Monthly Archives: February 2011

The official directive of the Israeli Ministry of Health on Cultural Competence is now formal!

Congratulations! We are proud to announce that the official directive of the Ministry of Health that deals with cultural competency in the health system in Israel has finally been published!

Link to the directive (Hebrew).

For a number of years the field of cultural competency has been backed by the weight of law abroad, albeit in varying ways and degrees of obligation. Thus, for example the “National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)” require health care institutions in the USA to maintain standards of language accessibility, and to be subject to government inspection. In Israel, on the other hand, any implementation of cultural competency measures depends on the goodwill of decision makers in the system. This directive changes that.

The JICC pushed for instituting standards / requirements similar to practice abroad, starting in the summer of 2010. We drafted documents that helped the Ministry of Health in formulating the directive. For the first time, this directive delineates principles and standards for cultural accessibility in health care organizations and institutions on a national level. This will include translation services, education and training of medical staffs, environmental adaptations of the institutions, and more. Our documents, “Guidelines to Assimilating Approaches of Cultural Competency in Health Care Organizations in ISrael”, as well as a more detailed “Guide to Accessibility Manual”, helped in the process and are intended to serve as authoritative guides for professionals in Israel.

This directive is revolutionary on a national level, and signifies a change in policy for the entire health care system as well as each health care organization. It is based on our successes in Jerusalem, thanks to our collaboration with the Jerusalem Foundation, the New Israel Fund and Emun Hatsibur. Our task is not yet finished – we believe there will be a long, hard road ahead in engaging and assimilating all the different guidelines in the directive – for many of these changes require money and health care institutions’ budgets are already stretched too thin. But today we reached an important benchmark in creating an excellent point of reference in the area of fighting inequality in the health care system and working toward equal access and cultural competency.

Our next task is to work to assimilate the standards in health care institutions in the city (apparently we will need to help to do this beyond Jerusalem as well), and to integrate principles in the directive in other systems in Jerusalem (Municipality, National government, businesses, etc.). The health system is just the first that is internalizing this approach!

Link to the Jerusalem Post Article on the directive

PDF of the Jerusalem Post Article on the directive

2016-10-02T14:33:43+00:00 February 10th, 2011|Blog, Cultural Competence, Cultural Competence in Health Services|

Cultural Competence in the Healthcare System in Jerusalem in 2010

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.
2014-04-04T12:56:34+00:00 February 10th, 2011|Blog, Cultural Competence, Cultural Competence in Health Services|

The Arabic-Hebrew Studies Center in Jerusalem – the 2010-11 classes

This fall we have opened up 6 courses in Arabic: 2 in Level 1 (beginners), 2 in Level 2 (advanced beginners), 1 in Level 3 (intermediate) and 1 in Level 4 (advanced). Last year we had “just” 5 courses, and in the last years, because of the demand, we find ourselves expanding the number of courses every year.

The groups meet on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the newly renovated JICC building. This year, the participants enjoy the new heating and air-conditioning systems, audio-visual capacities for learning, new furniture and more. Following the renovations, we have now a much more adequate second floor for the courses – more space options for the classes, less noise and interruptions between the groups, and even more restroom stalls…

The goal of the courses is to train professionals who need to use Arabic in their professional capacities to communicate on a reasonable level, and the curriculum is designed for this purpose. Classes include a large component of discussions and listening to songs and other verbal material to practice. “After only 4-5 lessons, the teacher gave us a 30-minute lecture in Arabic – on the teacher’s family, on their pilgrimage to Mecca, etc. and we understood everything!” exclaimed one participant.

This year we have more than 70 participants – students, professionals and activists who come into regular contact with Arabic-speaking residents and who need it to communicate with them.

“I enjoy the course immensely,” said another participant. “I don’t believe I’ll ever be fully fluent, but it does definitely help me to understand Arab culture and history. I am now more aware of the presence and (or absence) of Arabic all around me – on signs, in stores. It is also very interesting for me to see the similarities between Arabic and the language found in Jewish sources.”

More on the JICC courses can be found in the blog post from last year.

2014-04-09T17:42:30+00:00 February 7th, 2011|Blog, Courses, Language Center|