The importance of developing culturally competent health professionals and services was explored at Congress Lowitja in Melbourne recently.
Marie McInerney reports:
Evidence of why we need culturally competent health professionals and services may be found in preliminary research which is showing different rates of unspecified diagnoses in major hospitals between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous patients.
Australian Catholic University’s Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Dr Michael Taylor, told Congress Lowitja that the data was raw and could have many explanations but still it raised questions that “assumptions, rather than diagnoses, are perhaps being made” when hospitals treat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The research was presented to a conference workshop on cultural competency in hospitals – that is, their ability to meet the needs of Aboriginal patients and their communities, with Victorian research finding that nearly one-third of Aboriginal participants reported experiencing racism in health settings.