The Faculty of Medicine was established in Haifa in 1969 by a group of physicians who felt the need for academic medical education and medical research in Northern Israel. The first class consisted of 43 students who had their pre-clinical education abroad. They were admitted to the fourth year and finished the requirements for the degree of Medical Doctor (M.D.), after two years of clinical training in the hospitals.
On January 3, 1971 the Senate of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology approved a merger of the Medical School with the Technion to become fully effective by October 1, 1973. The academic backing of the Technion allowed the Faculty of Medicine to expand and to develop a comprehensive preclinical and clinical curriculum that spanned a complete six year program in medical education. The first class to take the full six year program was admitted in 1973.
The growing Faculty of Medicine needed a permanent modern housing. Mr. Bruce Rappaport, a visionary and generous benefactor, provided a substantial financial support and in June, 1974, the cornerstone for a new spacious building was laid. Five years later, in October 30, 1979 the Rappaport building was inaugurated. In recognition of Mr. Rappaport continual support of the faculty it was named officially after him in June, 1991.
The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine expanded steadily since its establishment in 1969. New programs have been created, the student body has expanded and many new faculty members were recruited. From the first graduation in 1974 till the most recent one in 2003, there have been more than 2000 M.D. The faculty is host to a strong post graduate school.
Important programs combining multidisciplinary education and research include MD/PhD program, MD/Engineering program and MD/Law program in collaboration with the University of Haifa. The present body of the faculty includes, clinical scientists and clinical educators, about 350 technical and administrative personnel, 600 medical students and 200 students in graduate school.
The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine is one of a only a handful of Faculties of Medicine around the world that are part of Technological Institutes rather than Universities. This unique position is most noticeable in the curriculum of the medical students. Throughout the program, quantitative and basic sciences are emphasized in order to better train the graduates to meet challenges of modern medical technologies. Collaborations between researchers in the Engineering Faculties and in the Faculty of Medicine are encouraged and often solicited in order to develop new medical technologies to deal with health problems in the 21st century.
Graduate students are a major part of the faculty excellence in research and education. A strong part of its educational program is the MD/ Ph.D. track for the excellent students who have a major interest in biomedical research. One of the major research pillars of the Faculty of Medicine is the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, which offers strong research opportunities in the rapidly progressing fields of molecular biology biomedical sciences.
The missions of the Technion Faculty of Medicine do not end in research and teaching medical students. Another objective is to ensure high quality of health care system in the Northern part of Israel, Currently, eight general hospitals; Rambam Medical Center, Bnai-Zion Medical Center and Carmel Hospital in Haifa, Haemek Medical Center in Afulah, West Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Rivka Sief Hospital in Zefat, Poriya Hospital in Tiberius and Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera ; two psychiatric hospitals Shaar Menashe and Tirah hospital and a Geriatric Hospital (Fliman Hospital in Haifa) are affiliated with the Faculty. We are planning to expand our activities and to affiliate more units from other hospitals to the faculty and to strengthen the ties between the faculty and the clinics of Family Practice that are spread throughout Northern Israel. We believe that academic affiliation of physicians in these health care providing units encourages clinical research and continual medical education in these institutes and will attract more qualified professionals.
We are going through the Millennium changes. It is clear that education of medical doctors will evolve with the rapid evolution in medical sciences, genetic engineering, molecular biology and new technology. Yet, the clinical education will continue to focus on the important humanistic and highly unique ethical requirements from the clinician and scientist that are being shaped for the new millennium.