Science Training Encouraging Peace –Graduate Training Program (STEP) is a person-to-person, cross-border program that funds the tuition of pairs of young Palestinians and Israelis (one Israeli, one Palestinian per pair) in intensive, graduate-degree programs in the health sciences. STEP Fellows study intensively together for the full length of a MS or PhD program. Face to face and day after day, they hone their skills and pursue answers to the region’s public health or medical problems. These academic “boot camp” experiences build trust, interdependence and friendships. STEP Fellows commit to being professional resources to one another during and after completion of their training when they return to their communities, establish careers, build businesses, enhance community services and act as bridges between their populations.
STEP Fellows include dentists, doctors, teachers, nurses, biomedical researchers and medical emergency communication specialists. In the brief time STEP has been active, five of its Fellows have received PhDs or Masters Degrees. These Fellows have gone on to careers in health and medicine. Three other STEP Fellows have received Masters Degrees and have chosen to pursue their PhDs with new STEP partners. STEP Fellows have authored scientific publications, and have given presentations and posters in global meetings. Each STEP Fellow influences the lives of dozens or hundreds of others in their jobs and communities. There is an exponential return on the investment in the training of STEP Fellows.