COVERAGE: U.S. Ambassador David Friedman Addresses B’nai B’rith Journalism Awards, Video, Pictures, More
The 2017 B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportaģe ceremony was held on June 27, 2016, and was covered by multiple media outlets, including The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Haaretz, Israel Radio, Army Radio, i24News and CBN TV.
The winner of the award, which recognizes excellence in Diaspora reportage in Israeli print, broadcast and digital media, was Yaniv Pohoryles, home page editor and writer for the Jewish World section of Ynet, one of Israel’s most popular online news sites. Pohoryles was chosen for a series of nine articles published over the course of 2016 that covered Jewish communities in the U.S. and France, Jewish demography, Israel-Diaspora relations, Jewish sportsmen, fundraising, aliyah and Kosher food, among other topics.
United States Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman delivered the keynote address.
A special citation was conferred upon Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza for fostering Israel-Diaspora relations through the arts.
David M. Friedman
United States Ambassador to Israel
Ynet, Home Page Editor And Jewish World Writer
Ynet: Ynet reporter to receive B’nai B’rith journalism award
Listen to David Broza
The Times of Israel
Additional Video from the Event
The Times of Israel ran an op-ed written by B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin on the Palestinians' continued quest to erase Jewish history by way of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Committee.
Scroll down to read the piece or click below to read it on TimesofIsrael.com.
As yet another U.S. administration tries its hand at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, come additional reasons to believe that the Palestinians prefer business as usual.
The latest example is set to take place at the World Heritage Committee’s upcoming meetings in Krakow, Poland (July 2-12), where the Palestinians will press for designating the old city of Hebron as a Palestinian heritage site. The committee, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)—affiliated body, is being asked to erase the 3,000-year connection of the Jewish people to the place where its patriarchs and matriarchs are believed to be buried, and which served as King David’s first capital, before being moved to Jerusalem.
The campaign to not just re-write history, but to eliminate it, has been a priority agenda item for the Palestinians for years. Yasser Arafat, with a straight face, famously told President Bill Clinton at the Camp David talks in the summer of 2000 that the Temple never existed in Jerusalem. While fixated largely on Jerusalem, this revisionist offensive has seen the Palestinians claim that Bethlehem’s Tomb of Rachel was a mosque, and therefore a Muslim holy site.
Beginning in 1996, and continuing for nearly a decade, mobs sporadically attacked the site, placing Jewish worshippers in danger. In recent years, the Palestinians turned to the World Heritage Committee, which in 2010 gave both Rachel’s Tomb, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, approbation as Palestinian holy sites, and demanded that Israel withdraw them from a list of Israeli (read: Jewish) national heritage sites.
Still working within UNESCO, the Palestinians and their allies in historical revisionism, nearly a year ago, secured an Executive Board resolution to re-name the Temple Mount with the Arabic/Muslim “Haram al-Sharif,” and the Western Wall Plaza the “Al-Buraq Plaza.” This resolution took a big eraser not only to the Jewish connection to the site, but the Christian one as well.
Voting for the resolution were several European countries, including France, whose majority Roman Catholic population would certainly tie the life of Jesus to the Temple Mount. That historic connection, at least in U.N. parlance, has now been relegated to secondary mentions only. When a European diplomat was questioned at the time by a colleague of mine as to why his country voted to change the name, and how he would explain it to his grandchildren, that diplomat offered only a weak defense, saying that the original language in the resolution was worse.
Two additional UNESCO resolutions on Jerusalem have followed. And even though France, Italy and a few other countries that voted for the original resolution have since either abstained or voted against, and though these new measures recognize the importance of the city to the three religions, that has not stopped the Palestinians from working day and night to deny Israel’s/Jewish connection to the city. Some small glimmer of hope in this regard was the last UNESCO Executive Board vote on Jerusalem, which was adopted with 23 votes for, 10 countries against and 22 abstentions.
The Palestinians often cover these hit-and-run efforts to delegitimize Jewish claims to the holy places with charges that Israel has inflicted damage to the sites, usually through archeological excavations or safety improvements aimed at protecting worshippers, tourists and pilgrims. Israel’s stellar reputation as an international leader in the field of archeology notwithstanding, such attacks surely resonate with the Palestinians’ fellow travelers in the international community.
And so, the effort at de-legitimization continues, this time in Krakow where the 21-member World Heritage Committee will convene its 41st meeting. The membership of the committee includes a number of close Palestinian allies, who will certainly provide their automatic votes for anything that is hatched at the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) headquarters in Ramallah. That said, there are other countries—from Europe, Africa and Asia, that must be getting the message that these one-sided fusillades aimed at Israel, within the U.N. system and beyond, produce zero results in moving the peace process forward.
The new U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutteres has already made it clear that fairness, not bias or politicization, will save the organization from irrelevance. In his speeches on the subject, he clearly has the unfair treatment of Israel in mind.
From what we have learned about President Donald Trump’s face-to-face meetings with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the former is said to have warned against glorifying terror by paying pensions and stipends to imprisoned terrorists or to the families of suicide bombers, and to end the incessant incitement against Israel and Jews.
To that, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has repeatedly called out the U.N. system on its obsession with resolutions and pronouncements against Israel at the General Assembly in New York, at UNESCO in Paris, and especially, at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Palestinians, as the saying goes, “have not yet received the memos.” The state of denial in which they have placed themselves has serious ramifications for the current effort by the administration to re-start a process, already stymied time and again by the zero-sum approach of the PA. If it can operate only on the basis of denying what everyone knows—the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem—they will never be reliable, believable partners for co-existence with Israel, much less for a real peace.
The World Heritage Committee can throw a splash of cold water reality on the Palestinian world view, when it convenes in Krakow. For it to do otherwise would be to make a farce of the historical record and to place us further from, and not closer to, resolving the conflict.
B'nai B'rith New Zealand Vice-President Dr. Jim Salinger penned an op-ed in the New Zealand Herald on the renewed diplomatic ties between the Jewish state and New Zealand after six months of relative silence. Salinger takes a look at the fallout following New Zealand's vote for an anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Security Council in December 2016.
Scroll down to read the story or click below to read it on nzherald.co.nz.
As I watch from my current perch in Haifa, Israel, today's Jerusalem Post headlines read, "New Zealand, Israel Patch Up Ties", under a photograph of the New Zealand flag and the Beehive.
The report goes on to say, "New Zealand PM said he 'regrets' damage done to relations as a result of Wellington sponsoring UNSC 2334."
The resolution stated Israel's settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has "no legal validity".
It demanded Israel stop such activity and fulfil its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. It was the first UN Security Council resolution to pass regarding Israel and the Palestine territories since 2009.
The Israeli Prime Minister's Office issued a statement on Tuesday saying that, following discreet diplomatic contacts, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Bill English spoke by phone a few days ago.
Bill English then wrote a letter saying that he regretted "the damage done to Israel-New Zealand relations as a result of New Zealand proposing Resolution 2334 at the Security Council".
Israel announced yesterday it was sending its ambassador back to New Zealand, ending a six month diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
New Zealand's action, by the then Foreign Minister Murray McCully at the Security Council in Geneva, was very unfortunate.
In my role as New Zealand vice-president of B'nai B'rith, I have attended the odd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva with B'nai B'rith International's Permanent Representative to the UNHCR, Klaus Netter.
B'nai B'rith is the world's oldest service organisation, established in 1843. Our mission is to make the world a safer, more tolerant and better place, as well as to support people in need after terrible natural disasters.
What I witnessed was amazing. The UNHCR is the United Nation's foremost political body devoted exclusively to human rights.
As with any political body, its member countries often allow politics to pollute voting, resulting in council actions that are often selective and partisan.
Like all UN bodies, it draws from the member states of the United Nations, and too many of them are serious human-rights abusers such as Venezuela.
In Venezuela leading opposition politicians have been arbitrarily arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and barred from running for office in legislative elections.
Police abuse, poor prison conditions, and impunity for abuses by security forces-including arbitrary arrests, beatings, and denial of basic due process rights for largely peaceful protesters in early 2014-remain serious problems.
UNSC 2334 was a one-sided anti-Israel resolution. In putting it up, we chose to partner with countries - Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela - that do not adhere to the same democratic principles as New Zealand.
The resolution failed to recognise that peace can only be negotiated by the parties involved and cannot be imposed.
UNSC 2334 did not give appropriate weight to the glorification of terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens and the Palestinians' continual incitement to violence.
Israelis were stunned with the McCully move, as he had visited Israel only a few weeks before and made no mention if it.
Jerusalem believed McCully was the driving force behind the UNSC 2334, and it was widely expected that relations with Wellington would improve once he left office. And relations did, immediately after Brownlee took over on May 2.
Gerry Brownlee is to be congratulated on restoring relations with one of the few democratic secular nations in the Middle East.
The two countries have much to profit from the normally warm bilateral relations, sharing many innovative economic activities such as in agriculture and horticulture. New Zealand can also benefit from the high-tech know-how that Israel has to offer.
Every relationship is different, but most countries have disagreements and bust-ups from time to time.
Partner countries that stay together for the long haul usually figure out a way to make up and move on. I am glad that the normal friendly relationship between Israel and New Zealand has been restored.
• Dr Jim Salinger is New Zealand vice-president of B'nai B'rith.
B'nai B'rith member Jeremy Havardi in London shares his thoughts on new British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn with The New York Jewish Week, given Corbyn's history of anti-Israel rhetoric. Read what Havardi and other Jews in Britain have to say about Corbyn and potential policies involving Israel following his party's victories at the polls.
Scroll down to read the story or click below to read it on JewishWeek.TimesOfIsrael.com.
Concern over anti-Zionist Corbyn’s strong showing, but no alarm.
Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has equated Israel with ISIS, supports the boycott of Israeli goods, called members of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” and supports the Palestinian “right of return.”
His party’s surprisingly strong showing in last week’s general election upset political pundits who had expected Prime Minister Theresa May to handily increase her party’s majority in parliament and stunned many in the Jewish community.
“I know many people who were alarmed at the rise of Corbyn,” Jeremy Havardi, director of B’nai B’rith’s London Bureau for International Affairs told The Jewish Week.
“There has been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents and some [Jews] feel there is a case for leaving [the country] because of security concerns,” he said. “I hear this all the time. People feel deeply insecure and wonder if this is their country anymore.”
But Louise Ellman, a Jewish member of parliament for the past 20 years who was re-elected with 85 percent of the vote, told The Jewish Week that although “we have a right to be concerned — we’re all concerned — it would be wrong to become alarmist.”
“Jewish people like everybody else are concerned about the future,” Ellman said. “But there are very strong groups in the Labour Party that are pro-Israel and want a Palestinian state with a negotiated solution. That is my position.”
“I want to make it clear, I don’t think he is anti-Semitic. But his position on Israel needs to be improved.”
She said Corbyn supports the creation of a Palestinian state before a negotiated peace settlement with Israel, but that “he is belatedly understanding” that his position needs to change.
“I feel the continued pressure within the Labour Party in supporting Israel and opposing anti-Semitism is having an affect,” she said. “I want to make it clear, I don’t think he is anti-Semitic. But his position on Israel needs to be improved.”
Michael Whine, director of the Community Security Trust, a British charity created to ensure the safety of the Jewish community, said that although British Jews “are increasingly concerned about terrorism attacks, they are not as scared as they are in France and don’t feel under the same pressure.”
He said he, too, believes Corbyn is not anti-Semitic but is “naïve.”
“He was there to applaud a so-called liberation organization without having the wit to realize the people were promoting Hamas and Hezbollah,” he said. “There were several incidents in which he has done this sort of thing. He has been unfairly critical of Israel but that does not say anything about his feeling towards Jews.”
“Corbyn has encouraged far-left people with bigotries about Israel to think they can say things that have never been said before.”
Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which promotes and defends the religious and civil liberties of British Jewry, said that to understand Corbyn “you have to understand the figments of imagination and the phobias of the far left. For him the West is to blame for everything and America … causes the wrongs of the world. He believes it is responsible for fostering injustice, and consequently any allies of America like Israel are tarred with the same brush.”
Arkush said also that Corbyn “bears a share of responsibility for anti-Semitism in and around the Labour Party” because he has failed to address it.
“The far left used to be marginal, but in the same way the far-left sentiments of Bernie Sanders used to be marginal, they have now migrated too close for comfort to the center of the party. And Corbyn has encouraged far-left people with bigotries about Israel to think they can say things that have never been said before [in the party]. And bigotry about Israel always morphs into bigotry about Jews.”
“Bigotry about Israel always morphs into bigotry about Jews.”
Despite his Labour’s surprising showing, the ruling Conservative Party still outpolled it. But to remain in power, May was forced to form an alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party [DUP], an ultranationalist party based in Northern Ireland’s overwhelmingly Protestant community. Its 10 seats give May 329 parliamentary seats –three more than needed for a working coalition – and in the end Israel may also turn out to be the winner.
“The DUP is known to be sympathetic to Israel,” noted Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “This is in contrast to the Catholics, who are more sympathetic to the Palestinians.”
But observers believe that because of May’s slim majority in parliament, it’s only a matter of time before there are new elections. And there is no doubt that Corbyn, who proved to be an excellent campaigner, will again lead the Labour Party — to the consternation of Britain’s Jewish community.
It used to be that Jews in Britain voted Labour as routinely as Jews in the United States vote Democratic. But with Corbyn now at the helm of the party, polls indicate that only about 13 percent of the country’s 300,000 Jews voted for Labour. As a result, two Jews running on the Labour ticket in the most heavily Jewish districts in London lost their elections for parliamentary seats.
One of them, Michael Katz, who lost by just 1,000 votes, said he has no doubt that many of those who voted for him “were inspired” by Corbyn in part because of his socioeconomic policies.
“However, unlike most other seats, I had the added complication of those factors specific to the Jewish community,” he told The Jewish Week, noting that 17 percent of the district is Jewish.Katz said that with the polls predicting a clear Conservative victory, his principle objectives were to “keep the seat in play for the next election, and restore the relationship between Labour and the Jewish community.”
But the “dominant” refrain he heard from Jewish voters throughout the campaign, he said, was: “I like you but I find it hard to vote for you because of the issues in the party. I was able to push back on some of the comments Jeremy made about Hamas and Hezbollah and the peace process … . I don’t believe they represent the party or the leadership. The problem is, he said this stuff and it is very hard to dissuade people — it was a major barrier to vote for Labour. It is folly for me to think it did not impact on the votes I might have had otherwise.”
“The Jewish community is not monolithic and many Jews grew up supporting Labour for its focus on health and education.”
The other Jewish newcomer who lost his bid for a seat, Jeremy Newmark, is an Orthodox Jew and chair of the Labour Party-affiliated Jewish Labour Movement. He said Jews comprised 21 percent of the district he was vying for and that he lost by 1,500 votes. He, too, said Corbyn’s leadership of the party cost him Jewish support.
“At many doorsteps I received a frosty reaction,” he said. “But the Jewish community is not monolithic and many Jews grew up supporting Labour for its focus on health and education. Many Jews, despite the controversy over anti-Semitism, were determined that they were not going to be politically homeless. The fact that I was the candidate and an active member of the Jewish community helped them remain within the Labour camp. … I would not have gotten this vote without the support of a significant proportion of the Jewish community.”
Havardi of B’nai B’rith suggested the reason Jewish parliamentarians like Ellman were re-elected and newcomers like Katz and Newmark were defeated is because she was fighting to retain her seat and they were seen as attempting to “give legitimacy” to Corbyn’s views.
“Many Jews believed they were trying to kosher Corbyn’s politics,” he said of Katz and Newmark.
Gilbert Kahn, a professor of political science at Kean University in Union, N.J., said Katz and Newmark are “committed supporters of Israel and serious Jews who opted to stand for seats because they are longtime Labourites, as are many Jews. My theory is they wanted to change the Labour Party and could only do it from the inside.”
He said that just like Jews in the United States, “you have to be involved in both parties so Jews will have leverage no matter who wins.”
Jerusalem Post Op-Ed: Justice for AMIA – The Worst Iranian-Sponsored Terrorist Attack in Latin America
Trials in absentia exist in countries with very respectable legal traditions, such as France and Italy.
It’s a terrorist attack: 85 killed. Hundreds wounded. Decades go by and no one is brought to justice. Finally, that may change.
An important bill that has just been introduced in the Argentine Parliament aims to enable the trial “in absentia” of those accused of having perpetrated the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building, the worst terrorist attack ever suffered by a Latin American country. As is widely known, the accused, some of whom still have strong ties with the Iranian government, have successfully eluded the Argentine justice system for 23 years.
The proposed law would also apply to other serious crimes contained in international human rights treaties, that have acquired constitutional status in Argentina (such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons), as well as to crimes contained in conventions to which Argentina may accede and give constitutional status in the future.
The idea of allowing trials in absentia in Argentina gained momentum in 2013, when the government of former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner signed the infamous “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) with the Iranian regime.
Through this pact, an attempt was made to establish a binational commission to “re-investigate” the AMIA case.
Argentina’s main Jewish organizations, and a large part of the opposition, repudiated this pact, which would have given the accused the power to revise everything the Argentine justice system had done so far. As a result, president de Kirchner urged them to make other proposals that would “move the case forward.” The trial in absentia appeared then as an option that could give the victims and their families at least some measure of justice. The subsequent ruling of an Argentine Federal Court, that declared the MOU unconstitutional, also mentioned as a legitimate option the possibility of judging the accused in absentia, given their “voluntary” decision not to appear before the Argentine courts.
The bill is controversial and, even within the Jewish community, there are many who oppose the idea that the accused in the AMIA case be tried in absentia, as they believe this could harm rather than help the case. Indeed, many analysts question the constitutionality of the bill, given that the Argentine Constitution guarantees, in its article 18, the right of defense. However, the bill allows the defendants, among other things, to subsequently appear and request a comprehensive review of the judgment, with ample opportunities to defend themselves. Therefore, the right of due process is sufficiently guaranteed.
What should be kept in mind is that the constitutional guarantees of a democratic state should not be used in such an abusive way as to ensure impunity for the perpetrators of crimes of this magnitude. The accused in the AMIA case have deliberately evaded the Argentine justice system for too many years, and are being protected by the Iranian regime.
It is evident that the main reason the Iranians signed the MOU with Argentina is that they wanted the Interpol alerts that Argentina had been able to secure against the accused to fall, as their freedom of movement was being restricted.
These alerts, in fact, are due to expire this year, and the Iranians have hired important lawyers in Paris to prevent them from being renewed, as was recently reported by the press. The Argentine government, in turn, has appointed the former head of the National Audit Office, Leandro Despouy, to the commission for the control of Interpol’s Files (alerts) and hopes to be able to renew them for another five years.
In this regard, a condemnatory ruling in absence against the accused would facilitate the maintenance of the Interpol alerts and would also give greater strength to eventual extradition requests.
And, of course, it would also allow the victims, their families and the people of Argentina to know the truth about who planned and executed this terrible criminal act.
Trials in absentia exist in countries with very respectable legal traditions, such as France and Italy. In France, for example, this modality was used to judge former Argentine dictator Alfredo Astiz, for the disappearance of Léonie Henriette Duquet and Alice Domon, two French nuns, in 1977. For its part, Italy tried Nazi criminal Erich Priebke, who was in Argentina at the time, in absentia, in the 1990s, and he was subsequently extradited.
Twenty-three years is too long for the victims, their relatives and the entire Argentine society to wait for justice, and every effort should be made to unveil the truth and to finally see that the arm of the law reaches the perpetrators of this heinous crime.
The author is the B’nai B’rith International special adviser on Latin American affairs. She is an attorney by training and holds a graduate degree in international law and diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Tufts University.
The following letter was sent to The Washington Post by CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin after the paper ran a special section titled, "Occupied: Year 50."
Letter to the Editor:
Re: special section on “Occupation”
To do a supplement on such an important anniversary would be understandable. To entitle it, in caps, "Occupied: Year 50" suggests a bias unbecoming a major international newspaper. Is it any wonder then, when people assert that the Washington Post’s everyday coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian issue is unbalanced?
Daniel S. Mariaschin
B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President and CEO
The Times of Israel: Sears site still displays ‘Free Palestine’ garments but most can’t be purchased
We spoke out on Twitter against Sears’ sale of pro-Palestinian t-shirts and that tweet has been included in a The Times of Israel story on the shirts.
Scroll down to read the article or click below to read it on TimesOfIsrael.com.
A range of clothing with pro-Palestinian slogans for sale on the Sears website was still displayed on Wednesday morning but most of the items could no longer be purchased, a possible indication the US retailer pulled the garments.
The clothing was being offered via three external companies and featured a variety of slogans including “Free Palestine,” “Palestine Supporter,” and “Straight Outta Palestine,” a take on the popular gangsta rap album (and a 2015 movie) “Straight Outta Compton.”
The site had a much larger selection earlier on Tuesday, when reports of the range of items surfaced and attracted criticism. At the time of writing, fewer than a dozen styles were still showing but their prices had been removed. The Sears page showing the items could be accessed by writing search terms “Palestine” and “clothes” in the search box on the Sears site homepage.
The garments were sold through Sears Marketplace, which offers a platform for third-party sellers to offer their wares through websites managed by Sears, but at time of writing, a majority appeared to no longer be available. A click on individual garments leads to a page that reads: “We’re sorry, but that page is no longer available.”
The US-based City Shirts from Bloomington, Minnesota, offered “Free Palestine” T-shirts that feature a map of the West Bank and Israel as one territory, a representation that is usually taken to mean a denial of Israel’s right to exist.
A Germany company, Spreadshirt, also offered a range of garments including tank tops, T-shirts and hoodies with a variety of pro-Palestinian messages. The designs include a clenched fist in the colors of the Palestinian flag and statements opposing the Israeli occupation.
But the only shirt that seemed to still be available as of writing is a “I don’t need therapy I just need to go to Palestine” top for women sold by Super Fans shirt and on sale for $23.
The availability of the designs was first reported by Reuters.
The B’nai B’rith organization tweeted a response saying, “We are appalled at Sears jumping into a geo-political issue by selling glib t-shirts that proclaim ‘Free Palestine’ – seriously?”
Virginia Mason CEO and B'nai B'rith International Healthcare Award winner Gary Kaplan writes about what keeps him awake at night and how those in health care can become better at what they do for Becker's Hospital Review.
Scroll down to read the piece or click below to read it on BeckersHospitalReview.com.
A colleague asked me the other day what keeps me awake at night. I told him it's the general lack of urgency in healthcare.
Islands of excellence do exist within the nation’s healthcare system, but there is still too much variability and inconsistent performance in quality, safety and patient satisfaction. As a nation, we should be doing more to improve quality and safety, expand access, control costs and elevate the patient experience. And as leaders, we must be willing to make our defects and opportunities visible to our team members. Only with this level of transparency will we generate the organizational focus and the will to pursue the challenging and necessary work of improvement.
The National Patient Safety Foundation's Lucian Leape Institute, which recently merged with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, observed in its 2015 report, "Shining a Light: Safer Health Care through Transparency," that harm from medical errors continues at unacceptable levels and the U.S. healthcare system is buckling under the costs of care.
All of us in healthcare should ask ourselves every day: "How can we become better at what we do?"
This is an urgent question given the critical nature of our work and the quickening pace at which information and knowledge are expanding.
Until around 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years, according to R. Buckminster Fuller, creator of the Knowledge Doubling Curve. Some forecasters now predict that, by the year 2020, medical knowledge alone could double every 73 days.
This should be a catalyst for deepening our national commitment to improving health and healthcare delivery and, ultimately, making the care experience better for patients and providers. While there are many examples, here are three improvement opportunities worthy of urgent attention.
⦁ Apply a structured, systems-engineering approach to health care delivery. Standardizing processes where variability adds no value improves efficiency and controls costs, while also enhancing quality and safety. I know this evidence-based approach works based on our experience at Virginia Mason in Seattle, where we adapted Toyota Production System principles 15 years ago as the foundation for our management methodology.
⦁ Really listen to what patients tell us when we ask how we can make the healthcare experience better for them. Invite patients and their families to participate with healthcare providers, policymakers and insurers in improvement initiatives. Ask them to work side-by-side with us in developing and designing new facilities and programs. Many people consider clinical quality to be a given — something all hospitals should provide — and rate their care based on how they feel they were treated. We can never lose sight of the importance of quality and safety, but patient experience is critical.
Also, we must make sure individuals are fully informed about their healthcare choices and engaged in shared decision-making with their providers. The Lucian Leape Institute explained in its 2014 report, "Safety Is Personal: Partnering with Patients and Families for the Safest Care," that engagement leads to safer patient care by improving the outcomes of care, improving the experience of care for individual patients and improving the work experience for caregivers.
⦁ Nurture a healthcare culture that advances interdisciplinary collaboration and information-sharing among the broadest possible spectrum of care team members. This will empower experts, working together, to more effectively evaluate patients' needs and develop coordinated plans for appropriate care based on best practices. Silos are barriers to improving quality, safety and the patient experience.
We have more knowledge and evidence than ever before about how to provide high quality care and keep patients safe. What's missing is a national sense of urgency to consistently apply what we already know, and will learn, to improve healthcare delivery and benefit patients everywhere.
What keeps you awake at night?
About the author
Gary S. Kaplan, MD, is a practicing internal medicine physician who has served as chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle since 2000. He is also chair of the National Patient Safety Foundation’s Lucian Leape Institute. NPSF and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement merged on May 1, 2017. Dr. Kaplan is the recipient of the 2017 National Healthcare Award from B’nai B’rith International.
Becker's Hospital Review published a write-up on 2017 National Healthcare Award winner Dr. Gary S. Kaplan, chairman and CEO of the Seattle-based Virginia Mason Health System.
Scroll down to read it or click below to read it on BeckersHospitalReview.com.
Gary S. Kaplan, MD, CEO and chairman of Seattle-based Virginia Mason Health Systems, has been awarded the 2017 National Healthcare award from B’nai B’rith International.
Dr. Kaplan has served as the chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason since 2000, while also continuing to practice internal medicine at Virginia Mason Hospital. In 2002, Dr. Kaplan helped launch the Virginia Mason Production System. Since then, healthcare professionals from across the globe visit the Seattle health system to observe its innovative management methodology, which changed the way the organization delivers care to its patients.
In 2013 Dr. Kaplan was granted membership to the Institute of Medicine, and he also chairs the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Board of Directors and the National Patient Safety Foundation Lucian Leape Institute.
B’nai Brith, a Jewish human rights advocacy group, has recognized outstanding leadership in the healthcare field for over 30 years with their National Healthcare Award.
Dr. Kaplan will be honored with a gala June 8 at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C.
B'nai B'rith International received two shout outs in Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff email with CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin being spotted at the American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) dinner and a mention of our stance against Sears’ sale of “Free Palestine” t-shirts.
Click below to read the Daily Kickoff email from June 5.
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