Multicultural Health

At Calvary Mater Newcastle we are committed to meeting the health needs of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) consumers. We aim to ensure that people of CALD backgrounds have equitable access to health care services that are culturally responsive, safe and high quality.

Our research strategy is to improve health research and participation in clinical trials with vulnerable groups; in particular respecting and making provision for the culture and language of others in the research that we do.

It is important that researchers are aware of the needs of the CALD community. When conducting research with CALD consumers, we recommend that you consider:

  • Awareness of culturally diverse contexts
    Consider the needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, equity of access to health care services, and available resources.
  • Multicultural Health orientation
    Ensure that you obtain skills in delivering appropriate interventions to clients who come from CALD backgrounds and deaf clients. Be aware of any policy requirements, provide professional interpreters and engage with the HNELHD Multicultural Health Services.
  • Use health care interpreters
    Assess the need for an interpreter, understand the risks in using family to interpret, consider face-to-face communication with interpreters versus telephone interpreting.
  • Engage with carers from CALD backgrounds
    Mental health research is particularly sensitive and there needs to be an appreciation for cultural and religious backgrounds. Be aware of and use the pyramid of family care when conducting mental health research for patients from a CALD background.

HNE Multicultural Health Service includes:

  1. Multicultural Health Liaison Programs
  2. Health Care Interpreter Service
  3. Refugee Health Service

For more information on the NSW Health policy for Healthy Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities please click here.

Unconscious bias and implicit bias

We recommend that researchers become culturally competent and familiarise themselves with a Cultural Competency Program.

The SBS has developed a cultural competency program aimed at improving cross cultural communication, addressing stereotypes, unconscious bias and diversity.

In this TEDx talk, Helen Turnbull explains how we can recognise these biases and promote global diversity and inclusivity.

Regardless of how fair minded we believe ourselves to be, most people have some degree of unconscious bias. The means that we automatically respond to others (e.g. people from different racial or ethnic groups) in positive or negative ways. These associations are difficult to override because they are deeply ingrained into our thinking and emotions. For researchers, making biased decisions can affect the recruitment and selection of research participants, and can affect the ability of research staff and students to achieve their full potential.

Implicit bias, on the other hand, comprises those views and opinions that we may not be aware of. People are unable to control and manage their implicit attitudes and biases and cannot easily hide them in the same way as their explicit biases. Understanding implicit bias – what causes it, how it impacts decision making and what can be done to moderate it – is important in narrowing of the gap between the ideals we aspire to and our reality.

Test yourself!

You can test your own implicit biases through Project Implicit, a non-profit organisation and international collaborative network of researchers investigating implicit social cognition.

Multicultural Liaison Officer, Eleanor Benge

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