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Cultural competence of mainstream health services and systems roundtable

Forty-three people attended the roundtable on 20 and 21 November 2014, in Melbourne. Participants included representatives from the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, health service providers, professional health bodies, government agencies, universities and research. 


The aim of the roundtable was to identify priorities for collaborative research to develop the evidence base on how to build workplaces, service delivery and health systems that provide optimal care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The roundtable’s scope was wide-ranging: from the skills and knowledge of individual health workers, to the approaches of professions and occupations, to the programs through which both personal health care and community and public health programs are undertaken, to the operational policies and leadership that shape health care delivery at clinical unit and health service level, and to the ‘high policy’ of health systems and governments.


Two distinct areas of research were identified:

  1. Workforce development with a particular focus on the effectiveness of cultural competence training and the interaction between training (learner outcomes), practice (how individuals implement training in the workplace), workplaces (systemic barriers which prevent learning form being applied) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes
  2. Health systems change with an emphasis on hospital good practice, the patient journey and health outcomes.

Report, presentations and related materials

Roundtable report

Background document

Overview of the evidence and key principles – presentations:
Panel Presenters – Current approaches to cultural competence across the health system:
Reference group members:
  • Gail Garvey – Associate Professor and Leader of Division of Epidemiology and Health Systems, Menzies School of Health Research (Lowitja Institute Research Leader)
  • Judith Dwyer – Professor, Health Care Management, Flinders University (Lowitja Institute Research Leader)
  • Deb Butler – Program Director, Policy
Office of Aboriginal Health Policy & Engagement, Department of Health, NT Government and NATSIHSC representative
  • Angela Durey – Associate Professor, School of Dentistry, The University of Western Australia
  • Shaun Ewen – Professor/Director Poche Centre, The University of Melbourne
  • Suzanne Ingram – Communications and Engagement Officer, The George Institute
  • Karen Mills – Indigenous Health Manager, Central Queensland Medicare Local
  • Ariana Tutini – Deputy CEO, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation
  • Roianne West – Expert Advisor and Professor of Nursing, Griffith University.
  • Cindy Shannon – Professor and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Education), The University of Queensland
Created: 17 March 2015 - Updated: 26 March 2015