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Culturally + Linguistically Diverse [CALD]

Culturally and linguistically diverse people can face systemic barriers and discrimination when accessing health care. This can be compounded by an unfamiliar healthcare system, limited access to interpreters or translated information, and reduced health literacy. We seek to understand and address these challenges to improve health outcomes and access to care. 

We work to uncover and understand the unique challenges and barriers that culturally and linguistically diverse people may face in accessing healthcare and wellbeing support.

Examples of these barriers include difficulty navigating an unfamiliar system, limited access to interpreters and limited health literacy (or reduced health literacy in the English). Common cultural practices or social stigma may also mean culturally diverse communities are less likely to disclose health concerns, get tested or discuss their needs with unfamiliar medical professionals. Culturally and linguistically diverse people can also face systemic racism and discrimination when accessing health services, and this can prevent them from seeking care in the future. 

We aim to understand and overcome these persistent and emerging barriers to accessing equitable healthcare for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

We seek input from culturally and linguistically communities to understand their lived experiences and inform our research and treatment practice responses. 
This includes:

  • community surveys and forums to understand behaviours and identify emerging issues
  • a Community Engagement Group made up of 12 community leaders from a range of multicultural communities, who provide further review and insights into our findings.

Community engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities was a key part of the Optimise Study, which aimed to better understand how the community is managing and responding to COVID-19 and the measures introduced to stop its spread. It was led by Burnet and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunology in collaboration with University of Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology, Monash University, La Trobe University, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Centre for Ethnicity and Health, and the Health Issues Centre.