Health Scan: Abuse victims want doctors to notice

Nearly 70 percent of the victims of domestic violence believe hospital staffers should ask those who show signs of such abuse about the possibility.

health scan 88 (photo credit: )
health scan 88
(photo credit: )
Nearly 70 percent of the victims of domestic violence believe hospital staffers should ask those who show signs of such abuse about the possibility. A bit over half of the women were satisfied to a great or very great extent with the fact that medical staff had noticed. This finding, which counters the commonly held belief among health professionals that most victims want to hide their abuse, resulted from a unique study by the "ISHA" Project for the Advancement of Women's Health in Israel. It was developed by the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, the Jewish Agency, and the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. The study is important in that it is the first to present findings from the perspective of the victims, and provides unique insights that will help the Health Ministry and hospitals improve the care of these abused women. Researchers found that much can be learned from lay health leaders about the needs, perceptions, beliefs and values of women in the local community. The multifaceted ISHA project, initiated in 2001, includes the development of a program to foster women's lay leadership. The goal was to train women to become active in the promotion of women's health. About 500 women took part in a course to provide them with information about women's health and the tools to develop and implement projects. Most of the 25 groups were trained by the Israel Association of Community Centers (IACC) or at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Center for Women's Health Studies and Promotion. YOUNG PEOPLE DISCUSS ETHICS OF STEM CELLS Jewish and Arab teenagers recently spent time together discussing not politics but stem cells. An international workshop was conducted for the pupils from Jerusalem and Abu Ghosh by the Joseph Meyerhoff Youth Center for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University. The youths heard lectures from researchers, learned of the ethical and religious issues involved, and engaged in Internet discussions on the subject with German students. Center director Dr. Devora Lang said the "uniqueness of the workshop was that it providd an opportunity for pupils of different religions living in Israel to participate in joint discussions and relate to the religious and ethical aspects of stem-cell research." An interesting angle to the workshop was the involvement of students from Germany, since embryonic stem-cell research in that country is severely limited. That country's experiences in the misuse of science during the Holocaust make genetic research a particularly sensitive subject there. ZAKA EXPANDS INTERNATIONAL RESCUE UNIT After years of dealing with mass casualties in Israel and around the world, ZAKA, the Israel-based, UN-recognized volunteer rescue and recovery organization, is expanding its rescue unit. Against the background of international terror and increasing anti-Semitic attacks, ZAKA has decided to recruit and train teams of volunteers worldwide. "We have 15 minutes after a mass casualty incident to help save as many lives as possible and minimize damage before the official emergency services arrive," explains rescue unit head Mati Goldstein, who recently led the six-member ZAKA team that assisted at the plane crash in Buffalo, New York. "With this training scheme, we intend to share ZAKA's experience and expertise with communities around the world." Volunteers from all over the world will be able to participate in the five day-basic training program that leads to certification as emergency first responders; security preparedness and response; dealing with mass casualty incidents; honoring the dead, working with forensics and simulation or hands-on emergency drills. The training will take place either at ZAKA headquarters in Israel (including accommodation) or in the local community (for groups of 10 to 15, with training given by ZAKA personnel from Israel). Other programs include advanced and refresher courses, as well as specialist training for police, fire and emergency services, and security concept solutions for Jewish communities. Doctors, burial society members and community leaders in the US, South Africa and the UK have already signed up for the ZAKA courses, which are scheduled for May. "As graduates of the course, they will have the skills needed to take care of their own community in times of emergency and be part of a well-established and proven international rescue and recovery unit," noted Goldstein. ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav notes: "We will continue to travel from Israel to all parts of the world where we are needed, and we hope that the local ZAKA International rescue teams will offer that critical first response with professionalism and dedication."