Irving Harris Early Development Education Program (IHEDEP)

This program has been designed to expose professionals involved in the care of high risk newborns and infants to the new knowledge regarding the biology of behavior and development and to the new techniques that facilitate optimal development in such infants. It is the intention of this program that these professionals will in turn serve as trainers of other professional in the field while serving critical roles in the development of new programs for the at-risk infants.

The setting for this program has been the Department of Neonatology of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center with its large (30 bed ) newborn intensive care unit (NICU) and the Developmental Laboratory that follows high risk infants for up to 2 years. (The number of infants born at Shaare Zedek in 2001 exceeded 9,2000 and the number of admissions to the NICU exceeded 600). Of major importance is that the Harris program at Shaare Zedek is integrated with the Departments of Psychology of Bar Ilan University and the Hebrew University fulfilling the mandate of the Harris Foundation for the development of an Israel network of training programs.

The training has focused on the neonatal period of hospitalization of the high risk newborn and the critical first 2 years of the infant's life. The focus has been on the interrelationship of the neurobehavioral status of the infant, the impact of the parental/infant interaction, and the techniques that can modify the developing attachment process. Trainees have learned the techniques of how to assess newborn behavior, how to evaluate parental/infant interaction, and when and how to provide intervention therapies (e.g. observational, physiologic and video filmed techniques were utilized. A major focus of the program has been the introduction of the kangaroo care technique for preterm infants and the series of research studies that have investigated the impact of this type of care on the development of these high risk infants (See references # 4, 9,10, 11). Most importantly is the fact that these new techniques for assessment and care have become standard at Shaare Zedek and are being introduced in a systematic fashion into other high risk nurseries.


  • Prof. Arthur I. Eidelman
  • Dr. Ruth Feldman
  • Dr. Rinat Armony-Sivan

See Report

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Last updated: September, 2002