Elad Schiff

Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, H̱efa, Haifa District, Israel

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Publications (59)132.22 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to compare the rationale given by oncology health care practitioners (HCPs) for referral of their patients with breast cancer to a complementary medicine (CM) consultation with patient expectations from the CM treatment process.
    Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective The aim of this study was to assess patient perspectives regarding non-specific effects of a complementary medicine (CM) consultation and intervention within an integrative oncology setting.Methods Patients undergoing chemotherapy in a community-based oncology service were referred by oncology healthcare providers to an integrative oncology physician trained in CM-oriented supportive care. Assessment of concerns and well-being was made using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing questionnaire, at baseline and after 3 months of CM treatments, which were designed to improve quality of life (QoL) outcomes. Patients were asked to describe the most important aspects of the integrative treatment process. Free-text narratives were examined using content analysis with ATLAS.Ti software for systematic coding.ResultsOf 152 patients' narratives analyzed, 44% reported an experience of patient-centered care, including CM practitioners' approach of togetherness, uniqueness, and the invoking of an internal process. CM practitioner approach was experienced within a context of an enhanced sense of confidence; gaining a different perspective; and acquiring emotional resilience and empowerment.Conclusions Short patient narratives should be considered for patient-reported outcomes, expressing perspectives of both effects and experience of care. CM may promote patient QoL-related outcomes through non-specific effects, enhancing patient-centered care. The benefits of CM dependent on general therapeutic incidental aspects (i.e., common factors) warrant attention regarding non-specific components of treatment. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 07/2014; · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The high prevalence of the use of traditional herbs among patients with cancer is a cause for concern with regard to potentially adverse interactions with conventional oncology treatments. In this study, we explore herbal use among patients with cancer in northern Israel who are referred by their health care providers to complementary and traditional medicine (CTM) consultations provided to them within the conventional oncology department. The study's objectives were to identify which herbs patients use and to examine the scope of current research on the efficacy and safety regarding the identified herbs. Herbal use by patients receiving oncology care was assessed prospectively from July 2009 to July 2012 by integrative physicians (IPs) trained in herbal medicine. Historical, ethnobotanical, basic research, and clinical data regarding the identified herbs were explored by using a keyword search in PubMed and Middle Eastern ethnohistorical literature. Disclosure of herbal use was reported by 154 of the 305 patients (50.5 %) interviewed by IPs. The use of 85 single herbs and 30 different herbal formulas was documented during the initial or follow-up IP assessments. Patients reported 14 quality of life-associated indications for herbal use. The ten most prevalent herbs displaying in vitro/in vivo anticancer activity and nine other herbs were preliminarily assessed concerning potential risks, safety, and interaction with chemotherapy. Herbal use by patients with cancer in northern Israel is widespread and calls for further study in order to address issues of safety and effectiveness. We recommend constructing a multinational and multidisciplinary team of researchers with ethnopharmacological and clinical expertise that will explore the use of herbs among patients with cancer in a cross-cultural perspective attuned with patients' affinity to traditional herbal medicine.
    Supportive Care in Cancer 05/2014; · 2.09 Impact Factor
  • Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) 05/2014; 20(5):A11. · 1.69 Impact Factor
  • Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) 05/2014; 20(5):A137. · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of complementary traditional medicine (CTM) is prevalent among patients with cancer. An understanding of cultural and religious values is needed to design an effective patient-centered supportive treatment program. To examine gender-related demographic and professional characteristics; treatment goals and approaches; and attitudes toward integration among Arab practitioners of CTM. Male and female Arab CTM practitioners treating patients with cancer were located by snowballing through practitioner and clientele networks. Participants underwent semi-structured, in-depth interviews which were analyzed thematically, with a focus on gender-related issues. A total of 27 Arab CTM practitioners participated in the study (17 males, 10 females). Female practitioners were found to be treating women exclusively, with male practitioners treating both genders. Female practitioners tend to be younger, unmarried, urban-based and non-Muslim. Male practitioners set out to "cure" the cancer, while female practitioners focus on symptoms and quality of life. Male practitioners employ a more schematic and structured therapeutic approach; female practitioners a more eclectic and practical one. Male practitioners employ a collectivist approach, involving family members, while female practitioners interact exclusively with the patient. Finally, male CTM practitioners see integration as a means for recognition, increasing their power base. In contrast, female practitioners perceive integration as a foothold in fields from which they have previously been shut out. A number of gender-related issues can have a significant impact on CTM therapy among Arab patients. Further research is needed in order to understand the implications of these differences.
    Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 04/2014; · 1.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Use of dietary supplements (DS) during hospitalization carries risks such as reducing drug treatment efficacy and increasing peri-operative complications due to DS-drug interactions and DS side effects. In this study, we aimed to develop socio-cultural-sensitive patient histories to detect DS use amongst hospitalized patients from different backgrounds. Prospective cohort study of hospitalized patients from June 2009 through March 2010, using mixed quantitative (questionnaires), and qualitative (semi-structured interviews) research methodology to detect DS use. Data were provided by 691 of 895 patients (response rate 77.2%). Of these, 359 (51.9%) reported using DS in the previous year. 168 (46.8%) disclosed DS use following a standard question on DS consumption. 191 (53.2%) respondents disclosed DS use only following further questioning utilizing DS-related keywords. Leading questioning techniques that facilitated admitting DS use included: naming common DS (50.6% disclosure rate), and using traditional/herbal medicine (THM) related keywords (41.3% disclosure rate) such as infusions, teas, herbs picked in the garden. A logistic multivariate regression model indicated that disclosure of DS use, by using THM related keywords was associated with non-Jewish religion [EXP(B)=3.57, 95% C.I. 1.70-7.50, p=0.001], dwelling in rural areas (p=0.004), and having a lower degree of education (p=0.01). Improved history taking regarding DS use in hospitalized patients can be accomplished by using specific keywords that address socio-cultural diversities as in the following question: "Do you use any natural, folk, traditional, grandma remedies, herbs picked in the garden, infusions or herbal teas to improve your health?.
    Complementary therapies in medicine 04/2014; 22(2):304-10. · 1.95 Impact Factor
  • The Oncologist 01/2014; · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Limited research is available on the perspectives of patients with cancer regarding integration of complementary medicine (CM) in conventional supportive cancer care. The purpose of this study was to explore patients' perspectives concerning CM integration within conventional oncology settings. A 27-item questionnaire was constructed and administered to a convenient sample of Arab patients receiving cancer care in three oncology centers in northern Israel. Of the 324 respondents (94.7% response rate), 124 of 313 (39.6%) reported the use of CM for cancer-related outcomes. A logistic regression model indicated that CM was used with active chemo- or radiotherapy treatment [EXP [B], 2.926, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.276-6.708; P = 0.011] and a higher degree of spiritual quest (EXP [B], 3.425, 95% CI 1.042-11.253; P = 0.043). Herbal medicine was the leading CM modality (87.9% of CM users), which included the use of 28 plants and traditional remedies, of which 17 were used to improve QOL, with 5 of the herbs having potential interactions with chemotherapy. 83.1% of respondents stated that they would consult with a CM provider if CM were to be integrated into the oncology department. Patients' expectation of CM consultation was clearly associated with expectations of QOL improvement, coping with cancer, and alleviating chemotherapy's side-effects when compared with expectations of cancer cure (P < 0.0001). The three leading concerns which patients expected to be improved by integrative CM treatment were gastrointestinal symptoms (63.2%), fatigue (51.9%), and pain (40.5%). Integrative CM consultations should focus on the improvement of QOL concomitant with safety concerns regarding potential drug-herb interactions. The need to integrate a nonjudgmental yet evidence-based CM consultation service may also be applicable to oncology institutions challenged with culturally diverse populations with a high prevalence of traditional medicine use.
    Annals of Oncology 01/2014; · 7.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of acupuncture on postlaparoscopic shoulder pain (PLSP) which is a common side effect in patients undergoing abdominal laparoscopic surgery. Methods. Patients with moderate to severe PLSP in spite of analgesic treatment, which were referred by the medical staff to the Complementary-Integrative Surgery Service (CISS) at our institution, were provided with acupuncture treatment. The severity of PLSP and of general pain was assessed using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) from 0 to 10. Pain assessment was conducted prior to and two hours following acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture treatment was individualized based on traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis. Results. A total of 25 patients were evaluated during a 14-month period, from March 2011 to May 2012. A significant reduction in PLSP (mean reduction of 6.4 ± 2.3 P < 0.0001) and general pain (mean reduction 6.4 ± 2.1 P < 0.0001) were observed, and no significant side effects were reported. Conclusion. Individualized acupuncture treatments according to traditional Chinese medicine principles may improve postlaparoscopic shoulder pain and general pain when used in conjunction with conventional therapy. The primary findings of this study warrant verification in controlled studies.
    Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 01/2014; 2014:120486.
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this preliminary study was to compare the effectiveness of domperidone and acupuncture for the management of diabetic gastroparesis. This was a preliminary, prospective non-randomised, unblinded case-crossover study conducted in patients with longstanding, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and gastroparesis. All patients received domperidone (20 mg four times a day) for 12 weeks, followed by a 2-3 week washout period, and then biweekly acupuncture treatments for 8 weeks. Gastric emptying rate, glucose and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1C) levels were measured at start and end of each treatment period. At each of these timepoints patients completed the Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index (GCSI), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and the Short-Form 36 Health Survey Update (SF-36). The trial was curtailed after only eight participants could be recruited in 3 years. The mean age of patients was 57.1±9.9 years, the male:female ratio was 1:7 and mean body mass index (kg/m(2)) was 25.2±1.2. There was no change in any of the outcome parameters after treatment with domperidone. Acupuncture was associated with a decrease in scores for almost all cardinal symptoms of the GCSI, as well as in increased total score on the SWLS (p=0.002) and the social functioning domain of the SF-36 (p=0.054). Acupuncture did not lead to an improvement in gastric emptying, or glucose control from baseline. Acupuncture treatment may lead to symptomatic improvement in patients with diabetic gastroparesis. Within the limitations of this preliminary, non-randomised and unblinded study, it appears that this effect may be due to non-specific mechanisms.
    Acupuncture in Medicine 12/2013; · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Methotrexate (MTX), an antimetabolite of folic acid, is the drug of choice for the nonsurgical management of ectopic pregnancy. MTX-related toxicity may include leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, nausea, vomiting, stomatitis, mucositis, and liver and lung toxicity, depending primarily on the dosage of the drug and patients' renal function. Currently, the use of MTX in hemodialysis patients, even at a low dosage, is controversial, and no clear-cut guidelines are available. We report here a rare case of a life-threatening complication characterized by severe pancytopenia and skin and mucosal injury, which developed in a young patient on hemodialysis after oral treatment with MTX for ectopic pregnancy. We conclude that even low-dose MTX administration is not to be used in patients with renal insufficiency, and when no other therapeutic options are available we suggest taking several clinical measures to prevent or treat myelosuppression.
    European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 11/2013; · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with cancer are frequently turning to complementary medicine (CM), often with the goal of improving quality of life outcomes. The purpose of the present study was to assess the adherence of patients referred by oncology practitioners to a CM consultation and treatment program. A prospective registry protocol-based, preference study was conducted at a conventional oncology department. Patients undergoing chemotherapy were referred by participating oncology practitioners to a CM-trained integrative physician (IP) for consultation. Adherence to the integrative care (AIC) program was defined as attendance by patients at ≥4 CM treatment sessions, with an interval of no more than 30 days between each session. A total of 282 patients were referred by the study health-care professionals (HCPs), of whom 243 (85.8 %) were eventually seen by the study IP. Of these, 160 were found to be adherent to the treatment plan (AIC group), and 83 were nonadherent (non-AIC group). No significant differences were found between the two groups with respect to demographic characteristics, medical history, site of malignancy and/or recurrence, chemotherapy regimen, or severity of symptoms at baseline. The AIC group reported significantly greater rates of CM use for noncancer-related indications than the non-AIC group (EXP(B) = 2.174, 95 % confidence interval (C.I.) = 1.1-4.295, p = 0.025). Patients in the non-AIC group were referred more frequently by their HCP for gastrointestinal concerns than those in the AIC group (p = 0.022). Previous use of CM for noncancer-related outcomes was found to be predictive of patient adherence to a CM treatment regimen provided within conventional oncology service.
    Supportive Care in Cancer 10/2013; · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To explore oncology healthcare providers' (HCPs') patterns of referral of women undergoing chemotherapy to a complementary medicine (CM) consultation integrated within a conventional oncology service. Oncology HCPs used a structured referral system for referral to an integrative physician (IP) for CM consultation. Referral goals were in accordance with a specified list of quality-of-life (QOL) outcomes. In total, the study HCPs referred 282 female patients, of whom 238 (84.4%) underwent CM consultation by the study IP: 59 (24.8%) with gynecologic cancer and 179 (75.2%) with non-gynecologic cancer. Use of CM for cancer-related outcomes was significantly higher among referred patients with gynecologic cancer than those with non-gynecologic cancer (69.5% vs 46.9%; P=0.003). Oncologists initiated most of the referrals in the gynecologic oncology group, whereas oncologic nurses referred most patients in the non-gynecologic oncology group. Among patients with gynecologic cancer, the correlation between HCP indication and patient expectation was high for gastrointestinal concerns (κ 0.41). The integration of a structured and informed process of referral to CM consultation may enhance patient-centered care and QOL during chemotherapy.
    International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 10/2013; · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A unique integrative complementary medicine (CM) pilot program was launched in a general surgery department at a public teaching hospital in Israel. In addition to standard supportive care, CM treatments are used to support patients undergoing laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) in coping with perioperative distresses. We examined the experiences of patients and how the nursing staff evaluate these treatments. Qualitative semi-structured open-ended interviews were used. Most patients reported that the treatments helped them to cope better with preoperative anxiety, and facilitated postoperative breathing and pain relief. Nurses reported that CM treatments enabled them to reduce doses of analgesics. Both patients and nurses suggested that preoperative CM treatment facilitated a better postoperative CM-associated outcome. Integrative perioperative CM treatments improved pain and anxiety care in patients undergoing LSG. More research is needed to examine CM efficacy in improving standard LSG perioperative supportive care and to evaluate cost effectiveness.
    Bariatric surgical practice and patient care. 09/2013; 8(3):108-112.
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    ABSTRACT: The need to integrate complementary medicine (CM) consultation in supportive care of patients with cancer is acknowledged by oncologists owing to the ongoing research on CM efficacy and awareness of its potential risks. In this article, we aim to provide oncologists with models for CM integration within supportive care. Descriptive analysis of key elements which facilitate CM integration is presented by physicians leading six integrative cancer care programs across four continents. Perspectives of integration are supplemented by a literature review, quantitative data on the clinical activity in each center, and qualitative narrative-based citations of seven oncology patients and healthcare providers. It is recommended that CM consultation be provided by physicians with extensive CM training. The following key elements were identified as essential for integrative program design within oncological supportive care: (1) Location of the integrative physician (IP) room within the oncology department area, (2) Required oncologist referral to CM consultation, (3) Allocated time to IP-oncologist communication, (4) Research-based integrative practice, (5) Inclusion of paid professional CM practitioners, (6) Institutional cost covered service. Integration of CM consultation within oncological supportive care needs to take in account six key elements that ensure high-quality evidence-based concomitant integrative practice.
    Medical Oncology 06/2013; 30(2):511. · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CONTEXT: Many cancer patients are using non-herbal nutritional supplements (NHNS), often without informing their oncologists. OBJECTIVES: To review the literature and summarize the beneficial effects and safety of NHNS in the prevention and reduction of treatment-related symptoms. METHODS: Databases were searched for randomized, controlled clinical trials (Jadad score ≥ 2) using AltHealthWatch, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Embase, MEDLINE, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Integrative Medicine Service Database, Natural Standard Database, and PubMed. The key words searched were the following: alternative and/or complementary medicine, nutritional and/or dietary supplements, quality of life, symptoms and/or side effects, specific toxicities (e.g., neuropathy, mucositis), and specific supplements (e.g., vitamin E, glutamine, etc.). RESULTS: A number of NHNS products were found to be effective. The incidence and severity of peripheral sensory neuropathy associated with taxane-agents such as paclitaxel can be reduced with vitamin E, glutamine, and acetyl-L-carnitine. Vitamin E and glutamine also have been shown to reduce oral mucositis resulting from radiation and chemotherapy, and glutamine and probiotics can reduce chemotherapy-induced diarrhea. CONCLUSION: There is a need to develop an open and nonjudgmental dialogue between oncologists and cancer patients, addressing the needs of the patient while dealing with issues related to the efficacy and safety of these products. Referral of patients to an integrative medicine consultant may help achieve these goals, providing both parties with the option of reaching an informed and respectful decision about treatment.
    Journal of pain and symptom management 05/2013; · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Complementary and traditional medicine (CTM) plays an important role in culture-centered care for cancer patients in the Middle East. In this article, we have studied the attitudes of Arab CTM therapists concerning integration of complementary medicine within the conventional supportive cancer care of Arab patients in northern Israel. METHODS: Semistructured interviews were held with 27 Arab therapists who use medicinal herbs, the Quran, and various CTM modalities, with the aim of characterizing their treatment practices and learning about their perspectives regarding conventional cancer care. RESULTS: We first summarized the different characteristics of the various CTM therapists, including training, typical practice, and so on. Thematic analysis revealed that folk healers and complementary medicine therapists describe their role as supportive and secondary to that of physicians. Their goal was not to cure patients with cancer but rather to enhance their quality of life by reducing the severity of both the disease symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment. Religious healers, by contrast, purport to cure the disease. While folk healers opt for parallel alternative care and complementary therapists support integrative care, religious healers claimed that they offer an alternative to conventional medicine in terms of both etiology and practice. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of Arab CTM therapists support integration of their treatments with the conventional system, but in practice, they are not sure how to bring about this change or create a parallel model in which 2 different systems are active, but not integrated. Our findings emphasized the need to promote doctor-CTM practitioner communication based on structured referral and bidirectional consultation. Moreover, we recommend intensifying research on the efficacy and safety of CTM in the Middle East and the potential role in promoting culture-based supportive care.
    Integrative Cancer Therapies 04/2013; · 2.35 Impact Factor
  • Noah Samuels, Elad Schiff, Eran Ben-Arye
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with breast cancer frequently turn to complementary medical therapies, including non-herbal nutritional supplements (NHNS). A number of NHNS products have been shown to potentially reduce the incidence and severity of adjuvant treatment-related symptoms. We review the literature and summarise the potential beneficial effects of these products and address issues regarding the safety of this practice. We offer an evidence-based approach for advancing a dialogue between doctors and patients interested in NHNS for adjuvant treatment-related toxicities.Taxane agents such as paclitaxel are frequently complicated by peripheral sensory neuropathy. The findings from several studies suggest that supplementation with vitamin E, glutamine and acetyl-L-carnithine may reduce the incidence and severity of paclitaxel-induced neuropathy. Glutamine has also been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of chemotherapy-induced and radiation-induced oral mucositis. Selenium can reduce upper limb lymphoedema following surgery and radiation treatments, and an antioxidant supplement has exhibited a protective effect against radiation-induced dermatitis. Finally, vitamin D has been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence and severity of arthralgia resulting from treatment with the aromatase inhibitor letrozole. The use of coenzyme Q10 was not found to be of benefit for cancer-related fatigue.There is a need to develop an open and non-judgmental dialogue between doctors and their patients with breast cancer, respecting the needs of the patient while addressing issues related to the efficacy and safety of NHNS products. Referral of patients to an integrative medicine consultant may help achieve these goals.
    Supportive and Palliative Care 02/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: In the last decade, more and more oncology centers are challenged with complementary medicine (CM) integration within supportive breast cancer care. Quality of life (QOL) improvement and attenuation of oncology treatment side effects are the core objectives of integrative CM programs in cancer care. Yet, limited research is available on the use of specific CM modalities in an integrative setting and on cancer patients' compliance with CM consultation. Studies are especially warranted to view the clinical application of researched CM modalities, such as anthroposophic medicine (AM), a unique CM modality oriented to cancer supportive care. Our objective was to characterize consultation patterns provided by physicians trained in CM following oncology health-care practitioners' referral of patients receiving chemotherapy. We aimed to identify characteristics of patients who consulted with AM and to explore patients' compliance to AM treatment. Of the 341 patients consulted with integrative physicians, 138 were diagnosed with breast cancer. Following integrative physician consultation, 56 patients were advised about AM treatment and 285 about other CM modalities. Logistic multivariate regression model found that, compared with patients receiving non-anthroposophic CM, the AM group had significantly greater rates of previous CM use [EXP(B) = 3.25, 95% C.I. 1.64-6.29, p = 0.001] and higher rates of cancer recurrence at baseline (p = 0.038). Most AM users (71.4%) used a single AM modality, such as mistletoe (viscum album) injections, oral AM supplements, or music therapy. Compliance with AM modalities following physician recommendation ranged from 44% to 71% of patients. We conclude that AM treatment provided within the integrative oncology setting is feasible based on compliance assessment. Other studies are warranted to explore the effectiveness of AM in improving patients' QOL during chemotherapy.
    SpringerPlus 01/2013; 2:364.

Publication Stats

132 Citations
132.22 Total Impact Points


  • 2007–2014
    • Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa
      H̱efa, Haifa District, Israel
  • 2012–2013
    • David Yellin College
      Yerushalayim, Jerusalem District, Israel
    • Western Galilee College
      Carmiel, Northern District, Israel
  • 2009–2012
    • University of Haifa
      H̱efa, Haifa District, Israel
  • 2011
    • Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
      H̱efa, Haifa District, Israel