Our Leaders

Using their professional skills around the clock to help trauma victims.
Avi Tennenbaum, Director 
Avi Tenenbaum is a trained BLS responder, Advanced Psychotrauma Unit responder, Course Instructor, Dispatcher, & Project Developer of the United Hatzalah Psychotrauma Unit.

His interests in the field of prehospital behavioral medicine began in 2006 with the Israel-Lebanon war, where he delivered Psycho-Social aid to Jewish refugees from the war’s hot zones in Northern Israel. He has been a central part of the Psychotrauma Unit since its very first operational days in the field.

Avi has vast experience as both medic and Psychological responder in a diverse array of medical emergencies, natural disasters, and terror attacks, including Hurricane Harvey in Texas & the Haifa wildfires of 2016. He has also trained scores of medics to deliver psychological first aid within the rugged and everchanging environment of pre-hospital medicine.

Aside from his involvement with the Psychotrauma Unit, Avi is a trained psychotherapist, Addiction professional, and sought-out specialist concerning the treatment of behavioral addictions as well as a practitioner of Contextual Psychology Interventions.

Miriam Ballin, MFT, Advanced EMT
Miriam Ballin is a proud Olah, born in Houston, Texas. She’s had life stopovers in San Francisco, Denver, New York, Maryland and even Down-Under in Sydney, Australia before fulfilling her dream of making aliyah with her husband and five children.
She started out in education and then gravitated to psychology, graduating with a double major. After watching her husband in action in the medical field she also felt drawn to emergency medicine; but how to combine it all?
She was completing her Diploma of Family Therapy and her Emergency Medical Technician course through United Hatazalah of Israel when the idea hit her – literally! She was run down at a crosswalk by a speeding motorbike and knocked unconscious. Miriam was concussed but thankfully no major injuries but when she went back to thank one of the ladies who gave her first aid she was shocked. She was way more traumatized than Miriam was?! And so the United Hatzalah Psychotrauma & Crisis Response Unit concept was born. Since the Unit was founded they’ve been helping people in their moment of crisis – from the Haifa wildfires, to crib deaths, to Sarona Cafe – because some wounds need a different type of a bandage.

Dr. Moshe Farchi, Ph.D

Dr. Moshe Farchi is an expert in the fields of acute trauma, emergency mental health intervention, Psychological First Aid (PFA) and psychological inoculation. Dr. Farchi has also conducted extensive research in the fields of resilience empowerment and trauma symptoms reductions, primarily during the acute stage of trauma (ASR-ASD).

Dr. Farchi is the Founder and Leader of the SIX Cs model for resilience derived from empirical academic knowledge and lessons learned by Israel’s Home Front Command, EMS and other emergency response units. To date, this model has been recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Health as the national PFA model. The model has already been adopted and successfully utilized by the Ministries of Education, Health, and Internal Security in Israel, Israel traffic police, as well as by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Dr. Farchi is a senior lecturer at the Tel-Hai college School of Social Work under which he founded and is currently the head of the Stress, Trauma & Resilience Studies Program. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Home Front Command of the Israel Defense Force, and in charge of planning and implementing the emergency interventions protocols. Dr. Farchi led trauma relief efforts during Operation Cast Lead (2009), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012) and Operational Protective Edge (2014). He was also the head of several humanitarian psych-social delegations to Sri Lanka, Georgia and Haiti on behalf of the Israel Defense Force Home Front Command.

Dr. Farchi has successfully published several innovative articles and book chapters in recent years on topics related to trauma intervention in the acute phase. He has also attended over 30 conferences in countries throughout the world. In addition, he is a paramedic for MDA and United Hatzalah and the Head of Psychosocial division at Natan.

Dr. Ronny Vamos

Dr. Ronny Vamos is the Director of the Psychiatric Department and the Deputy Director of the Psychogeriatric Department at the Ma’ale Carmel Mental Health Center. He is an independent Psychiatrist at several HMO’s in Israel in addition to his full-time private clinic. Dr. Vamos is an adviser psychiatrist for Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals and also a consulting psychiatrist within the legal framework of the Family Courts in Haifa. Dr. Vamos is a psychiatrist consultant to the “Atidot” Institute and involved in a host of other projects for special needs adults. He is also certified hypnotist, diagnostician and medical research practitioner for the Ministry of Health. He has published extensive writing with its main topics surrounding schizophrenia.

Dr. Gilat Reish
Dr. Reish is a former Senior manager at Maccabi Health Israel and the District Medical Director of Jerusalem. She is also a practicing pediatrician in Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim and established its current child trauma treatment program. Dr. Reish also took part in numerous international missions to help treat those suffering traumatic incidents in war, natural disasters and terrorism.

She furthered her training in trauma intervention at Harvard University.

Dr. Reish is also an active member of Israel’s Search and Rescue Unit, the Israel Rescue Coalition, as well as an ALS (Advanced Life Support) responder for Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah of Israel.

Dr. Reish is currently a member of the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit as a responder, trainer and member of the Advisory board.

Dr. Renee Garfinkel

After earning a Ph.D. in psychology at Lund University in Sweden, Renee spent decades working as a clinical psychologist and supervisor in the U.S., licensed in Washington, DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Her specialties include, but are not limited to, disaster mental health and working with the American Red Cross in natural and man-made disasters. She is also a published author. Her other clinical specialties include therapy with medically ill patients, patients with psychophysiological disorders and patients in longer term care.

Besides her clinical activities, she has been active in research on a range of issues, including terrorism, religion and interfaith dialogue. In recent years some of her professional energy has shifted to journalism and she writes a column for the Washington Times and co-hosts a live, national (U.S.) call-in radio show.