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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

New health worker website fosters Indigenous cultural awareness and empathy

Date posted: 3 May 2012

A new Edith Cowan University (ECU) website is changing the attitudes of health professionals when it comes to Indigenous medical care.

Entitled Creating cultural empathy and challenging attitudes through Indigenous narratives, the site aims to improve the treatment of Indigenous patients by challenging the attitudes of health professionals and fostering empathy for patients.

The website hosts an online collection of experiences, both positive and negative, from Indigenous people who have experienced Western Australia's healthcare system, either as patients, carers or visitors.

The stories reflect a number of different issues including:

The website was developed in response to a request to incorporate Indigenous voices into all areas of the healthcare curriculum.

The $220,000 project is funded by an Australian Teaching and Learning (ALTC) grant, awarded to ECU in March 2010.

Head of ECU's School of Medical Sciences, and one of the ECU project leads, Associate Professor Moira Sim hopes the website will provide valuable lessons for those in the health industry.

'The lessons that emerge from the narratives are simple. Spend time with patients and get to know what is important to them. Build trust, and communicate medical and clinical terms in ways that people understand while remaining respectful of their cultural background.'

Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin, Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research and fellow project lead, Professor Colleen Hayward, agrees.

'There is something special about how stories make us feel and we encourage educators to develop learning materials and use these stories in their classrooms,' Professor Hayward said.

Source: Edith Cowan University




Last updated: 3 May 2012
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