Australia is a leading ‘immigration nation’ among OECD countries with approximately 30% of its residents being overseas born. Culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) report lower uptake of health services compared to the mainstream Anglo-Australian population, thus leading to considerable health disparities. Contributing factors include limited knowledge of availability and access to health providers, and perceived racism and misunderstandings. Within this environment, future health practitioners need to be equipped with knowledge and skills in cross-cultural understandings to facilitate enhanced client care and community engagement. The subject ‘Multicultural Perspectives on Health and Wellbeing’ is offered to health sciences undergraduate students, at La Trobe University, Melbourne to provide them with a broad understanding of issues that influence Indigenous populations and CALD communities’ health outcomes. The curriculum reflects contemporary topics such as refugee health, impact of language on health, palliative care and multicultural settings, health and sexual diversity, ethnicity and chronic diseases, drug-use among ethnic communities, and government policies on multiculturalism. To enhance students’ learning experience field practitioners and experts from the university’s campus-community network engage students through interactive presentations and workshops. The intended learning outcomes focuses on a social determinants approach to examine factors that influence multi-ethnic populations health status, and the use of culturally-appropriate frameworks to propose health promotion strategies. In the subject feedback survey students found the purposively chosen topics and content appealing and the assignments intellectually stimulating. Students have consistently rated the overall quality of the subject highly with a score of ‘4’ out of ‘5’.
Sabrina Gupta is currently employed at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia and holds the role of associate lecturer in the School of Public Health and Human Biosciences. Sabrina has several years of experience in research and has an interest in migration, ethnicity, lifestyle and chronic disease.
Currently, I am a lecturer in health promotion at La Trobe University. My work experience has been in the community development field in the Asia Pacific region, for over 20 years. I've drawned on my field experience to inform my teaching of subjects that include health promotion planning and evaluation, community health promotion and global health initiatives.