How did seven Social Workers from four communities in the United States — Dayton, South Bend, Louisville and Fort Worth — come to Galilee Medical Center to learn from our experiences and best practices? Through the Partnership 2 Gether Western Galilee Social Workers Seminar, they spent fulfilling days of professional enrichment in our Social Work Department headed by Ms. Hana Solomon. During the seminar they learned and observed while shadowing in a variety of our medical departments, exchanged experiences and knowledge with their Israeli counterparts, attended staff and other meetings, and heard informative lectures including "Social Work during a Mass Casualty Event"; "Social Work with Syrian Patients"; and "Social Work and Holocaust Survivors".



Photo: Ronny Albert, Galilee Medical Center

While at our medical center, the Social workers also toured our Underground Hospital (the first one in Israel and the only one used to date in the 2006 Second Lebanon War) which gave them a new understanding of disaster social work and saw our diverse staff of Jews, Arabs, Christians and Druze working together hand in hand for the benefit of our similarly diverse patients and their families from our multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Galilee community. All in all they got an in-depth look at the uniqueness of life and their profession in northern Israel in general and at our medical center in particular.



Thank you to Hana Solomon, for planning and overseeing the Social Workers Seminar with our International Affairs Department, and to all our social workers who welcomed and accompanied the seminar participants during their visit. The positive feedback included comments from Tara Feiner, Heather Hackett and     Sharon Guenther: "Thank you Hana for all your time and effort you have put into making our experience amazing! You and your staff's knowledge, expertise and compassion are evident in your care of patients and each other. We are so  grateful for the amazing opportunity to be with you and learn from you. We will never forget this trip!!" Also, Lizzie Fagen remarked: "As I and six other social  workers from our Partnership region “shadowed” the hard-working and talented [GMC] Social Work Department…we witnessed social workers talking in Arabic to one patient, then Hebrew to the next... We witnessed the care given to each  individual regardless of their faith or ethnicity." Moreover, Lizzie is planning to give a presentation about her visit at an upcoming Social Workers Lunch ‘n’ Learn program in her community.



Photo: Ronny Albert, Galilee Medical Center

Dayton, South Bend, Louisville, and Fort Worth, are four of fourteen communities that make up the consortium which is connected to our region through the Partnershiptogether WesternGalilee program. Seminars such as this one expands all the participants' knowledge, broadens their perspectives, allows Israelis and colleagues in the Diaspora to forge common bonds through their shared interests and even benefits their home communities at large. This fits with Partnershiptogether's vision to create deep connections and raise awareness of Israel for global Jewish communities — or the "added value" of partnership — through opportunities for all to learn and grow.



Photo: International Affairs Dept.

Thank you to all the participants in the PartnershiptoGether Western Galilee Social Workers 2018 Seminar:  Lizzie Fagen, Director, Jewish Family Services, South Bend, Indiana; Tara Feiner, Jewish Family Services Director, Dayton, Ohio; Heather Hackett, Medical Social Worker, Dayton Children's Hospital; , Jane Oderberg, Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Social Work, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth; Sharon Guenther, Manager, Social Work Dept., Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton Ohio; Lauren Kehr, Therapist, Jewish Family & Vocational Service, Louisville, Ky; Karen Riffer-Reifert, Clinician, Van Buren County Community Mental Health.

Photo: International Affairs Dept.