A few weeks ago we finished cultural competency training for over 200 staff at the main Jerusalem branch of the Maccabi HMO. This consisted of one-day (8-hour) seminars each with 20 – 25 participants each. This was our “standard” one-day introduction to cultural competency, that included theoretical and practical learning of cultural competency – cross-cultural communication, , medical interpretation, dealing with social and political tensions and more. Since these workshops sought to concentrate on providing culturally competent services to the Haredi population, in the afternoon session a medical actor and Haredi Rabbi joined us, and we practiced real-life situations. Central to the discussions was the “triangle” in Haredi society that connects between medicine, Jewish law (halachah) and Haredi culture. These workshops join other workshops that we’ve conducted in Jerusalem for the Clalit Health Services (see here for earlier blog posts), and Meuchedet Health Services (see here for earlier blog posts).
The seminars took place between October 2014 and February 2015, and encompassed a wide range of disciplines – medical and paramedical staff, as well as administration. Participants were quite enthusiastic. One remarked, “Cultural competency is the a-b-c of quality service, and it incorporates values that help us to provide the highest quality of services [to all patients].”