Israel’s Leading Medical Center to Host Tomorrow’s Health Today Gala

September 15, 2021

Mr. Pedro Lichtinger is Soroka's Healthcare Champion Award-winner

Dr. Jay Selman is Soroka's Inspirational Leadership Award-winner

Dr. Albert Bourla is Soroka's Honorary Gala Chair

Soroka Honors Healthcare Champions for Dedication to Advancing Medical Break-Throughs During 9th Annual Gala Taking Place This Year at Cipriani in New York City

Soroka is a scientist’s dream. It has the three most vital elements: human diversity, a stellar academic partnership, and the necessary access to the population.”
— Dr. Larry Norton, 2018 Soroka Gala Honoree

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, September 15, 2021 / -- Commencing on the evening of October 18th 2021, the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center (AFSMC) will host Tomorrow’s Health Today. This is the nonprofit’s 9th annual gala and awards ceremony, taking place this year at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York City. The event will spotlight Soroka Medical Center’s healthcare champions by honoring their accomplishments, while raising funds to support Soroka’s live-saving mission. These extraordinary leaders will share their success stories in the advancement of global health. Earmarked for this year's fundraising goal is to support funding for Soroka’s Center for Clinical Research. This critical funding will help to equip Israel’s most promising physicians and researchers to conduct medical research that will unlock break-through medical interventions and treatments.

Mr. Pedro Lichtinger will receive Soroka’s Healthcare Champion Award. Lichtinger is Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO at Starton Therapeutics. The company he leads is dedicated to improving and extending the lives of cancer patients. A senior executive in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields, Lichtinger is an expert in the drug development cycle and regenerative medicine. Lichtinger celebrates deep bonds with Israel and is proud to support medical advancements in the Negev at Soroka.

Dr. Albert Bourla will serve as Soroka’s Honorary Gala Chair. Dr. Bourla is Chairman and CEO of Pfizer. While leading one of the most vital healthcare emergency responses in recent history, his work has had a transformative impact on human health around the world. He is a longtime friend and colleague of Pedro Lichtinger. Dr. Bourla notes, “I have known Pedro for 25 years, and I can’t think of a person more deserving of this honor. Pedro was not only my boss, but my mentor and one of the smartest people I know. He taught me about business, entrepreneurship, and the importance of thinking big, which has served me and Pfizer well, particularly over these past 18 months. He always looked at things differently and was able to see opportunities where others would get stuck on the problem.”

In reflecting on the decision for Israel to become the real-world test case of the COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy, Dr. Bourla states, “As a small nation with universal healthcare, sophisticated systems for collecting and sharing data and deep experience in crisis management, Israel was considered an ideal place for studying the vaccine in a real-world setting. As one of Israel’s leading institutions, with a pioneering spirit and deep focus on clinical research, Soroka represents an ideal place for innovation and medical breakthroughs.”

Dr. Jay Selman will receive Soroka’s Inspirational Leadership Award. He is the President Emeritus for AFSMC and serves as director for the nonprofit. Dr. Selman is a neurologist with vast expertise in treating neurological conditions. He also serves as Professor of Clinical Child Neurology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and retired as Chief of Neurology at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York. As board leader for AFSMC, Dr. Selman developed strategic partnerships and initiated educational webinars related to the COVID-19 pandemic response. His leadership reflects AFSMC’s mission of embracing humanitarian values, hope and resilience across the medical field.

“Jay is a powerhouse of wisdom and compassion. His dedication to Soroka, combined with his impressive clinical experience and generosity makes him an exceptional leader.” Remarks Caroline Franklin Freidfertig, President of the Board AFSMC. “It has been an honor to advance our mission alongside him.”

The target for this year's fundraising is Soroka’s Center for Clinical Research. Critical funding will help to equip Israel’s most promising physicians and researchers with the laboratories, resources, guidance and administrative support they need to initiate transformational, patient-centered medical research benefitting the region, the country, and the world. Soroka is also the teaching hospital for Ben-Gurion University (BGU). This close relationship between Soroka and BGU fosters fruitful scientific cooperation among researchers. This partnership facilitates a myriad of important collaborations spanning biology, medical and behavioral sciences, as well as engineering. Continued funding will ensure that these close connections continue to foster the seamless development of research programs that cover the bench-to-bedside continuum, increasing our understanding of important disease processes, and translating basic scientific findings into innovative therapeutic interventions.

To register for the gala visit For sponsorship opportunities or questions, contact us at or call Executive Director Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld at 914-725-9070.


Starton Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on transforming standard of care therapies with proprietary transdermal technology, so people with cancer can receive continuous treatment to live better, longer. Starton’s proprietary transdermal technology is intended to increase efficacy of approved drugs, to make them more tolerable and expand their potential use.

American Friends of Soroka Medical Center Inc. is a New York State 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to supporting the vision and lifesaving work of the Soroka Medical Center. AFS educates the U.S. public about Soroka’s medical treatment, breakthrough research and global impact and cultivates philanthropic funding to ensure Soroka can achieve its goals.

Soroka Medical Center is Israel’s leading healthcare institution. Located in Be’er Sheva, it is the sole medical center in the entire Negev, one of the country’s most diverse and fastest-growing areas. Soroka serves over 1.2 million residents, including over 400,000 children, in a region that comprises 60% of Israel’s land. With two medical schools, a proven record of producing groundbreaking research and life-saving treatments and an extraordinary staff, Soroka offers exceptional healthcare for all, regardless of race, religion, or politics. This unique institution, founded in 1959, exemplifies a deep commitment to outstanding medical care, peaceful coexistence in action and medical research with global impact.

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Gale Branding
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