By Leah Snyderman
Einstein Healthcare Network launched a new program called the Jewish Health Resource Center that combines Jewish-focused initiatives across fields dedicated to serving its patients.
The main purpose for the JHRC is to ensure that patients know that Einstein is “inclusive and understanding for all,” said Dr. David Jaspan, chair of obstetrics and gynecology, as well as the lead administrator for the JHRC. He added that Einstein recognized a need in the Jewish community for making informed health care decisions and, through the JHRC, staff will be trained to help with these decisions.
“This was a natural next step,” he said.
Einstein originally was founded in Philadelphia in 1866 as The Jewish Hospital. Since then, it has grown to include three acute-care hospitals, an independent academic medical center, a rehabilitation center and a short-term rehabilitation nursing home, to name a few.
The JHRC is composed of other Jewish-centered programs that existed prior to its creation; the JHRC just allows for them to grow and reach more patients, Jaspan said.
Services include a prevention of Jewish genetic disease program; Dor L’Dor, which is focused on women’s health care; a nutritional support program; and health care symposiums like Pikuach Nefesh (to save a life) and Kovod (respect).
It was because of the success of these programs that the JHRC was created, Jaspan said.
Within these programs, collaboration — between companies, providers, staff and patients — plays a major role, he said.
JHRC will partner with a local organization, Bikkur Cholim, to provide patients with kosher meals. Einstein is also linked with Sema4, a genomic lab, and the Politz Hebrew Academy.
By educating staff on Jewish practices, including information about Jewish values, holiday traditions and even favorite Jewish meals, Einstein can continue to make its patients feel safe and understood, Jaspan said.
“Educating staff allows Einstein to put appropriate accommodations in place, so observant Jews can keep the Sabbath and holidays, as well as provide an understanding of practices, so patients and providers are comfortable,” he said.
The JHRC shares the same foundational goals of the Einstein network of being an inclusive community. It’s important to them that all of the patients “feel that their providers will not judge them for their practices and will partner in their care,” Jaspan said.
Furthering its push for inclusion, Einstein plans to add a men’s educational health care symposium to “empower men to take control of their health care,” Jaspan said.
Dr. Chani Yondorf, who is the JHRC’s women’s health lead and is responsible for the initial pilot program, said she’s looking forward to educating the staff about Jewish customs.
“I hope patients are empowered knowing that their providers are educated about their religious practices and feel comfortable partnering with their doctors, nurses and support staff in obtaining their health care,” she said. l