Multicultural and refugee health

Multicultural and refugee health

People from non-English speaking backgrounds tend to have less positive experiences when using health services than most other Australians.

Multicultural people are likely to experience a marked decline in the very good health they bring with them. The main causes are communication barriers, ethnocentric cultural practices, and difficulty in accessing appropriate services.

Multicultural health is about ensuring that people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds are treated fairly and experience no barriers to receiving services that affect their health and wellbeing.

Aims

  • To work in collaboration with the community and other government departments to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of people in Tasmania with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; and
  • to assist the Department of Health and Human Services to be responsive to the particular needs and circumstances of Tasmania's multiculturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

What we do

Public Health Services develops policy to promote improved health and wellbeing outcomes for people from multicultural backgrounds. This role involves the development of consultative processes to ensure that relevant communities have the opportunity to participate in the policy, planning, program development and evaluation processes of the Department of Health and Human Services.

We identify the health and wellbeing needs and priorities of the various multicultural communities in Tasmania. We undertake research and gather evidence to understand best practice in the delivery of services to multicultural communities. (For example, migrants, refugees, international students, Australian-born people with culturally and linguistically diverse heritage, etc.)

We provide advice to the Minister for Health and other departmental staff on multicultural health and wellbeing issues and provide information, education and high level advocacy.

We recognise that health and wellbeing is determined by a range of factors such as income, social status, social support networks, education, employment, social environments and access to services.

Activities

We are the single point of contact and liaison within the Department of Health and Human Services for various communities and organisations.

We facilitate equity and access to services by encouraging appropriate signage, the use of translator services and the production and dissemination of translated health information material, as well as other strategies to develop more culturally appropriate and responsive mainstream services.

Contact us

healthycommunities@dhhs.tas.gov.au

February 2016