In the words of Professor Frank Oberklaid, a founding member of Goshen and Australia’s internationally renowned paediatrician, teacher and researcher: “Early investment in child development is crucial. It means we can prevent problems from occurring in the first place, or we can intervene early to stop problems becoming more entrenched, and more difficult and costly to address.”

We agree. Hadassah Australia was there from the outset in 2014, a dedicated supporter of the vision and mission of Goshen to radically change Israeli children’s lives, especially the lives of those that are most vulnerable and marginalised.

The senior team at Goshen, many of whom were trained by Prof Oberklaid at the Centre for Community Child Health at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, lead the way in community paediatric research and in influencing policy at the macro level and behaviour at the level of paediatricians and parents on the ground.

Goshen does this through increasing:

Just last month, two major articles were published by Goshen researchers, the first: Advancing Child Health Through Community Paediatrics: Vision and the Future Model, reiterated that the vast majority of paediatricians in Israel lack the training for an integrative and holistic approach to paediatrics which includes common children’s disorders in areas of development, behaviour, learning, nutrition, chronic illnesses as well as psychosocial aspects of what is called the new morbidity (obesity). That’s where Goshen comes in.

Goshen strives to transform the role of the paediatrician in the community and promote the role of the ‘Community Paediatrician’ which throughout the world is known for acknowledging the impact of family, education, cultural and spiritual influences, economic, environmental and socio-political forces on the child’s health and wellbeing.

Goshen’s view is that in Israel, the emphasis of the paediatrician’s clinical practice should broaden from being solely focused on the individual child, to seeing the child as part of the community, looking at promoting children’s health more generally and reducing existing health disparities.

To achieve this, Goshen argues that broader community resources are needed as well as collaboration with other professionals and community members, all working together to ensure the best quality of care for all children.

The second article focuses on how practitioners view themselves and their work. Titled Pediatrics in the Community or Community Pediatrics? Development of a professional identity and how the role is viewed among community paediatricians.

The premise is that community paediatric medicine has, in the past few years, faced new challenges that demand from paediatricians working in the community to not only provide primary care, but to also come to grips with developmental issues, chronic illness in children, family issues, violence and neglect of children, health advances in the community etc. At the same time, the article emphasises that their training doesn’t always provide the appropriate tools to deal with these matters.

One of Goshen’s central aims is to bring about change by training community paediatricians in areas they were not trained in during their medical studies or in their paediatric specialization studies.

Reflecting on their professional choice and professional identity, the doctors interviewed expressed great satisfaction in their role, indicating that they find meaning and enjoyment in being able to work long-term with patients as well as follow up with families.

The researchers acknowledge that follow up research is needed to find out more about whether there is a difference in the professional identity of those community paediatricians who have undertaken Goshen courses and those who have not, and also to determine more clearly at which stage of specialisation studies does the community aspect kick in.

It is encouraging to see Goshen’s involvement in such topical research. Goshen is undoubtedly making a difference to Israel’s perception of children’s health and wellbeing.

Goshen helps change the landscape of early childhood development in Israel.

10 June 2022

Back to Newsletter