RIVKA CARMI

Professor Rivka Carmi is the first female president of an Israeli research university, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, but her many accomplishments do not stop there.

Carmi was born in Israel and is a graduate of Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She completed a residency in pediatrics, a fellowship in neonatology at the Soroka University Medical Center and an additional two-year fellowship in medical genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University Medical School.

Rivka Carmi has served as the Director of the Genetics Institute at the Soroka University Medical Center and held several important academic administrative positions in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Promoted to full professor in 1995, she is the incumbent of the Kreitman Foundation Chair in Pediatric Genetics. In 2000, she was elected Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at BGU – also the first woman to hold this position in Israel – and served in that position for five years. From 2002 to 2005, she also served as the Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Medical Deans.

Prior to her entry into the administrative arena of the University, Professor Carmi’s research  focused mainly on the delineation of the clinical manifestations and molecular basis of genetic diseases in the Negev Arab-Bedouin population. Her research included the Identification of 12 new genes and the delineation of 3 new syndromes, one of which is known as the Carmi Syndrome. Her community projects were aimed at preventing hereditary diseases in the Bedouin community. This has led to a drastic reduction in infant mortality rates.

Carmi has received many noteworthy awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Yated organization for children with Downs Syndrome; the Achievement in Medicine Award by the Municipality of Beer-Sheva; the 2002 Award for Peace from the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program (CISEPO), to which she served as representative of the Israeli Medical Deans; the 2008 Women of Distinction Award of the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America; and in 2009, an award in excellence from the Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association (IAPA). And just last year, she received an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Rivka Carmi is an incredible woman and human being. Her accomplishments continue on and on, and must be shared. She is blazing a new path for science while simultaneously helping the lives of millions of people. She is the kind of woman I aspire to be in science.

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