Bridge to Peace

Bridge to Peace Initiative

Committee
  • Dr. Musa Bajali, Chair
  • Dr. Bruce Donoff
  • Dr. Michael Goldberg
  • Dr. Linda Greenwall
  • Dr. Shlomo Matalon
  • Dr. Aharon Palmon
  • Dr. Deborah Weisfuse
  • Dr. Mark Wolff

Organizational participants in this program:

  • Al Quds University School of Dental Medicine, East Jerusalem
  • Hadassah Hebrew University School of Dental Medicine, West Jerusalem
  • Tel Aviv School of Dental Medicine, Tel Aviv
  • Dental Volunteers of Israel, a non-governmental organization, West Jerusalem

The Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders has created the “Bridge to Peace” program in an effort to provide prevention and treatment to patients with special needs in the Middle East. 

Shalva, the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities is dedicated to providing transformative care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families and promoting social inclusion. Shalva provides an all-encompassing range of services for thousands of people with disabilities from infancy to adulthood and their families. Currently, Shalva has a state-of-the-art dental facility donated by one of our founding members, Henry Schein Inc. Due to the stipulations of their original charter,  Shalva’s dental facility is unable to provide actual treatment; they can only offer exams and oral hygiene instruction. Consequently, Shalva refers its patients with disabilities to Hadassah School of Dental Medicine in West Jerusalem. However many families are unable to afford this cost of private treatment for their children, thus the development of our program.  

The collaboration of the three dental schools,  Al-Quds, Hadassah and Tel Aviv, and the nongovernmental organization Dental Volunteers for Israel, together known as the “Bridge to Peace” initiative, works to address the complex issue of oral health treatment and  funding for the special needs population of Jerusalem. 

In the early years of our organization, the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders’ Bridge to Peace Program  emphasized the collaboration  of Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine and the Al Quds University School of Dental Medicine.  Hebrew University trained Al Quds graduates in its post graduate training programs and who subsequently returned to Al Quds and become faculty there. In addition, faculty from Hebrew University approached  the Israeli government and helped the Al Quds graduates to become licensed in Israel.

The statue of the “Tree of Peace” was adopted by the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders as a symbol for their Bridge to Peace initiative.    It was sculpted by UNESCO artist Hedva Sur, with the purpose of representing the building of bridges between Palestinians and Israelis through science, education and the arts. Alliance members embraced this concept and there were 4 statues placed at member universities:  Al Quds University School of Dental Medicine, Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem, A. T. Stills University School of Dental Medicine in Arizona, and Harvard University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts.