Teaming up with RE-SPECS Frames for the Needy

glasses+recycling

AACI’s Shira Pransky Project has teamed up with RE-SPECS Frames for the Needy to collect used glasses for Israel’s underprivileged populations!

Please donate your pre-loved (gently used) glasses in the collection bin located behind the front desk at AACI’s Glassman Family Center, 37 Pierre Koenig, Jerusalem, as long as the frame is in good condition. There are dozens of other collections points throughout the country as well. Click here for a listing.

Frames are checked and either prepared for re-use or salvaged for usable parts. Usable frames are given to needy populations (recipients are asked to donate a nominal fee of about 20 NIS) including: Those with low income/financial difficulties, Individuals with disabilities, The elderly and holocaust survivors, Victims of terror attacks, New Olim with financial difficulties, Single-parent families and Lone soldiers.

For more information, visit the RE-SPECS website: www.respecsframes.org.

Thanks for your support and your glasses!

MK Dov Lipman and SPP Founder Gabe Pransky Headline Ashkelon Healthcare Conference

On Sunday June 9, a conference entitled Your Health Care as an English Speaker – Learn Your Rights  was held in the Neve Dekalim Community Center in Ashkelon. While the southern city on the coast is not particularly known as being a center of the Israeli English speaking community, the event, headlined by MK Dov Lipman, drew an impressive crowd of local Anglos anxious to hear from “their representative” in the Israeli government, and to understand more about their rights in the healthcare system that they regularly navigate.

MK Dov Lipman speaks emphatically about the rights of Olim to proper healthcare

MK Dov Lipman speaks enthusiastically about the rights of Olim to proper healthcare

The major impetus for the conference was a deadline, last February, by which Israeli health service providers were expected to have implemented the Ministry of Health’s requirements for cultural and linguistic accessibility. As part of these requirements healthcare providers must make sure that the services and much of the information they offer be made available to patients in English!

The theme of the evening emerged as a call to action for English speakers to use their voice as a community to claim their rights to the English accessibility that is explicitly required of healthcare institutions, and to actually motivate change. MK Lipman opened up the evening with a message to the English speaking community that they should view him as their  local congressman, importing a concept from American politics,  as he invited anyone to contact him directly (via email) with their concerns for a personal voice in the government. 

Ronen Regev Kabir, assistant director of the Public Trust (אמון הציבור) organization then presented a direct appeal for complaints about  cultural/linguistic barriers in the healthcare system so that his organization can use these testimonies to pressure health service providers to come into full compliance with the Health Ministry’s regulations. Public Trust also intercedes on behalf of citizens that are in the midst of ongoing issues with an institution connected to language barriers.

Gabe Pransky, founder of the Shira Pransky Project, provided context for the imperative of ensuring English accessibility in Israeli healthcare with some personal experiences, and also appealed to the community to be a part of the slow evolution of the system that is currently taking place by being vigilant in claiming their rights and speaking up when they are not properly implemented.

SPP Founder Gabe Pransky

SPP founder Gabe Pransky told his personal story, explained about basic rights in the healthcare system, and fielded questions from the audience

The final speaker was Dr. Emma Averbuch, a senior Ministry of Health administrator responsible for decreasing inequality in the Israeli healthcare system,  who reviewed the specific linguistic accessibility requirements. She and Gabe Pransky then fielded questions from the audience.

Everyone in attendance at the Ashkelon conference left with a bit more knowledge of their rights in the healthcare system and especially feeling more empowered to claim those rights through the people and organizations dedicated to protecting their interests. Dr. Averbuch, herself a Russian immigrant, later commented in conversation that the voices of immigrants have not been heard enough on these issues in the past, and she finds it personally and professionally inspiring to see the community organizing and speaking up now.

Panel and audience

The crowd in Ashkelon was inspired to claim their rights in the healthcare system after receiving valuable information from (l-r) moderator John Daly, and panel members MK Dov Lipman, Dr. Emma Averbuch, Ronen Regev Kabir, and Gabe Pransky

The conference was sponsored by the Yedid organization as part of their efforts in community empowerment, and organized by a group of students from the ISEF Foundation. With John Daly, a local celebrity (Google him, it’s an interesting read), community organizer and social activist serving as the student group’s coordinator, the conference focused on empowering the local English speaking community, organized as the ESOA (English Speakers of Ashkelon). The Shira Pransky Project was proud to join the other esteemed participants in serving English speakers in Israel and promoting their rights!

Most Comprehensive English Database of Israeli Health Organizations Goes Online

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 3, 2013

Most Comprehensive English Database of Israeli Health Organizations Goes Online

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – The Shira Pransky Project (SPP), a small non-profit organization founded in 2011, has released what is now the most comprehensive English-language database of Israeli healthcare organizations.  The new database, which includes information on nearly 200 organizations, will make much-needed, potentially life-saving information available in English for the first time. For each organization included in the database, a brief description of the organization’s purpose, goals and activities, as well as contact information are included.

Organizations included in the database help patients with a wide range of diseases and conditions ranging from cancer to cystic fibrosis and ulcerative colitis. The database is categorized and each entry is tagged with additional services offered by each organization so that it is easy to use, understand and navigate.

SPP founder Gabe Pransky has said, “Our ultimate goal is to revolutionize the Israeli healthcare system, making it accessible to all English speakers; despite our limited resources, this is one major step we have made to make this vision become a reality.” While listings of healthcare organizations existed before the SPP directory was released, they were either entirely in Hebrew or included only partial information about the organizations’ activities and services.

Pransky says he hopes that the database will prove useful to anyone in Israel who understands English better than Hebrew, especially recent immigrants, English speaking tourists and international health professionals. The directory is now available to the public at: www.ShiraPranskyProject.org/directory.

About The Shira Pransky Project:

The Shira Pransky Project (SPP) develops programs that promote awareness of healthcare-related rights and support among English speakers in Israel. SPP works directly with Israeli assistance organizations to make the invaluable information, support and services they offer available to English speakers who can benefit from these important resources.

The Shira Pransky Project is currently the only organization in Israel dedicated to expanding resources that help English speakers know their healthcare rights and access much-needed support in the healthcare system.

To learn more about SPP’s on-going efforts, please visit: www.ShiraPranskyProject.org or www.facebook.com/ShiraPranskyProject

A Wikipedia of Israeli Social Rights

Have you ever heard of Wikipedia?

That question was supposed to make you crack a smile. You can quibble about the absolute reliability of the information on Wikipedia, but there’s practically no one out there that hasn’t at least used the site as a jumping off point for further investigation. The concept of the collaborative centralized knowledge base is magnificent, if flawed.

Enter Kol Zchut

So how about taking that concept and tweaking it to make a huge difference in people’s lives for a specific subject area, say, social rights in Israel? Well, that is exactly what the organization Kol Zchut (All Rights) is doing, and The Shira Pransky Project is proud to be taking part in it.

You can find out more about Kol Zchut in this recent JPost article, and by visiting their site, but the gist is that they have built a collaborative, Wikipedia-like, website for all information about rights and entitlements in Israel- and unlike Wikipedia, it is all written by experts, often by representatives of the goverment offices and ministries discussed.

Doing Our Part

Their mission is to improve the low uptake of social rights in Israel, especially among weaker populations, and The Shira Pransky Project is taking part on behalf of the English speaking immigrant population, specifically in the area of health rights and related circumstances.

We have begun by translating their healthcare related portals (categorized listings of articles on each entitlement) and have set up volunteers to start inputting these to the English side of the website. This stage is about alleviating cumbersome navigation to vital information, but the individual articles linked to these portals are still in Hebrew, for now.

The first step makes the information a little more accessible- and that may be enough to make a difference for a vast number of English speakers- but it is only the beginning. Of course we must go on to translate the hundreds of individual content articles describing rights and entitlements, who they apply to, how to access them, and all the related resources. This undertaking this will take time, more volunteers, and more funding, but its fulfillment will mean a huge leap forward for English accessibility to Israeli rights and support.

Let’s Get Excited!

We have always believed in the power of  accessibility through awareness, facilitating productive interactions with assistance professionals, aiding the infrastructure of support that is in place, and collaborating with others. It’s truly exciting to be working with another organization dedicated to these very same ideals, and on a project with so much potential for making our goals a reality!

If you realize the importance of initiatives like this, please consider making a donation to The Shira Pransky Project, or getting involved in other ways.

Waking Up!

I just got back from an amazing/inspiring/motivating yom iyun, focusing on the accessibility of patient rights. There were presentations from doctors, professors, administrators, social workers and government officials, all surrounding this urgent objective. 

A few important points:

Everybody knows the challenge

Only within the past few years the concept of bridging the awareness gap between patients and the help and support that they are entitled to has gained a life of its own. There are now several organizations dedicated to finding and implementing solutions, and many more institutions collaborating on these initiatives.

Personally, I’m amazed at how an idea can suddenly be “in the air”, with so many people recognizing it on their own and tackling it from different directions. At the same time that I was first formulating my concept and approach to English accessibility, the Hadassah social work department was just launching their Kivunim  information center, Amitai Korn was conceiving Kol Zchut, Bituach Leumi was revamping their website, and many more institutions were waking up!

English is a slice of the (humble) pie

Israel has much to be proud of in its institutions of public support and protection. Universal healthcare, the social safety net, and the protection of patient rights are all enshrined in law and continually maintained and improved upon. But (!), Israelis of all stripes are missing out on some or all of these entitlements. The statistics on uptake of the support programs that are in place (from Bituach Leumi and elsewhere) for all of the relevant populations are dismal.

Still, certain populations are particularly weak, foremost- immigrants. Yes, English speakers in Israel are immigrants, sharing all the challenges of integration encountered by the Russians, French, Ethiopians, etc. with a few unique hurdles of our own. Something must be done to bolster the awareness and acquisition of entitlements among immigrant communities and every participant in today’s yom iyun agrees. The Shira Pransky Project is making sure that the English speaking community specifically is recognized and addressed.

So what is being done right now?

The general director of the Misrad Habriut issued a directive to all medical service institutions in February 2011 that they must reach a certain standard of “cultural competence”. The gist- all information and services must be accessible in Hebrew, Russian, Arabic and… English! Many people and organizations, including The Shira Pransky Project, are working hard to push this objective and assist institutions scrambling to fulfill it (more about that in a moment).

Government institutions are upgrading and updating their websites, opening information centers, and even co-opting social media to inform the public, respond to inquiries and give directions. (We have direct assurance from Gov.il that they respond to English questions on facebook and twitter.)

Kol Zchut, Kivunim and other organizations, are all constantly promoting information and awareness via their programs. The Shira Pransky Project is working directly with these organizations and others to assist them in English accessibility with translations, recruiting bi-lingual volunteers, and more.

The Shira Pransky Project is also constantly engaging more organizations to advocate for the assistance non-profits to adopt, and maybe even lead the way, in meeting the Health Ministry’s standards for cultural competence, and  our website is in a constant state of evolution to better simplify and present useful information

So what can you do right now?

  1. Get Familiar

    Get to know your rights, entitlements, and avenues for information and support. You can start with our website, but also visit your Kupat Cholim’s English site, and the various English Government sites. Read your Kupat Cholim’s English brochure(s). Read the other English publications out there. Save yourself the pain and frustration of navigating the system, or worse- missed opportunity, by understanding the system you belong to right now.
  2. Speak Up!

    Your Kupat Cholim has an ombudsman’s office, and the Health ministry has an ombudsman’s office, dedicated to receiving complaints and protecting your rights. These professionals need to hear your issues about compromised service in English (or any other issues) in order to address them, and to emphasize the importance of English accessibility in their institutions. The public ombudsman from the Health Ministry spoke today specifically about how even a single complaint about an issue can help them raise flags and result in huge reforms! 

    Also, the public advocacy organization Emun Hatzibur has specifically called for complaints relating to language barriers in health service institutions. They will fight for you to address any imminent situation, and they will use your issue to bolster the Health Ministry’s directive on cultural competence. They can be contacted directly, or you can email these specific complaints to The Shira Pransky Project to be passed on to them.

  3. Unite!

    I’ve held back considerably from launching into a diatribe on the need for English speakers in Israel to come together as a community, especially over important issues. We want institutions to recognize and address the specific needs of our community, but we must also recognize ourselves as such. Whether you have been here for years or weeks you are walking in the shoes of all those ancestors that passed through Ellis Island, and all those other ports around the world, for generations. Yes, this time at least we are immigrants to our own homeland (ironically enough), but here once again, we need the support of our fellows in order to integrate and make it in our (please God) final destination.
  4. Get Involved!

    The Shira Pransky Project recruits bi-lingual volunteers to directly assist health and support organizations in English accessibility and for specific projects. We could also use some help ourselves. Of course, our efforts require financial support, so please donate to support English accessibility. And spread the word.

Congratulations!

You read the whole thing! I guess you agree that this is important stuff, so please share it with others, and leave a comment!

Connecting Volunteers To Israeli Health Organizations

As part of our efforts to raise the bar for English accessibility to Israeli health organizations, The Shira Pransky Project  is looking for volunteers interested in working directly with organizations in English content management such as proofreading/editing and updating website content. If this interests you, please email volunteers@shirapranskyproject.org and you will be added to a database of volunteers who are willing to help as opportunities arise.

Volunteers should have familiarity or willingness to learn basic web content/tech skills like uploading, editing and fixing links on web content managers, and moderate Hebrew proficiency (enough to communicate with Hebrew speaking staff at the different organizations).

Our Collaboration with The Society for Patients’ Rights in Israel

The Shira Pransky Project is proud to describe our ongoing collaboration with The Society for Patients’ Rights in Israel, a volunteer organization that assists patients and their families secure their rights and receive service in the health system. The Society provides a wide-range of valuable services to patients and their family members, including:

  • Advancing public awareness of the social rights of those receiving medical treatment, as well as information on various illnesses and resources to help patients and their families cope with difficult circumstances,
  • Lobbying activity in the Knesset, Misrad Habriut, and other official bodies,
  • Providing free legal aid for patients and their families,
  • Operating a telephone hotline for questions, requests for consultations or complaints regarding infringement of patients’ rights,
  • And several other invaluable public services and activities.

They have also established The Coalition of Healthcare Rights Organizations that holds several meetings of participating organizations annually and advances initiatives throughout the year to promote the agenda of advancing patients’ rights and awareness.

The Shira Pransky Project has translated  much of the important information for the Society’s website. Only a fraction of this content  has already been posted to the English side of their site, while much more will become available very soon as they transition to a completely new design. Meanwhile, even more of their content has been adapted and posted here at ShiraPranskyProject.org, and we are continuing to add more every week. 

In continuing cooperation between the two organizations, The Society for Patients’ Rights has recently distributed our Health Organization Engagement Letter to dozens of Israeli organizations, offering free translation of relevant Hebrew materials into English and other assistance in engaging and making information more accessible for the English-speaking community in Israel. Several organizations have already contacted us and we are currently in the process of addressing their needs and evaluating options for increasing their English accessibility.

Our on-going cooperation with The Society for Patients Rights’ in Israel has established our model for productive collaborations with Israeli health organizations, and we look forward to many more successful relationships with the numerous other organizations that need our help to increase accessibility and awareness of rights and support for Israel’s English-speaking community!

If you realize the importance of initiatives like these, please consider making a donation to The Shira Pransky Project, or getting involved in other ways. 

Get Involved!

There are plenty of ways that the Shira Pransky Project could use your help promoting English accessibility in Israeli Healthcare and support. Here are just a few opportunities:

 

 

Join our volunteer database

We are always expanding our database of volunteers interested in working directly with Israeli health organizations specifically in English content management such as proofreading/editing and updating website content. You will not necessarily be placed immediately, but added to a database to call on as opportunities arise. Please email volunteers@shirapranskyproject.org to join!

Submit, Edit, Curate or Distribute Useful Content

Volunteers interested in submitting content that is useful to the English speaking community in Israel should take a look at our Contributed Content Guidelines, and email us. You can also volunteer to help edit, curate and distribute useful information.

Communities, Social Media and Cool Tools

Please follow, join, like, share, and participate on Facebook and Twitter. You can also volunteer to help manage these various communities and expand our reach and cater specific activities and participation to this wide world of ever expanding tools and resources for spreading awareness. For the even more industrious, you can help us explore and develop even more cool tools like Prezi, Slideshare, and YouTube for spreading awareness, or more social networking, like Google Plus, Pinterest, Tumbler, Linkedin, etc. Please email volunteers@shirapranskyproject.org.

Help Engage Israeli Health Organizations

Our offer of free translations and other services is a standing open invitation to fitting Israeli health organizations. So if you know of, or are involved in any such organizations, feel free to have them email us.

In general…

Writers, editors, health care professionals, government officials, graphic designers, social workers, PR experts, social media experts, resource development experts (if you know what that means, you are one), web developers, chocolatiers, babysitters, um… well, if you do or know something that can help us achieve our goals, please contact us and let us know you’re out there, eager to help. You are cordially invited to help make life a little more secure, and a little less frustrating for English speakers in Israel (and those on their way too).