Following a strategic planning process for adapting Clalit’s clinics to Ethiopian patients, we held today the first workshop on cultural competence in serving the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem. The work with Clalit is a component of the Jerusalem Cultural Competence in Health Project initiated by the Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center and the Jerusalem Foundation. In this project we aspire to make the Jerusalem district of the Clalit HMO much more culturally competent.
This specific workshop was delivered to all staff members of the Clalit Primary Care Clinic in the Ir Ganim neighborhood. The clinic serves 450 Ethiopian families, most of which arrived to Israel about 10 years ago. Our approach to cultural competence trainings, based on international experience, is to provide tools that will be relevant to other cultures in the neighborhood as well. Yet, in this training, emphasis was given to the unique Ethiopian case.
The Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center has developed a training based on a series of case-studies. Some of the cases are raised by the participants themselves and others are formulated specifically for the training and presented by the JICC staff with the help of a professional medical actress. In Ir Ganim we were happy to work with an artist, Ethiopian by origin, that played the patient in these case simulations. Through the analysis of the cases, the participants learn relevant models and tools: how to create better patient-provider inter-cultural communication, cross-cultural communication tools, best ways to work with interpreters and tele-interpreters and, importantly, how to deal with culturally-oriented political issues that may divert the staff from its professional work. Our experience shows that in Israel, probably more than in other Western countries, political issues related to racism, religious coercion, and other inter-group tensions, may create major challenges to the staff.
The second part of the training in Ir ganim will take place on March 23. In the meanwhile, the feedback provided at the end of the training indicated that this was a very important and fruituil training experience. We all look forward to the next meeting.
Our next step following the training in Ir Ganim is to provide similar trainings in the rest of the Clalit Jerusalem district clinics serving the Ethiopian community.