Eli Beer

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Eli Beer was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Working as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician himself from the age of 17, Eli saw just how rare it was that an ambulance team was able to navigate the congested streets of Israel to reach an accident victim in time to save his/her life. He also observed that local people, if trained appropriately, could fill the gap in care left between the first call to emergency services and the arrival of the support team—and save lives. Eli’s organization—United Hatzalah (Hebrew for “rescue”)—has approached this problem through the novel use of technology and an ever-expanding volunteer corps that pulls from all communities throughout Israel. His teams are now able to respond to any incident, regardless of location, in under three minutes.

United Hatzalah trains volunteers and then equips them with, among other items, a GPS application for their mobile phone. When an emergency medical situation arises, volunteers within a specific radius are notified and expected to immediately attend the situation. They then provide first response action within three minutes to stabilize the victim until professional help arrives to transport them to a hospital or more secure location.

While his organization was originally based in the Jewish community, the universal need for these services quickly became apparent. The program was promptly scaled to include Arabs and Christians in the volunteer corps. Today, United Hatzalah members respond to any and all accidents, regardless of ethnic origin or religion. This unifying experience has resulted in over 2,000 United Hatzalah volunteers and 200,000 accident victims treated annually. The program has scaled to an international level, with services currently offered in Brazil, Panama, and India.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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