Cultural Competence

Santé Israël – Leading Francophone Public Health Awareness in Jerusalem

There are many French-speaking associations and professionals to help the Francophone immigrants in the city. However, only one – Santé Israël – has a comprehensive view of all health-care issues, and how they specifically affect Jerusalem’s French-speaking population.

French speaking health care fair at Ginot Ha'Ir Community Council

French speaking health care fair at Ginot Ha’Ir Community Council

For this reason, Santé Israël, together with the Ginot Ha’Ir Community Center, the Municipal Absorption Authority, and others, held a “Health in French” happening at the Ginot Ha’ir Community Center on May 22.

Proper brushing - very important!

Proper brushing – very important!

The event presented a number of associations and professionals for French-speaking immigrants, as well as activities for all ages. Magen David Adom was there with an ambulance, distributing information and presenting a first aid seminar. The different HMO’s were there, presenting the different services they offer for French speakers. Representatives of the municipal health services such as a local well-baby clinic and dental clinic, French-speaking opticians, the French Pharmacy, and a range of alternative therapy practitioners were also on hand to demonstrate their techniques. Representatives of immigrant organizations were there as well for further assistance. The children enjoyed jumpy castles, large bubbles and games run by the Jerusalem Lions football club.

Magen David Adom - in French too!

Magen David Adom – in French too!

Some 50 members of the Pharmadom Foundation came to the fair as part of their annual visit to Israel. They met and mingled with the professionals as well as with participants.

In preparation for the event, Santé Israël Director, Marie Avigad, was interviewed on the Radio Studio Qualita. Here she spoke about the work of Santé Israël, and the upcoming event:

 

Here’s the post (in French) about the event:

Many thanks to the to the Pharmadom Foundation and the Rashi Foundation for their continuing support of Santé Israël.

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Cultural Competency in Rights Realization Citywide

Why do Arab residents from East Jerusalem utilize volunteer rights centers in West Jerusalem? What’s the difference between a Haredi person’s usage of B’Ezrat Hashem (With God’s help) or Bli Neder (God willing)? And how would you deal with these questions if faced with a real-life situation?

Listening to a very interesting lecture

Listening to a very interesting lecture

Some 30 volunteers who work in the Municipality’s rights realization centers from throughout the city participated in introduction to cultural competency workshops resented by our Director of the Cultural Competency Desk, Orna Shani, on April 30.  This workshop focused not on the specific answers to these questions, but rather on how to handle the range of cultures and ethnicities that are served by the municipal rights centers. Rights centers are operated by the municipal welfare department, part of the Social Services Division of the Jerusalem Municipality that is undergoing a process of becoming culturally competent. You can read more about this process here and here.

The volunteers learned about the principles of cultural competency, about different meanings of common phrases that often seem to mean the same thing, about what to do when a volunteer has pre-conceived notions about a particular group of people, the different types of requests from different types of people, and more. All in a process to help more of Jerusalem’s diverse populations gain access to rights guaranteed them by law.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of Cultural Competency in Jerusalem.

 

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Cultural Competency in the Workplace: Health Care

We’ve mentioned here the many ways we develop cultural competency in the health care system – from the perspective of the national and local authorities (Ministry of Health, municipalities) to HMO’s, individual clinics and hospitals, schools of nursing and medicine, and more.

We continue to introduce  concepts of cultural competency wherever we can. This includes the Change Agents course of the Israeli Forum for Employment Diversity, which consists of businesses and non-profits that are working to further diversity in the workplace. This includes increasing the integration of populations with disabilities as well as a range of cultures and ethnicities.

Orna Shani, Desk Director, lecturing

Orna Shani, Desk Director, lecturing

We’ve been giving lectures to the Forum for some years now. Cultural Competency Desk Director Orna Shani recently lectured to a course for diversity managers from health care organizations, hospitals and HMO’s, from throughout the country. The main goal of these diversity managers is to integrate populations with special needs into the work force.

Of the 25 participants, only 5 had heard about cultural competency before. Our discussion included language accessibility, on the connection between diversity and employment, the current situation and the desired situation.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of cultural competency since its beginning.

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2017-06-30T15:25:41+00:00 May 18th, 2017|Blog, Cultural Competence, Cultural Competence in Health Services|

ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital – Still a Model for Fully Integrated Cultural Competency

Ten years ago we began working with the ALYN Hospital, helping to turn their facility into the first fully culturally competent health care institution in the country. Today, cultural competency is a relatively common concept not only in the health care field, but also in welfare, academia, community work, and even the Israel Police.

Opening of Alyn Muslim Prayer Room

Opening of Alyn Muslim Prayer Room

The Israel Religious Action Center was so impressed of the success of ALYN, that it recently made this video, briefly explaining the process that the hospital went through. Indeed, when organizations ask us of a good example in the field of cultural competence, we often send them to Dr. Maurit Beeri, ALYN hospital director, to get her insights on the process and the excellent outcomes they have.

We’re proud to be part of this process. Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, our long-time partner in cultural competency.

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The Little Prince – Dutifully Making Sure Jerusalem is Clean

“It’s an issue of discipline,” the little prince explained afterward. “After we finish the morning washing up, we must dutifully make sure that the planet is clean.”

This passage comes from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Svetlana Fedotenko, founder of the Gonenim Music Center and a former participant in our leadership training seminar, who died last year, had been inspired by this passage, and dreamt for a long time to create a project that will put residents in charge of keeping our streets clean. (Click here for more about Svetlana).

We, too, were inspired by Svetlana’s dream, and last week we took some steps to make that dream come true.

Meeting for the Little Prince

Meeting for the Little Prince

We have seen how, of all subjects, garbage can be a unifying factor. We saw it when our MiniActive project banded together to fight for improved sanitation in East Jerusalem. We’ve seen it in the French Hill  – Issawiya area, where Israeli and Palestinian residents banded together to successfully fight the placement of a landfill in their backyards. We saw in city hall, how the one issue that brought secular and Haredi city council members together was the subject of garbage collection. (Below is more information about the French Hill – Issawiya situation)

We had the first organizing meeting last week. More than 25 active residents and community leaders – astoundingly, 1/3 Arab, 1/3 Haredi and 1/3 secular/religious (Don’t remember a time when that EVER happened on its own!) – met at the JICC. We heard about the current awful situation – in collection, in enforcement, in recycling, in teaching toward cleanliness and in teaching toward reduction of waste. We heard about fantastic initiatives that are already taking place, and concluded that such initiatives, together with mutual learning and assistance, can really change the city.

Another picture

Another picture

The group is already beginning to act, and we believe that in another month we’ll be able to invite anyone for whom this subject is close to his heart – residents, professional, community center, educational framework, environmental groups, NGO’s – to join this initiatives. In honor of Svetlana, we’re calling the program The Little Prince.

We’ll be waiting for you, after the morning washing up…

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Continuing Cultural Competency Training at the Municipal Welfare Department

As difficult as it is, one of our overarching goals is to make Jerusalem a culturally competent city. This also includes, of course, entire Jerusalem Municipality culturally competent. You can read here about our initial training for workers in the welfare department. We’ve just finished a Training the Trainers course for 10 Welfare Department workers, who join the 15  graduates of the first cohort, which took place in November – December of 2016. This 4-session course enabled participants to conduct cultural competency workshops for the entire Welfare Department.

Community Service Department

Community Service Department

Participants learned how to lead cultural competency training, including, of course, the main principles of cultural competency. We covered a number of cultural and ethnicity-based issues that welfare department professionals encounter on a regular basis. Through discussions and special videos that we developed for the course, we introduced a number of case studies. Participants then learned from these case studies and evaluated them so they could use them in their work.

They will also be in charge of assimilating these principles throughout the year.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continuing support of the cultural competency project in Jerusalem.
And here’s the post in Hebrew of the first meeting:

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Experts in the Field, Writing the Manual – Cultural Competence in Community Work

We’re proud to announce the publication of a new manual, Cultural Competence in Community Work, that was recently published under the auspices of the Israel Ministry of Welfare. Our director, Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir and Dr. Orna Shemer co-authored the manual, which is available in Hebrew. You can download a copy here.

Cultural Competence in Community Work manual

Cultural Competence in Community Work manual

It seems to be the first extensive manual of cultural competence in community organizing / building / development, including some novel community approaches that are specifically useful for diverse communities. The 150-page manual covers a wide range of the many aspects associated with cultural competency and community work. It discusses the principles from 5 different angles – focusing on the personal – individual worker, on the professional, on the organization, on the community, on the public sphere. And it offers suggested methods in how to work with people from different cultures. Just like the Manual for Integrating Cultural Competency in Health Care Organizations that was published in 2015 (the Hebrew version is here), and the video units, we expect this to be the source of information for cultural competency in community work.

We would like to thank the Israel Ministry of Welfare and Bruce (Baruch) Sugarman, the Director of the Community Work Service at the Ministry, for publishing this manual and hope that it will be helpful to workers and activists in many communities.

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Raising Awareness – and Internet Site Clicks – with Santé Israël in Tel Aviv

It was a pleasant surprise – 106 entrances to the Santé Israël French-language web site on Sunday, February 12, 2017. But why?

And then it became obvious….

Presenting Sante Israel in Tel Aviv

Presenting Santé Israël in Tel Aviv

Santé Israël’s director, Marie Avigad, had held a meeting with about 30 French-speaking new immigrants, organized by the immigrant absorption officials at the Tel Aviv municipality. They asked questions about the different HMO’s, supplementary HMO coverage, and private insurance. They also asked what to do and to whom to turn during an emergency, how to reach a specialist, which forms different HMO’s need, how to understand what’s going on in a hospital, and more.

Discussing a range of health care issues

Discussing a range of health care issues

As the numbers show, the presentation hit a nerve. Thank you Santé Israël for your hard work, and the vast amount of information you make available to French-speakers in Israel. Many thanks to the to the Pharmadom Foundation and the Rashi Foundation for their continuing support of Santé Israël.

Mny thanks to Celine and Nicole for organizing the meeting!

Many thanks to Céline and Nicole for organizing the meeting!

Here’s the Facebook post about the meeting:

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Groundbreaking Cultural Competency Work with the National Insurance Institute East Jerusalem Branch

We’ve been describing here and here the long and complicated process of how we’ve been helping the East Jerusalem branch of the National Insurance Institute (NII) become more culturally competent. We’ve also described here and here the efforts of Atta’a to work with different government and municipal bodies to improve access to rights. Last week, the joint efforts of our Cultural Competency desk and the Atta’a program led to groundbreaking meeting between Palestinian Arab residents of East Jerusalem and the National Insurance Institute.

Meeting with the National Insurance Institute

Meeting with the National Insurance Institute

The meeting took place on February 8, 2017, as part of the NII’s process of becoming more culturally competent. The goal was to hear about real experiences of the residents who need to receive services from that branch. Residents described language obstacles, complicated bureaucracy, long waits in several lines, and more. Importantly, resident-participants who were brought in were educated – including a lawyer, a doctor and other medical personnel, a social worker and mothers to children with special needs. This means that, unlike many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, these residents are more familiar with Hebrew and more familiar with the rights they are supposed to be receiving, but still, obtaining those rights in East Jerusalem is very, very difficult. Through Atta’a, we – and they – are trying to change that.

Voicing concerns for change

Voicing concerns for change

NII representatives listened. When possible they tried to offer specific solutions. The main purpose of the meeting was that they would take these issues back to the entire branch and discuss ways in offering solutions adapted to the specific needs of East Jerusalem residents. Both residents and workers felt that such meetings should become regular encounters.

Can’t wait to see how this develops!

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of both cultural competency processes in Jerusalem and of Atta’a.

 

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Strengthening the Network of Cultural Competence Coordinators

Part of the importance of our work in cultural competency – especially in cultural competency in health care – is sustainability. Helping the coordinators sustain and develop culturally competent practices in their own institutions. We hold period in-service days for coordinators 2-3 times a year. Our latest meeting for Jerusalem-based coordinators was on January 31.

Cultural competency coordinators meeting

Cultural competency coordinators meeting

The meeting included participants from all 4 of Israel’s HMO’s and four hospitals. They discussed a range of issues that they deal with on an ongoing basis in their respective institutions. One of the major issues discussed was communicating in what is known as ‘plain language,’ or ‘writing designed to ensure the reader understands as quickly, easily, and completely as possible.’ It is especially useful within the context of cultural competency, as a way to enable populations who are not fluent in Hebrew to understand necessary information. Dr. Michal Schuster introduced a number of examples of different forms and medical letters, and participants practiced simplifying language, to bring back to their home institutions.

Talking about different issues

Plain Language exercises

The staff from the Hadassah Hospitals (both Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem) also presented the “In Your Language” program that offers volunteer medical interpretation. They discussed the benefits and challenges of the program, including recruiting and keeping volunteer interpreters. They also presented 3 volunteers, who discussed the challenges they face, and how they deal with those challenges.   

The interpreters described a number of their experiences. One was a situation in which parents came along with their son, who suffered from diabetes. The doctor asked a lot of questions, including many nuanced questions about his everyday life, which were important for him to adjust the son’s medication and return him to everyday routine. Another example was that of a woman who suffered from repeated miscarriages. With the help of the interpreter, she received very specific instructions on different tests she was to take in order to try and prevent miscarriages in this pregnancy. There were many  more examples.

One of the challenges the interpreters face is that they are unable to be present at every situation that could be helped by medical interpretation. Another is that many of the doctors prefer in-person interpretation to telephone interpretation. A third is the emotional toll interpretation can take on the volunteers, who are often exposed to difficult situations and difficult illnesses. Thus, the support that Hadassah provides for its interpreters is of utmost importance.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of this program.

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