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Multicultural Services Projects and Activities

Projects and activities




CALD Physical Activity Multicultural Clinical Support Officer pilots 
Cultural Competency Training and Education  Pacific Islander and Maori Health Needs Assessment 
Data collection and analysis  Refugee Health Queensland 
Multicultural Community Health Worker pilot   


CALD Physical Activity

The CALD Physical Activity project aims to increase the accessibility of physical activity opportunities for people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background to ensure better health outcomes.

The project will map the opportunities for physical activity targeting people from CALD backgrounds currently being delivered at local, state, and Commonwealth levels, so that linkages and capacity can be built across mainstream physical activity, sports and recreation providers, health services, CALD groups and multicultural organisations. 

A report will be published detailing the key findings of the project and recommendations to improve linkages and provision of physical activity opportunities for CALD communities

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Cultural Competency Training and Education

In response to the need to build the cultural competency of staff, Queensland Health reviewed the evidence on cultural competency and clearly defined the knowledge and skills required by health staff to enable and support the delivery of culturally competent services.

Five cross-cultural capabilities were defined for both clinical and non-clinical staff, with varying application of the capabilities acrioss clinical and non-clinical staff.

A Cross Cultural Learning and Development Strategy has been developed and is currently being implemented.

Click here for more information about training and education.

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Data collection and analysis

A multicultural data working party was established to inform the collection, extraction, analysis and reporting of the CALD minimum dataset, and to advocate for improvements in these areas. Membership of the working party is comprised of representatives from the Health Statistics Centre, Population Health Queensland, the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland and Queensland Health Multicultural Program.

With the support of the working party, data has been analysed on the health status of the Italian, Indian, Vietnamese, Fijian, Samoan, Tongan, Papua New Guinean and Cook Islander communities. Examination has been made of datasets including the Queensland Hospital Admitted Patient Data Collection, the Cancer Registry (Queensland) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to elicit hospital separation and mortality data including: coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, diabetes, all cancers excluding non-melanocytic skin cancer, external causes (including accident and injury), musculoskeletal disease, mortality ratios for all causes and total avoidable conditions. Extraction and examination has been made of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey dataset, relating to smoking behaviour, alcohol consumption and illicit drug use. The Queensland Health perinatal statistics database has been examined to provide infant mortality, pre-term birth and breastfeeding data.

Fact sheets are under development to present comprehensive health profiles of the Italian, Indian and Vietnamese communities and will be made available on the Multicultural Health website.

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Multicultural Clinical Support Officer pilots

The Multicultural Clinical Support Officer was implemented as a strategy to build the cultural competency of nurses and allied health professionals. The Multicultural Clinical Support Officer role is equivalent to an on the spot cultural coach and is based on evidence that busy clinical staff are not able to attend stand-alone cultural competency training, and that they learn best when provided with information that is relevant to immediate clinical issues.

Two Multicultural Clinical Support Officers were trialled, one at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the other at the Gold Coast Health Service District. An external evaluation of the Multicultural Clinical Support Officer role found that the positions resulted in a high level of demand from staff for information, coaching and support on a wide range of multicultural issues and topics.

Over 50% of requests for information were direct service delivery related, with almost 20% related to requests for information about CALD agencies. The remaining requests for information/advice were linked to interpreter services, translated material and requests for resources.

Approximately 200 training sessions were delivered at the RBWH as at the time of the evaluation (February, 2009) with attendance by over 2,000 staff. Training was either delivered in a formal session or during ward handovers, depending on operational needs. Approximately 70% of training participants were from nursing, almost 20% from Allied Health, with other representation from Medical (5%), Professional (5%) and Administrative streams (2%).

The evaluation also found that the positions resulted in changes to policies and procedures. The majority of staff interviewed as a part of the evaluation identified at least one policy or procedure which had been adapted to reflect more culturally appropriate responses or practices as a direct result of the training or advocacy by the Multicultural Clinical Support Officer.

Changes to policy and procedures included:

  • a review of the district procedure to reflect cultural considerations and sensitivities related to death and dying
  • the development of a procedure document on cultural/religious customs relating to death for seven specific religions, sub groups
  • the inclusion of information on culturally appropriate interview techniques for health Assessments in the Transition to Midwifery Practice Education Modules
  • the preparation of culturally appropriate questions related to birth preferences in the patient’s Pregnancy Health Record to assist clinicians in the birth suite and relevant ward to provide culturally appropriate care during the birthing journey
  • a review of food service policy/procedure to take into consideration the special needs of patients who follow strict dietary laws such as halal, kosher and vegetarian diets.

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Multicultural Community Health Worker pilot

Working in partnership with Queensland Health as a funding body, the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ) has led the development of the Multicultural Community Health Worker pilot to trial a new workforce role in Queensland.

ECCQ developed and implemented a training program for Multicultural Community Health Workers for nine communities, with the communities being selected based on the prevalence of chronic diseases. The communities were Sudanese, Vietnamese, Pacific Islanders, Filipino, Spanish speaking, Arabic speaking, Greek, Indian and Bosnian.

Working with the Central and Southern Population Health Units, the Health Promotion Branch and Queensland Health Multicultural Services, a needs assessment was conducted with each community on health education, healthy eating and physical activity. An innovative culturally tailored chronic disease self-management and risk modification facilitator training package called Living Well was developed, with health education, healthy eating, and physical activity education modules for the nine target communities. This included developing community relevant resources (eg. food pyramids with community foods).

The Multicultural Community Health Workers were also used as a pilot strategy to reach non-English speaking communities targeted by the national Measure Up social marketing campaign. ECCQ again worked in partnership with Queensland Health to develop a facilitator’s manual on the Measure Up campaign for Multicultural Community Health Workers and 17 sessions across 10 communities were conducted.

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Pacific Islander and Maori Health Needs Assessment and Consultation Project

The Pacific Islander and Maori Health Needs Assessment and Consultation Project aims to identify the priority health needs in five Queensland Pacific Islander communities: Maori, Papua New Guinean, Samoan, Fijian and Fiji-Indian. The needs of the Tongan and Cook Islands communiteis are also being assessed through a partnership with the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland.

The project is focussing on South East Queensland (Brisbane, Caboolture, Deception Bay, Gold Coast, Logan and Ipswich) and Cairns.

The major strategies are:

  • literature review
  • focus groups with community leaders
  • focus groups with community members
  • telephone survey of randomly selected health service providers
  • produce project report
  • forums to share and disseminate information in Cairns and Brisbane

The project utilises bilingual/bicultural co-facilitators and is guided by a project advisory group

Click here for more information about the project.

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Refugee Health Queensland

Following an extensive collaborative planning process, a statewide service plan for refugee health assessment was approved in April 2008 and Refugee Health Queensland was established and operational from July 2008.

Refugee Health Queensland is a statewide service that provides special humanitarian entrants and asylum seekers with:

  • standard initial health assessments, including public health screening and catch-up vaccination
  • coordination of short term health management with additional support for complex cases
  • supported referral to existing services for continuing care, in particular, general practitioners.

Priority is given to asylum seekers and those who are within the first six months of settlement.

Refugee Health Queensland operates on a hub and spoke model. The hub consists of a small statewide team which conducts the planning, coordination, education, support and quality monitoring, as well as managing the Brisbane South Refugee Health Assessment Clinic. The spoke services provide direct clinical care services to the client group in the local area and are supported by the hub.

Service locations are based in:

  • South Brisbane  - the hub and South Brisbane assessment clinic is based at the Mater Hospital Services
  • North Brisbane - Refugee Health Assessment Clinic at Zillmere Community Centre
  • Logan - Refugee Health Clinic at Logan Community Health Centre
  • Toowoomba - a refugee health nurse is based at Kobi House, Toowoomba Health Service, working with an existing medical officer
  • Cairns - a refugee health nurse is based at the Cairns General Practice Division working with local general practitioners and other practice staff
  • Townsville - a mobile refugee health nurse based at the James Cook University works with local general practitioners and other practice staff

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Last updated: 1 October 2013