Colbe Earles and Macy Cottrell

Memphis, Tenn. (TN Tribune) – The first cohort of the Herbert Shainberg Scholars Program from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) recently arrived in Israel. Colbe Earles and Macy Cottrell, both fourth-year College of Medicine students, are studying at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev during March. The new student exchange program gives fourth-year College of Medicine students an opportunity to learn about the cultural, ethnic, and religious aspects of health care. 

 “Because it’s a multicultural university, BGU Medical School for International Health provides a unique perspective throughout students’ entire education, which is what makes it so special. The program is housed within the Center for Multicultural and Global Health (CMGH) in the UTHSC College of Medicine. The CMGH was created with the intention of better understanding people from other cultures, whether in Memphis or abroad,” said Nia Zalamea, MD, assistant professor of surgery, director of the UTHSC Global Surgery Institute, associate director of the UTHSC Center for Multicultural and Global Health, and director of the Shainberg Scholars Program.  

The Herbert Shainberg Scholars Program is named after a local businessman and major supporter of UTHSC. Shainberg, who died in 1985, was known for his philanthropy, for standing up for fairness and justice, and for demonstrating the importance of being kind. That spirit is what inspired the Shainberg Scholars Program. The program was formed when Scott Strome, MD, Robert Kaplan Executive Dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine and vice chancellor for Health Affairs, connected with Mr. Shainberg’s grandchildren. Jill Lazarov Notowich, Stuart Lazarov, MD, and Craig Lazarov wanted an impactful way to honor their grandfather, and UTHSC’s partnership with BGU created the perfect opportunity. 

 “We are so excited and delighted to initiate this student exchange program in Israel. The program is named in honor of Mr. Herbert Shainberg, whose legacy of humanism lives on through each of these scholars. It is our profound belief that this exchange will enrich the lives of both our trainees and their hosts, while broadening ties between our two universities,” said Dr. Strome. 

Both Earles and Cottrell applied for the program and were chosen by selection committee made up of UTHSC faculty and the College of Medicine’s Board of Visitors. Each student underwent a rigorous selection process.  The cohort will grow in the coming years, eventually including up to 10 medical students from both universities.

The UTHSC College of Medicine believes that engaging in multicultural health care isn’t just important, but vital for practicing medicine in the United States. Earles and Cottrell return on March 31.  

As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region. The main campus in Memphis includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains medicine, pharmacy, and/or health professions students, as well as medical residents and fellows, at major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. For more information, visit