Health and Medicine People and Community

Fellowship offers School of Nursing and Health Studies researcher valuable time in Israel

Nicholas Metheny, assistant professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, was chosen as a Fellow for the Faculty Fellowship in Israel program. He was able to connect with Israeli colleagues and explore the complexities of the Middle East.
Nicholas Metheny, an assistant professor of nursing in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, spent two weeks in Israel this summer as part of a fellowship. Photo: Courtesy of Nicholas Metheny

Nicholas Metheny, an assistant professor of nursing and nurse-scientist in the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, was among 33 faculty members selected from across the nation to participate in the Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel this summer. 

Seeking to connect scholars from diverse disciplines with Israeli counterparts at major institutions for the purpose of creating and boosting dialogue and partnerships, the program allowed Metheny to travel throughout Israel and meet professors with similar research interests from multidisciplinary backgrounds. Metheny, whose research focuses on preventing and mitigating intimate partner violence mostly among same-sex couples, found the experience to be impactful and interesting. 

“I was one of three nursing professors and I think we were able to bring a really interesting perspective because Israel was just coming out of COVID-19 restrictions,” said Metheny. “There was a lot of conversation about how the acute phase of the pandemic was handled in countries like Israel versus places like Florida.” 

Through the support of the Jewish National Fund-USA, Metheny and the other full-time higher education faculty members explored Israeli and Palestinian societies. They also visited cultural and historical sites such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights, and the Dead Sea during the two-week trip. 

“When I set foot in Israel for the first time and saw all these sites that I read about growing up—like the Sea of Galilee—it was  so impactful,” said Metheny. “I realized that you really can’t truly appreciate a place until you visit.”

Metheny said he was appreciative of being selected from hundreds of applicants to be a part of such a unique experience. The Fellows visited Druze communities in the Golan Heights, toured Christian-owned vineyards, listened to award-winning Palestinian journalists, spoke at length with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and were even able to visit Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as the Ezer Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The latter served as an especially eye-opening experience for Metheny as he listened to Palestinians discuss their views of Israel, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and their shared desire for peace.

The trip, he said, was so impactful that he will be looking at his own research a little differently now. He is already preparing a National Institutes of Health grant along with two Israeli professors he met during the program. 

“Israel is the only place for thousands of miles in most directions where LGBTQ people are afforded any rights and privileges at all, but those policies don’t erase the stigma felt by this community. We know this stigma leads to violence, but there has never been a study about violence with LGBTQ people in Israel,” explained Metheny. “I’m really excited to do the first one and continue building a program of research with Arab and Jewish colleagues I met there. It shows how fruitful this experience was.”