Dr. Steven Jacobson takes his holidays in Israel – working holidays, that is. Instead of touring and relaxing, he volunteers at Yad Sarah's geriatric dental clinic in Jerusalem. This dedicated volunteer from West Bloomfield, Michigan, is an experienced dentist closely connected with Dental Volunteers for Israel (D.V.I) in which many of his colleagues from the U.S. are involved in helping Israelis with their dental needs.
At Yad Sarah Dr. Jacobson's experiences differ from his day-to- day routine at home as a dentist in private practice. "Here, I only see patients in for an emergency," he explains. "Because I'm not certified by the Israel Ministry of Health to practice in Israel, I only deal with emergencies and make observations."
His observations have not been limited to patient care; Dr. Jacobson observed some basic differences in dentistry between the U.S. and Israel. "The public versus private sector makes a big difference. In America, everything is privatized in terms of health care. There are very few public dentistry centers to take patients in and see them on the spot. At Yad Sarah in Jerusalem you have that, and it is a great thing. Israel is better equipped at addressing the needs of older patients," he noted. From what I have observed at Yad Sarah, it's not hard for an elderly person to receive dental treatment. At a free clinic in America a person will wait hours to see a dentist. Here you can just make an appointment and be treated in a timely matter."
As Dr. Jacobson says, "The people that need treatment in America are stuck, and it's great for me to see that here in Israel there is somewhere for them to go." Volunteers like Dr. Jacobson make it possible for Yad Sarah to provide needed geriatric dental services all year round. Yad Sarah is very grateful to Dr. Jacobson and his family for taking time out of their busy schedules to come to Israel for a week and volunteer.
Dr Steven Jacobson of West Bloomfield and Israeli volunteer dentist Dr Moriana Ben Horin of Jerusalem treating a patient at Yad Sarah dental clinic