(photo credit: Courtesy Israel Medical Association)
Despite world antagonism to Israel and attempts to boycott the country academically, Israel Medical Association (IMA) chairman Dr. Yoram Blachar has been elected president of the World Medical Association (WMA). He will take office next October.
Blachar served two terms as chairman of the umbrella organization of medical associations worldwide. He was replaced in May by Dr. Edward Hill of the United States.
Blachar overcame two other candidates, from India and New Zealand, by a wide margin in a vote held over the weekend in Copenhagen. The presidency is a symbolic post, while the chairmanship entails more executive power.
Several Arab countries are represented in the organization, but as it was a secret vote, the IMA could not say which member organizations voted for Blachar.
The WMA comprises medical associations in 84 countries and represents nine million physicians. It was founded in 1947 after World War II and the Holocaust in an effort to set down ethical and behavior codes of doctors.
Among its most famous decisions are the Helsinki Declaration, which sets down rules for human medical experimentation; the Tokyo Declaration against torture of humans; and the Geneva Declaration, which sets down ethical rules for physicians.
In his speech, Blachar said he was proud to be a part of the
medical profession, which goes beyond geographical boundaries and hopes to serve as a bridge among nations. He said he hoped to add new Arab and African members.
IMA secretary-general Lea Wapner said the WMA, by electing Blachar, had decided to disconnect from any political considerations and chose him for his contributions to the international organization and his personality.
She said the IMA has contributed to the WMA with a number of initiatives, including the preparation of a Children's Bill of Rights for Medical Treatment and guidelines for the relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.