Cultural Competence

Celebrating a Decade of Cultural Competency: New Practical Uses for Old Traditions: The Ethiopian Case

It’s incredible that we’ve been leading efforts to increase cultural competency for the past 10 years. To celebrate, as we’ve described here and here, we’re hosting a series of lectures in partnership with the ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital and the Jerusalem Foundation. The latest lecture was on Monday, October 15, 2018. In honor of the upcoming Sigd Holiday, which will take place on November 7, the lecture focused on the source of the holiday, and enabled a closer look at different traditions that the Ethiopian community in Israel brings to society. This community had been disconnected from the rest of the Jewish world for more than 2,000 years until coming to Israel, and still preserves its ancient traditions while also developing new ones.

Yuvi lecturing

Yuvi lecturing

The lecturer was Ms. Yuvi Tashome-Katz, who was born in Ethiopia and came to Israel via Sudan. Today Yuvi is a social entrepreneur and activist, with twenty years’ experience in community work and counseling, and today is a member of the southern city of Gadera’s city council. In recognition of her social activities, Yuvi was chosen to light one of the ceremonial torches on the 2011 Independence Day celebrations. Later that year she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Initiatives and Innovation and the Matanel Prize for Groundbreaking Leadership.   

Lecturing to a full house

Lecturing to a full house

In addition to the Sigd holiday, Yuvi spoke about how women learned about womanhood and parenting from the ‘Women’s House’ – a place women stayed during ‘menstruation holiday,’ as well as for 40 days after birth. From a young age teenagers were shown how to care for babies, nursing, and more. Children were taught to strengthen their abilities, and tasks around the house and in the fields were assigned according to their abilities. In addition, information about medicinal herbs, nutrition and other health-related issues was passed along orally from one to another.

ALYN’s lecture hall was full to the gills, and the 50 members of the audience had a fascinating lecture. The participants were impressed by the sheer amount of knowledge the Ethiopian elders had, and how much knowledge Israeli society missed out on. Participants were enthusiastic to invite Yuvi back, to help them better understand how this knowledge can help the therapeutic process.

Many thanks to Yuvi, to ALYN, and of course, to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of cultural competency since its inception!

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Santé Israël – in the Times of Israel French Edition

We’re always proud to talk about Santé Israël, the go-to website for information in French about the Israeli health system. Nowadays it is much more than a website – with a free consultation service and French-speaking volunteers who help on-site the navigate the Israeli healthcare system.

And we even prouder to see them in print, this time in the French edition of the Times of Israel. For the link to the article, click here.

The Times of Israel article

The Times of Israel article

Here’s the text of the article in French:

Une nouvelle interface en français pour le système de santé israélien

La Fondation Pharmadom, sous l’égide de la Fondation du judaïsme français, a mis sur pied le site Santé Israël à destination des francophones

La fondation Pharmadom, et d’autres organisations telles que le Centre Interculturel de Jérusalem en collaboration avec la fondation Rashi ont participé ont lancé un site gratuit permettant aux francophones de s’orienter simplement dans le système de santé israélien.

Un système qui peut s’avérer un peu déroutant pour les nouveaux immigrants français.

« Trouver un centre médical d’urgence ou un médecin et préparer sa visite, localiser des services de santé français, se renseigner sur les équivalences des médicaments en France et en Israël, déchiffrer une ordonnance, trouver une pharmacie ou encore se renseigner sur la couverture des caisses sont autant d’interrogations auxquelles le site répond à travers des pages et des rubriques faciles d’accès, » affirme Pharmadom.

Le site permet également d’aider à trouver un praticien francophone en Israël.

Créée en 2003 à l’initiative de pharmaciens, la fondation Pharmadom, sous l’égide de la Fondation du judaïsme français, aide « les populations fragiles en facilitant l’accès aux soins en France et en Israël ». Elle soutient notamment financièrement depuis mai 2016 à Haïfa le Pharmadom Vision Center, qui vient en aide à des malvoyants.

Many thanks to the Pharmadom and Rashi Foundations for their continued support of Santé Israël.

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Cultural Competency within the Haredi community?

When we talk about cultural competency, it’s usually about helping service providers serve a range of minority groups better. Or it’s about one minority group learning to work better within the majority’s ‘system.’ But what about one minority group within itself?

This was our focus when we held a cultural competency workshop for women lecturers at the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) in early July. The JCT is an institute of higher education that targets Orthodox and Haredi men and women, in separate campuses and in single-gender classes, focusing on engineering and computers, management and life and biological sciences (such as nursing).

Teaching cultural competency at the JCT

Teaching cultural competency at the JCT

The lecturers came from a range of disciplines – business administration, mathematics, law, nursing, and more, and themselves represented a variety of cultures and religious observances.

From the outside, the Haredi world might seem monolithic and singular. But when you look more closely that world is extremely diverse, and cultural competency skills are necessary in teaching, especially if the lecturers do not come from that world, which was the case for some in the workshop. Some lecturers spoke about how they looked for course content that was appropriate for the students, including examples that the students could relate to. Another lecturer spoke about how her students address her in the third person, as is the norm in the Haredi world. Yet another told that the teaching style expected in the Haredi world leaves little room for spontaneity in the classroom, which is quite different than what she’s used to in other ‘general’ frameworks. And yet another, a lecturer in economics, told about an incident of a male colleague. He wanted to present the Brazilian economic model to his female students. He typed in “Brazilian model” into Google, and got quite a different result than he’d planned.  While everyone in the class was quite embarrassed, workshop participants agreed that the matter would have been considered much more serious if it’d been a class of only male students….

This is just one example of our continued work in the field of cultural competency, in Jerusalem and throughout Israel. We would like to extend our gratitude to the Jerusalem Foundation, for its continuing support of Cultural Competency in Jerusalem since its inception a decade ago.

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Santé Israël – Bikur Olim (Bikour Olim)

There are some 100,000 French-speaking immigrants living in Israel. What do they do if they need extra help in navigating the health care system?

Training to help French-speaking immigrants

Training to help French-speaking immigrants

Santé Israël is here to help, with its Bikur Olim project. In French, it is written Bikour Olim.

Bikur Olim (a play on the phrase, Bikur Cholim, which means visiting the sick) is piloting in Jerusalem. Operating in cooperation with the Qualita organization that assists French-speaking immigrants in Israel, and with the generous support of the Pharmadom Foundation, the program seeks to help and accompany French-speaking immigrants to access their rights – in the health system, at the Municipality, at the National Insurance Institute, and other service providers.

At the second meeting at the JICC offices

At the second meeting at the JICC offices

In June we held 2 training sessions for program volunteers, one at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center and the other at our offices on Mount Zion. In the first meeting the volunteers met Estelle Rubenstein, Director of Social Services at Hadassah Ein Kerem. Estelle advised the volunteers on how they can accompany patients and families at the hospital, and how to help them access their rights without expressing their personal opinions. Aviva Yoselis, MPH, from the Shira Pransky Project, presented skills on effective three-way communication between a doctor, a volunteer and the patient.

Parts of the presentation at the second meeting

Parts of the presentation at the second meeting

The second session was led by our Cultural Competency Desk Director, Orna Shani. Orna concentrated on dilemmas that might arise as during the accompanying process, the role of the volunteer in a meeting vs. straight translation, and the different stages of accompanying a client.

They are now producing a flyer, and during and after the High Holiday season they’ll begin offering their services. Can’t wait to see the good they’re going to do.

With calling cards and everything

With calling cards and everything

 

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In Your Language – Hadassah Celebrates a Decade of Cultural Competency

One of our first projects when we started the Cultural Competency project a decade ago, together with the Jerusalem Foundation, was to work with Hadassah in making its systems culturally competent.

Cultural Competency workshops in action

Cultural Competency workshops in action

A large component of their work was establishing a translation service for patients. This grew into the “In Your Language” project, which today provides in-person translation and interpretation from Hebrew into Arabic, Russian and Amharic, in both of Hadassah’s campuses, Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem. Here is the clip from 2011 about the project:

Recently, the Israeli Foreign Ministry recently made a short video in Arabic for its Arabic Facebook page. We just had to share this! Here’s the video:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continued support of our cultural competency program since its establishment.

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Celebrating a Decade of Cultural Competence – Third Lecture in a Series

We’ve reported here about Cultural Competency’s 10th anniversary year, which we’re celebrating with a series of lectures at the ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital. On Monday, June 25 we heard the third lecture, by Mr. Kassim Baddarni, Director of the El-Taj organization that advocates for Muslim patients.

The Muslim Patient

Mr. Kassim Baddarni, The Muslim Patient

In his lecture entitled, “Care for the Muslim Patient – between Competence and Apathy.” He spoke about cultural, linguistic and religious principles that affect care for Muslim patients, and what they require for the most effective care. He also spoke about what is permitted and forbidden in medical care according to Islam. These can be divided into 4 principles:

  1. The need cancels out the prohibition. Thus, for example, it’s permissible to get insulin shots or take medication that contains alcohol (which is usually forbidden in Islam), since these treatments are irreplaceable.
  2. Abstention from anything that harms the body physically or emotionally, such as smoking or any other risk factor.
  3. When faced with a situation that presents two acts that are generally forbidden under Islam, one should choose the act that does less harm, such as an abortion that aims to save the mother’s life.
  4. The public good comes before personal benefit. Thus, giving blood and donating organs are allowed and encouraged.

Many thanks to ALYN for being the trailblazers of Cultural Competency a decade ago, and for the use of their space this year. And of course many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their strategic partnership in Cultural Competency since the conception of the program.

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Celebrating a Decade of Cultural Competence

It’s really been 10 years, a decade since we began our Cultural Competency project in the health system. In March 2008 we held what turned out to be the first conference on  Cultural Competency at the ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital. In the 10 years since, we, and ALYN, have been trailblazers in cultural competency in Israel. ALYN was the first hospital to strive for full cultural competence on an everyday level, and we have become national leaders in cultural competency not only in the health care system, but in a range of different areas – from the work place to welfare and other municipal departments.

Dr. Maurit Be'ere and Daud Alian, addressing the first lecture celebrating a decade of Cultural Competency

Dr. Maurit Be’ere and Daud Alian, addressing the first lecture celebrating a decade of Cultural Competency

We decided to celebrate this accomplishment with a series of lectures on Cultural  Competency. The first focused on a lecture by Daud Alian, Director of the Atta’a Assistance Center for the Rights of Palestinian East Jerusalem Residents, on accessibility of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to health, welfare and education services.

The audience, listening attentively

The audience, listening attentively

ALYN’s lecture hall was full. Dr. Adit Dayan, Director of Community Projects from the Jerusalem Foundation, our strategic partner in Cultural Competency since its inception, opened the conference, along with Dr. Maurit Be’ere, Director of ALYN and the person responsible for bring cultural competency to the hospital, and Tal Cohen, who today is the coordinator for cultural competence at ALYN.

We can’t thank the Jerusalem Foundation enough for their partnership over the years.

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Cultural Competency Coordinators – Putting Themselves in the ‘Other’s Shoes

One of the best ways to reduce inter-cultural tensions is by mentalization – understanding everyone’s viewpoints, needs and wants. Acknowledging the complexity of the situation, and even going through the process, helps to ease tensions, explained Irit Hovitz Fleishman, MSW, Founder and CEO of Grand Staff, which helps organizations and businesses manage greatly diverse staffs. Irit was the guest lecturer at the quarterly meeting of Jerusalem-based Cultural Competency Coordinators that took place on March 7, 2018, at the JICC.

Learning new tools for cultural competency with Irit Hovitz Fleishman

Learning new tools for cultural competency with Irit Hovitz Fleishman

There were representatives from ALYN, Hadassah (Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem), Sha’are Zedek hospitals; the Jerusalem Center for Mental Health; Leumit and Meuchedet HMO’s; and even the newly-appointed Cultural Competency coordinator for the Yehuda Abarbanel Mental Health Center in Tel Aviv. Each representative was asked to bring a few case studies that required cultural sensitivity. The encounter was dedicated to learning Irit’s unique method of multi-cultural management, as well as learning practical methods by examining the case studies.

Examples included:

  • Maintaining volunteers from many cultures
  • Sensitivities to status and the boundaries of different positions
  • Cultural adaptations of staff events and holiday-time presents
  • Dealing effectively with political tensions resulting from outside events
  • Managing staff meetings, dietary restrictions (Kashrut, Halal), fasts, holidays (and vacation time)

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, which has been a strategic partner in Cultural Competency since its inception.

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Cultural Competency Weaved into the Fabric of Sha’are Zedek Medical Center

A woman comes to the hospital to deliver a baby, and her husband is the one who speaks to the doctors. How do you best communicate? How do you make sure that the woman’s needs are being met, while respecting the cultural mores of the patient, which dictate that the man does the talking?

This is just one of the examples discussed last week in a cultural competency training seminar that was held at Sha’are Zedek Medical Center last week, for 15 staff members from the gynecology clinic.

Staff training staff at Shaare Zedek

Staff training staff at Shaare Zedek

But this seminar was different than other seminars. This one was led by Sha’are Zedek staff, in a regularly-scheduled staff meeting.

We reported here and here about our two Training the Trainer courses, which sought to enable in-house staff at the different health services in Jerusalem to present the principles of cultural competency / sensitivity to other staff members. In discussions with Sha’are Zedek, it was decided that short introductions, during regularly-scheduled meetings, would be the best way to ensure that as many staff as possible were introduced to the basic concepts of cultural competency.

The staff meet a wide range of ethnicities and cultures in their work in the outpatient clinics and delivery rooms. The seminar seeks to help them respond to the needs of patients and their families in a way that is culturally sensitive to all of Jerusalem’s diverse population groups.

In light of the response to this seminar, staff are already planning the next, this one to the reception staff of the general outpatient and eye clinics. Congratulations to Sha’are Zedek, for being one of the few hospitals that have made cultural competency training part of its business-as-usual in staff meetings.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its partnership in developing the cultural competency program since 2008!

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Cultural Competency on the Light Rail

It’s been said that Jerusalem’s light rail is one of its prime examples of multiculturalism.

Citypass, a model of multiculturalism

Citypass, a model of multiculturalism

The Citypass company, which operates the Jerusalem light rail, has become an important partner in working to improve tolerance in and around the light rail, including the Tolerance Station outside the Municipality, our Building Jerusalem with Lego stop on Jerusalemite Day, to Tolerance Traing-based tours during the Jerusalem Tolerance Week. But one of their most important initiatives was the series of cultural competency workshops that we ran throughout November 2017 for their 7 customer service representatives.

That is when tensions are high, and it comes out in the conversations the customer service representatives have.

The Customer Service desk

The Customer Service desk

It’s not easy working in customer service, since they are the ones dealing with people who’ve been fined or have complaints. When tensions are high, politeness takes a back burner. “We deal with things like, ‘That dirty/smelly/ stupid Ethiopian ticket checker gave me a fine'” said one of the workers. “How do you respond to that?”

In the workshops, the workers learned how to respond to these and other comments that are based on stereotypes. The training included principles of interpersonal communication that deflects tension-ridden comments.

During one of the four training sessions

During one of the four training sessions

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continued support of Cultural Competency since its inception in 2008.

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