For Scott Bresler, PhD, a summertime trip to Israel wasn’t exactly a typical leisurely visit overseas.
Bresler, clinical director of forensic psychiatry in the UC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, returned from Israel last week. While there, he met with health officials and discussed his clinical work and research—but also found himself jumping in and out of bomb shelters.
According to news reports, militants from the Palestinian group Hamas have fired hundreds of rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip since July 8. In response, Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes and a ground attack into Gaza.
"The sound of sirens,” says Bresler, "means you have 15 seconds to get into a shelter. It was all a bit unnerving and surreal.”
Despite the unsettled atmosphere, Bresler successfully met July 9 with Dr. Leonid Eidelman, president of the Israeli Medical Association, and discussed the problem of hospital violence toward health care workers and how that issue is being addressed in Israel as well as the United States.
Bresler presented in-depth research on this topic conducted by Donna Gates, EdD, and Gordon Gillespie, PhD, both of the UC College of Nursing, and him. "Dr. Eidelman and his legal staff have expressed a strong interest in conducting research collaboratively with us,” Bresler says.
The following day, on July 10, Bresler presented to staff at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel on "School Based Violence: Who, What, Where, When, & Why?” Bresler said the presentation, created with Drew Barzman, MD, a forensic psychiatrist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, was very well received by the large number of mental health professionals in attendance.
The Schneider Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) is a very large facility treating Israeli and Palestinian children from throughout the region.
Bresler reflected, "With all the madness around you, once you enter SCMC, the atmosphere completely changes. Arab and Jewish children with their families are treated by Arab and Jewish doctors in a calm, supportive environment. I left there feeling hope for a brighter, peaceful future.”