FIU joins forces with BIS, global provider of services for individuals with disabilities

Miami, FL (Apr. 26, 2018) ­- Florida International University is partnering with Israel’s leading developer and provider of innovative therapies and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities, to further advance state-of-the-art solutions and the collaborative exchange of research and education. Representatives from Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS), a non-profit organization based in Ra’anana, Israel, were in Miami to sign the MOU with FIU Embrace, a university-wide initiative that promotes health, wellness, and overall functioning for adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities (ID), and other neurodevelopmental disorders (OND).

Developmental disabilities impact individual’s physical and intellectual capabilities well into adulthood. Adults with intellectual disabilities face staggering unemployment, varying from 60 percent to almost 90 percent. The National Institutes of Health estimates that Florida is home to more than 200,000 individuals of all ages living with autism and related disorders. They often experience disparities in key health indicators such obesity, mental health and access to health services.

The signing of the MOU signals both organizations’ commitment to establishing evidence-based models of care that are both sustainable and transferable while nurturing and exploring potential for mutually beneficial research and training opportunities between BIS and FIU faculty, staff and students that address the needs of our communities.

The organizations have also agreed to work with each other to effectively and efficiently identify, analyze and address research, training and education projects of mutual benefit. The MOU clears the way for FIU and BIS to co-host international conferences on disabilities in Miami and Israel, and the exchange of training, professional development and education information in any of the service areas offered by either organization.

“FIU is committed to exploring partnerships and amicable alliances that advance our ability to serve our very diverse community,” says FIU’s Provost and Executive Vice President, Kenneth G. Furton. “Beit Issie Shapiro has pioneered innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for Israelis and as such this partnership is critical to FIU’s strategic goals.”

Beit Issie Shapiro has over four decades of expertise in scaling validated solutions and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities, enabling the organization to promote systemic change in the quality of life of people in Israel and globally.  BIS promotes social change though the development and provision of cutting edge services, changing attitudes in society and advocating for better legislation, while sharing research and best practices internationally through research, consultation and training.

“It is a great honor to have been selected by FIU as a place of best practice in the field of disabilities,” says Jean Judes, Executive Director of Beit Issie Shapiro. “FIU has a unique model of embracing disabilities throughout their campus and we believe this comprehensive approach to change is unique.”

FIU Embrace, officially launched in the fall 2016, utilizes a person-focused, household-centric approach, recognizing that people with developmental disabilities deserve to be treated as individuals with personal patterns of talents and challenges. Through education and dissemination, services, and research opportunities, Embrace strives to positively impact the lives of individuals affected by developmental disabilities, their families, and learners. FIU Embrace is a part of the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED), and is an initiative consistent with the University’s vision for inclusion and embracing the diversity of our Miami community.

Representatives from BIS toured FIU’s south campus and visited key facilities including the Center for Images Sciences (CIS), the Oxidative Stress Lab and FIU Embrace’s medical facilities which specialize in wraparound services for adults with developmental disabilities and their families and caregivers.

“We [FIU and BIS] share a values-based commitment to diversity and people with disabilities and we know this new partnership will make significant impact,” adds Judes. “Together we will create a more inclusive and equal society.”