen medical students’ knowledge and practice, and train them to be better physicians and researchers. This is achieved by incorporating the students in integrated clinical work involving research. In addition to performing laboratory work from the early stages of research work, students practice giving lectures, presenting data in scientific meetings, and learning to write scientific papers.

“I love the research I’m doing here in Sheba’s Arrow Project,” said Zoe Haggar Aspitz, a second-year medical student at Tel Aviv University who hails from California. “One of the great things about this program is that every student presents their research in smaller meetings. We go through the whole experience of making a presentation, public speaking, and talking about our research. Now it’s much less overwhelming and I feel confident to present my research at medical conferences.”

Left to right: Arrow Project Director Prof. Eldad Katrorza, Anais Di Via Ioschpe, Zoe Haggar Aspitz, and Arrow project coordinator Einat Epstain

“One of the most amazing things about being at Sheba is shadowing the surgeons,” said Tel Aviv University medical student Anais Di Via Ioschpe, a native of Brazil who studied in Boston. “I want to enter into the surgical specialty for reconstructive plastic surgery, which is a very difficult niche, but thanks to the surgeons here at Sheba it’s what I’ve fallen in love with. The Arrow program is also very diverse and inclusive. It allows medical students to run certain projects and I appreciate being given a lot of responsibility and treated like a researcher.”

Arrow: The Path to a Medical Future

“Project Arrow empowers both American and Israeli medical students to increase their knowledge by integrating themselves into Sheba’s world-renowned research programs,” said Prof. Eldad Katorza, Director of the Arrow Project. “The program also has a tremendous impact on our high school students who represent our future. At the beginning of the year, most of them didn’t have any specific plans for the future, but now they are seriously considering a medical career.”