One of our major projects this year has been cultural competency in the health care system. Cultural competency aims to help all cultures, ethnicities and faiths to have equal access to quality medical care. We do this by training medical translators, training medical and paramedical staff in cultural sensitivity, and adapting signage and other infrastructure to include the main required languages. Following are highlights of our 2010 activities:
Hadassah Medical Center – Mount Scopus
- For the first time, we held a 5-day medical translation course for 34 volunteer translators.
- We held cultural competence seminars for about 80 medical and paramedical staff in the emergency, pediatrics, gynecology and maternity departments.
- Between November 2010 – January 31, 2011, nearly 300 requests for translation were registered.
Alyn Rehabilitative Hospital
- We held 6 full-day cultural competence seminars for 120 medical and paramedical staff.
- We added a new 2-hour introduction on cultural sensitivity to training for new staff.
- We facilitated the opening of the first Muslim prayer room at a Jerusalem hospital in May.
- We’ve ensured that all signs are now written in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
- Thanks to our efforts, the more than 3,300 patients (including day and long-term) that Alyn admits each year are helped by more culturally sensitive staff.
Clalit Medical Organization
- We held cultural sensitivity seminars for at least 100 medical and paramedical staff at primary care clinics throughout Jerusalem.
- Thanks to our efforts, tens of thousands of patients of the 5 primary care clinics throughout Jerusalem benefitted from a more culturally sensitive staff.
Developing New Relationships
- We held preliminary discussions with Bikur Holim Hospital and Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center to introduce a comprehensive cultural competency programs.
- We drafted Guidelines to Assimilating Approaches of Cultural Competency in Health Care Organizations, as well as a more detailed Guide to Accessibility Manual, which will serve as authoritative guides for professionals in Israel.
- We were involved in a process with the Israel Ministry of Health that led to a directive that will institute national standards for cultural competency in health care organizations throughout Israel. Published on 8 February 2011, it will signify a revolution in cultural competency in health care, both in acknowledgement of its importance and in practice in improved policy measures.