A non-government health policy and research centre
Health Issues Centre

Cultural diversity

Are You Talking To Me?

Are you talking to me? Negotiating the challenge of cultural diversity in children's health care 2008.The project examined health interactions between families from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds (1st and 2nd generation) and health professionals, with a particular focus on the potential cultural ‘mismatches’ in health service provision.


Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA)

AIDA strives for excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in the spirit of cultural integrity. AIDA supports Indigenous people to take a central role in Indigenous health and encourages non-Indigenous people to work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, in a way that is culturally safe and respectful.

Be with us. Carers Victoria support for Indigenous carers

This 2005 report from Roseanne Hepburn for Carers Victoria found that although very few Indigenous people identify as carers, many have significant care responsibilities. Their stories show the legacies of colonisation, dispossession and racism, and a strong need for culturally appropriate support and respite.

Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing

This web site contains resources to guide best practice standards of care especially in working with residents and families from CALD communities. It addresses cultural diversity across all levels of service design and delivery.

Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health

The Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health is a statewide organisation funded by the Department of Human Services to build the capacity of Victorian health service providers to effectively meet the needs of clients and communities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Consumer Participation and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: A Discussion Paper

The paper reviews the principles of community participation in health care; examines some of the barriers and enablers to CALD consumer participation; and outlines the commonalities across Victorian government policy on cultural diversity and participation in health care; and proposes a participation framework for CALD consumer, carer and community participation at the individual, program and department level, and health service level.

Consumer, Carer and Community Participation Resource. Health Issues Centre

This resource has been developed to assist primary health agencies increase the participation of consumers, carers and the community in their health service. It contains information and resources developed for four workshops that focused on three key themes: the connection between consumer participation, health promotion and community development; engaging newly arrived communities; and consumer participation and chronic disease management.

Culture in Health: A Neglected Necessity in the Australian Health Care System

Australia is a culturally diverse society located in a culturally diverse world that is also “on the move”. Our multicultural future is unquestionable, but is our health sector responding to this reality? It appears training institutions and service delivery agencies are sticking to conservative concepts about health. The radical scientific method that invented modern medicine seems unprepared to embark on new types of enquiry that will expand the concept of health and the role that culture plays in health outcomes. This article argues that this must change, not just so that more equitable and appropriate services will be available, but because it is economically efficient and there will be a dividend for the entire community.

Diabetes Prevention for Immigrant and Refugee Women

Final report from the Multicultural Centre for Women's Health Diabetes Healthy Living Project.

Empowering Ethnic Communities

Fostering Inclusive Service Provision through Relationship building.
Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC) has recently received funding to undertake a new community development program in transcultural mental health. This is in recognition that previous methods aimed at increasing access to mainstream mental health
services have not been entirely successful. Whilst these methods do have a critical role to play in ensuring culturally competent service provision, research suggests that people from ethnic communities are still not accessing mental health services at the same rate as other Australians.

Engaging refugee and migrant young people

This report documents the proceedings of the forum which includes guest speakers’presentations, strategies for engaging refugee and migrant young people around mental health issues and improving service delivery, as well as follow-up actions to be explored and developed by ADEC and CMY.

Engaging refugee and migrant young people around mental health: Exploring strategies that work

This report documents the proceedings of the forum which includes guest speakers’ presentations, strategies for engaging refugee and migrant young people around mental health issues and improving service delivery, as well as follow-up actions to be explored and developed by Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC) and Center for Multicultural Youth (CMY).

Expanding consumer and community participation in the health sector

This is a joint position statement on cultural diversity and consumer participation produced by the Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health and Health Issues Centre

Feedback, Participation and Consumer Diversity

Increasingly, the potential role of consumers in developing effective and appropriate health care services in being recognised. Evidence is also emerging to support the wisdom of this participation. Despite the increasing amount of work being done to enhance consumer participation in the health system, many consumer groups are excluded from involvement in mainstream processes for seeking such input. This article looks at a project was undertaken by the National Resource Centre for Consumer Participation in Health. The projects draws together existing information from the literature about participation of previously excluded consumer groups and to highlight existing barriers to the participation of these ‘marginalised’ groups of consumers.

Feedback, participation and consumer diversity: a literature review

Concerned about consumer groups being excluded from participation in mainstream processes, this project was undertaken to draw together existing information about participation of consumers previously marginalised from participating in health services planning.

Feedback, participation and consumer diversity: an annotated bibliography

Concerned about consumer groups being excluded from participation in mainstream processes, this project was undertaken to draw together existing information about participation of consumers previously marginalised from participating in health services planning.

Healers, Clinics and Aboriginal People: Whose Health and Who Benefits?

Achieving better health outcomes for Aboriginal people remains a high priority for health providers. However, what can be overlooked in the delivery of health care is a very particular understanding of ‘health’ that Aboriginal people bring with them when they attend the local clinic or hospital. Within many central Australian communities there exist healers, maparn (also known as ngangkari) who attend to people’s sickness. In this article, the author describes the work of these healers, and raises questions about the health implications for Aboriginal people when their healers remain isolated from western medical health understandings and practice.

Health Literacy Project in a Community Health Service

This article describes the methods a Victorian community health service used to engage their community in developing health information for the community’s use.

Joint Position Statement on Cultural Diversity Consumer Participation

This Joint Position Statement on Cultural Diversity Consumer Participation was created by Health Issuse Centre and Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health. It describes how the two organisations plan to work together to support health services to develop consumer participation strategies that engage the diverse communities they serve.

Language Services in Victoria's Health System: Perspectives of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Consumers

This resource looks at how culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) consumers use language services and how effective they find them. Research by the Centre for Ethnicity and Health found that consumers repeatedly described excessive waiting times, overstretched services and varying quality. In some cases though, consumers did not have the information about where and how to access existing language services. The report shows that many CALD consumers will not be able to meaningfully participate in their own health care until essential communication services are improved.

Making Focus Groups Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate

This resource outlines an approach to focus groups which involves using bilingual facilitators with a group of participation with a common language and cultural background.

Mixing Oil and Water: Practical Implementation of Policy to Improve Health Outcomes for Aboriginal Consumers

Mixing oil and water is a difficult task and it is generally thought to be impossible. Yet through the addition of a surfactant that changes the surface tension, the two can be mixed successfully. At first glance bringing about improved health for Aboriginal people also appears to be an impossible task. This article will examine the national and state policy platform regarding Aboriginal health and how they combine with current research to inform the Improving Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients Strategy. It will also explore how this policy has started to become a reality on the ground by examining what has occurred at St Vincent's in Melbourne and by demonstrating how this offers a meaningful basis on which to build upon.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia

Looking for information and support for mental health issues in culturally and linguistically diverse communities? Multicultural Mental Health Australia works collaboratively with state and territory mental health specialists and services, advocacy groups and tertiary institutions

Multilingual Resident Handbook

Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing.This Handbook is a useful tool for residential aged care providers as it helps to compile and publish resident handbooks in multiple languages. It’s a useful tool to provide information to residents and their families in their own language. Handbooks can be published in: English, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Croatian, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Maltese, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

NHMRC Cultural Competency in Health

This guide from the National Health and Medical Research Council argues that for all Australians to realise their right to health care, cultural competency must be the core business at every level of the health system. This guide aims to help policy makers and managers to develop and implement culturally competent policy and planning in relation to CALD communities.

Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit

This Unit is a partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people which affirms Aboriginal knowledge, values and processes in all of its work. Onemda uses its extensive experience in Aboriginal health care, health service and policy to undertake research, teaching and Koori community development.

Participation with culturally and linguistically diverse comunities

In early 2007, Health Issues Centre prepared a discussion paper for acute and primary health services and the Victorian Department of Human Services. The discussion paper sought to identify generalised barriers and enablers for Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) consumer and community participation in health services and proposed a framework including clear and additional strategies and resources for meaningful CALD consumer participation. This excerpt identifies the key factors that help and hinder CALD consumer participation.

Participatory Action Research: Practical Strategies for Actively Engaging and Maintaining Participation in Immigrant and Refugee Communities

This article shows that active participation is seen as the gateway into a Participatory Action Research project. The data also suggest that newcomers’ motivations to participate in a PAR-oriented project might vary across ethno-cultural groups. Practitioners working in community-based initiatives would do well to appeal to the diversity of motivational factors, while endorsing individual and group strengths.

Providing Education to Colorectal Cancer Surgery Patients: The Consumer Experience in a Melbourne Hospital

In 1999, Austin Health conducted an audit that revealed inadequacies in written consumer information in a range of areas including pre-operative and discharge information. In 2000, the first stage of the Patient Education Material Project (PEP) designed a process and system of best practice for the development of consumer education materials to be implemented at Austin Health. The second stage (PEP2) was undertaken in 2002 to investigate the effects on English, Greek and Italian-speaking consumers ’ experience of receiving quality education materials about colorectal cancer surgery. The project consists of four phases: evaluation of the existing consumer education materials; development of a education package; intervention; and evaluation of the intervention. This article describes the consumers’ experience of receiving the existing consumer education in the project’s first phase.

Reality Check: Culturally Diverse Mental Health Consumers Speak Out

This project of the Multicultural Mental Health Australia, National Ethic Disability Alliance, and the Australian Mental Health Consumer Network produced a report that presents findings from a series of national consultations with Cultural and Linguistically Diverse mental health consumers about their needs, concerns and aspirations, and includes a CALD consumer service provider checklist.

Refugee consumer voice : how to ensure it makes a difference

The refugee health project was a consumer participation project which aimed to ensure that health services meet the needs of newly arrived refugees in Brisbane inner south suburbs. Partners in the project were the Brisbane Inner South Division of General Practice and the Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma. The objectives of the project were to obtain refugee feedback about services, and to ensure ongoing consumer involvement in the planning and development about services. The project focused on training, resourcing and supporting consumer consultants.

Report on Interviews with Consumers and Consumers and Carers about their Experience of Receiving Colorectal Cancer Surgery Information

This project aimed to evaluate Austin and Repatrication Medical Centre's systems for providing education/informtion to English- and non-English- speaking patients and determine the effects of providing good quality, culturally specific education/information on health outcomes.

Reproductive Health for Resettling Refugee and Migrant Women?

The negotiation of reproductive rights for refugee and migrant women is complicated by the experiences of displacement and migration. Notions of community, family and authorities, and rules of access to resources, are in constant flux and may differ from the traditional systems that migrant or resettling refugee women are familiar with. This article presents the qualitative findings of a three-year study focusing on the reproductive health of African and Middle Eastern refugee and migrant women resettled in Victoria. The issues discussed include women’s problems of engaging with reproductive health services that they perceive as hostile and unforgiving of cultural differences, their difficulties in accessing family planning services, and the complications of addressing reproductive rights in rapidly evolving power relations within families and communities.

Respecting Patient Choices: Literature Review

Austin Health's groundbreaking Respecting Patient Choices (RPC) Project has aimed to allow patients and their families to make advance decisions about end-of-life care. During 2006, Health Issues Centre conducted a literature review as part of this project. The review was around cultural perceptions and practice on advance care planning.

Social Inclusion of the hard to reach

This report is intended as a practical resource for local councils wishing to engage their communities in decision making and planning. The focus is on how to broaden the range of people represented in council processes, especially those who are reluctant to participate in traditional consultation methods

Victorian Department of Health Cultural Diversity Guide

This guide is published by the Victorian Department of Human Services and outlines strategies to help plan and deliver culturally appropriate human services. Each strategy is illustrated by examples of good practice and has a section on where to go for more information.

Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC)

The Commission committed to fostering harmony and encouraging the full participation of Victoria’s ethnic communities with the social, economic and cultural life of our community. The website contains many resources including an online directory that lists the details for more than 1,700 interfaith networks, language service providers, government agencies, chambers of commerce, consulates and community language schools.

Vietnamese-born health professionals: negotiating work and life in rural Australia

This study explored the experiences of six Australian-trained, overseas-born Vietnamese health professionals living and working in rural Australia. There is a considerable body of research on the experiences of overseas-trained health professionals1-3, especially doctors, in rural Australia but very little about those who have previously lived and trained in Australia, particularly those with a Vietnamese background. It may be assumed that Australians who grew up in a rural area are more likely to practise rurally, but there is no evidence regarding the influence of early life experiences of overseas-born, Australian-trained health professionals on their choice of practice location.

Was I still on the waiting list? A study about people waiting for public dental care

This report involves people who have been on the waiting list for public dental treatment at Dianella Community Health, Broadmeadows, for two years or more. It explores the experiences and perceptions of public dental patients and includes those who do not end up using the service. The aim of the study is to investigate factors (including health literacy) influencing decisions made by people on public dental waiting lists to attend dental clinics and explore people’s perceptions of their oral health status and general health status, and associated behaviours, while waiting for public dental care.

Worlds Apart A Series on Cross-Cultural Health Care. Part 1

You tube video
This case study looks at the experience of a cancer patient from a CALD background interacting with the US health system.