Hadassah medical conference to go on after it drops tobacco giant as sponsor

The all-day conference, titled “360 degrees of healthy,” is due to be attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat among others.

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August 2, 2016 01:17
1 minute read.
PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN distributes Purim gifts to patients at Hadassah-University Medical Center in

PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN distributes Purim gifts to patients at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem earlier this week.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A medical conference organized by the Hadassah Medical Organization for August 16 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center will go on after the organization decided to cancel sponsorship by the Philip Morris tobacco company. The HMO said it had not arranged for the tobacco company to be one of the sponsors but that this was done by one of its partners in the conference, Kol Ha’ir, the Jerusalem weekly of the Haaretz newspaper.

The all-day conference, titled “360 degrees of healthy,” is due to be attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov and a variety of professors, will be open and free to members of the general public who register in advance. The sponsors of the event include Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Haifa’s Bnai Zion Medical Center, drug companies, Strauss, Berman Bakery and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Also printed on the invitation was the name of Philip Morris, whose representative was reportedly due to speak about electronic cigarettes.

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But when Shaare Zedek spokeswoman Shoham Ruvio was asked about the last sponsor, she said immediately after consulting with hospital director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy that if the tobacco company were involved, the Jerusalem medical center would drop out of the conference.

She also informed the Health Ministry, after which Litzman’s spokeswoman and deputy director-general for information Einav Grinboim Shimron said the health minister would not attend if Philip Morris was a sponsor.

Hadassah spokeswoman Hadar Elboim told The Jerusalem Post that it was not veteran Hadassah surgeon and trauma expert Prof. Avi Rivkind, the annual organizer of the conference, who approved the tobacco company’s sponsorship but Kol Ha’ir. When HMO canceled the company’s involvement, the sponsors decided that they would participate.

“People err,” she said, referring to Kol Ha’ir. “At least they admitted their mistake and go on. To their credit, at least they quickly corrected themselves.”

Amos Hausner, chairman of the Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking, said: “It is inconceivable that a company whose products are the cause of so many hospitalizations should sponsor a medical conference.”

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No comment was available from the Haaretz local paper.

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