Haifa Israel Project

Global interprofessional health program in Haifa, Israel.

Faculty members from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Haifa (UH) partnered to develop a parallel binational, interprofessional course that explores social justice in mixed/divided communities within the context of rising urban, local, and global inequities. The course combines didactic and experiential learning opportunities. In addition to shared lectures and site visits at community-university partnerships, students participated in workshops employing anti-oppressive research, teaching, and training methods, including Theatre of the Oppressed and PhotoVoice, in which they are asked to explore visual and artistic expressions of justice and injustice in their communities. The first three years of this project were funded in part by the UMB Center for Global Education Initiatives and by the Straus Family Foundation in the second year. The project is led by UMB faculty members Corey Shdaimah, LLM, PhD, of the School of Social Work; Jane Lipscomb, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the School of Nursing; Susan Leviton, JD, of the Carey School of Law, and UH faculty Roni Strier, PhD, who is the academic director of the UH Flagship Program for Combating Social Exclusion and Foster Social Solidarity.

You can read more about the course in a recent article published in the Annals of Global Health, Exploring social justice in mixed/divided cities: From local to global learning.

To support, please visit the UMB/University of Haifa Interprofessional Partnership Donation Page, or if you prefer to support over multiple years, please download this pledge form.

2018-2020: Post-Doctoral Fellow Dassi Postan-Aizik

The UMB School of Social Work hosted post-doctoral fellow Dassi Postan-Aizik. Dr. Postan-Aizik was key faculty in the UMB-UH partnership as a doctoral student and the director of Haifa University’s Flagship Program: Promoting Solidarity and Combating Social Exclusion. She graduated with her PhD from University of Haifa in 2017. Her dissertation focused on excluded communities and housing advocacy in Haifa, with an emphasis on working across diversity in a mixed/divided city. During her post-doctoral fellowship, she conducted a study to examine housing advocacy among diverse groups in Baltimore. With her post-doctoral mentors Drs. Michael Reisch and Corey Shdaimah, she developed and taught a course for MSW students who learned participatory qualitative research methods while obtaining hands-on research experience collecting data for the study.  Dr. Postan-Aizik returned to her tenure track position at the Jezreel Valley College (YVC) in Israel and continues to collaborate with Dr. Shdaimah to compare the Baltimore and Haifa organizing projects. The two will present their cross-cultural work at two international social work conferences in Washington DC (in December 2019) and Bucharest, Romania (in April 2020).

2017: Interprofessional global student project: Continuing to promote social justice through community-university partnerships‌

‌‌This project built on the research concepts of the 2016 Haifa project. The ‌interdisciplinary team continued to explore the role of universities in mixed/divided cities, where communities grapple with economic and social injustice. 

In April, UMB hosted seven students and two faculty members from UH as the culmination of the fourth collaborative seminar between the two institutions. Students jointly made a campuswide presentation of their work with UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, in attendance as well as other members of the University leadership team.

Students (school affiliation): Flannery McCardle (social work, public health), Iris Alonzo (nursing), Jahmya Ross (social work), Lindsey Weikert (social work), Mariyah Wright (social work), and Maria Sibrian Pleitez (social work).

2016: Interprofessional global student project: How can we promote social justice through community-university partnerships?‌‌‌‌

Interprofessional social justice UMB-University of Haifa projectStudents from UMB and Haifa University engaged in current theoretical discussions and were exposed to social justice-based research methodologies, specifically looking at the social, legal, and political dimensions of health at the local and the global levels. In addition, students took part in experiential methodological workshops and participated in three study tours in different cities in which they met with advocacy organization leaders and community project directors. 

Students (school affiliation): Deborah Adams (law), Lara Drazin (social work), Amy Hewat (social work), Michael Jacko (law), Hyo Kim (social work), Carol Ross (social work), and Kate Scott (nursing).

2015: ‌Interprofessional global student course: Social justice and health, are they related in my community?‌‌

A team of UMB faculty and 13 students representing the fields of social work, law, public health, and nursing participated in the 2015 trip to Israel to meet and work with colleagues at the University of Haifa. The goals of the project were to: 1) examine the historical relevance of social movements and social struggles, 2) review alternate research methodologies for the study of social justice, 3) promote the research and practice of social justice, and 4) engage with faculty and students from both universities in joint social justice research and action projects. 

Students gained new insights during their work in Israel, learning in a new environment with colleagues from another culture and in conjunction with multiple professions. They gained a more nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between social justice and health issues. Further, the PhotoVoice work heightened students' awareness of the social justice concerns in Baltimore and emphasized the global/local approach that can be used to broaden how we find solutions to address health and social disparities.

The UMB faculty leaders provided an opportunity for their students to continue their collaborative work with the students and faculty of Haifa University through a grant awarded by the Straus Foundation. In the spring of 2015, UMB reciprocated the learning opportunity and hosted nine students and faculty from the same University of Haifa group. This exchange was a meaningful opportunity for each group to bring home messages about the differences and similarities of social justice and health issues between their two cities.

Students (school affiliation): Jasmyn Allen (law), Mary Biscoe (law), Linda Dicken (nursing), Nia Duggins (law), Abaneh Ebangwese (nursing), Donna Egbulum (social work, public health), Jaqueline Magidson (social work), Holly Mirabella (social work, law), Alexandria Moore (law), Rachael Parran (nursing), Carmen Polanco (nursing), Genevieve Umberger (nursing), Sarah Valentin (nursing).