More than a hospital – transforming healthcare

Assuta Ashdod hospital has become a cornerstone of the Ashdod community, providing healthcare services, hundreds of jobs and health education to the children and youth of the city.

 FORGING AN invaluable connection to Ashdod (photo credit: Assuta Ashdod)
FORGING AN invaluable connection to Ashdod
(photo credit: Assuta Ashdod)

Assuta Ashdod prides itself on being more than a hospital. 

Since opening its doors in 2017, Assuta Ashdod has become an integral part of the Ashdod community, providing state-of-the-art healthcare services, education and hundreds of jobs to residents of Israel’s fifth-largest city.

Ashdod’s mayor Yehiel Lasri beams when he talks about Assuta Ashdod. “Not only has the hospital’s location, resources and dedication transformed local healthcare,” he says, “but it has forged an invaluable connection to the city of Ashdod.”

That connection finds expression in multifaceted projects that are coordinated in cooperation with the Ashdod municipality. 

Young 'Assuta' kids (Credit: Assuta Ashdod)Young 'Assuta' kids (Credit: Assuta Ashdod)

The Choose Life project, for example, was initiated in 2018 by Urgent Care and Trauma Center Director Dr. Itai Zoaretz. The groundbreaking initiative is geared to teaching 10th and 11th graders about safety on the roads.

Trauma and emergency nurse Dalia Bider spearheaded the launching of the program and formulated a plan with Zoaretz, in conjunction with the Ashdod municipality. Choose Life sees local teens spend an entire day at the hospital, during which they meet with patients and practitioners for a first-hand look at the process of trauma and healing related to traffic accidents. To date, more than 800 high school pupils have participated in the program.

“We bring in one or two classes at a time,” explains Zoaretz, “at an age when they are just starting to drive. We’ve discovered that at this age we can really make a difference.”

Another important project involves teaching participants how to stem the flow of blood in an injured person. The unique workshop equips lay people with skills that are easily learned and may prove crucial until first responders arrive to provide care at the scene of an accident.

School students at Assuta (Credit: Assuta Ashdod)School students at Assuta (Credit: Assuta Ashdod)

“Without a doubt, this program saves lives!” exclaims Zoraretz. “And there’s a good chance that some of the participants will even choose to pursue careers in the medical field.”

That prediction is reinforced by another unique project known as Young Doctors. Children aged 7-12 who are interested in the world of medicine are invited to a week-long course at the hospital. During the week they meet doctors, nurses, technicians and others, see them in action and learn what medical professionals do at Assuta Ashdod.  The children visit various departments, observe procedures and hear about testing and treatment.

“This is a very special course--for the hospital and the kids. It opens our doors to the young population who see themselves as part of the world of medicine in the future,” said Dr. Erez Barenboim, Director General of Assuta Ashdod.

Similarly, once a week, fifth and sixth graders from the Harel Elementary School in Ashdod join in educational activities run by the Emergency Department staff. The program, coordinated by Emergency Department head Dr. Debra West, strengthens the connection between the hospital and the children of Ashdod.

“There are many children whose dream of becoming a nurse or doctor would not have occurred to them previously at all,” says Dr. West. “We believe the children’s personal, unmediated, experiential encounters with medical staff can open up more horizons for them and allow them to dream big about things that would not have dared to dream about before. We’re thrilled to help make those dreams come true.” 

This article was written in cooperation with Assuta Ashdod University Hospital .