March 24, 2023

Northern Health celebrates Harmony Day and Cultural Diversity Week

This week, Northern Health celebrated Harmony Day and Cultural Diversity Week.

Harmony Day is held every year on 21 March, to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The 2023 theme for Harmony Day was ‘Everyone belongs’. On this day, we celebrated Australia’s diversity and paid cultural respect to everyone who calls Australia home.

Northern Health services a very culturally diverse community: 47 per cent of Northern Health patients were born in non-English speaking countries, with over 200 countries represented. The top countries of origin are Italy, India, Greece, Iraq and Turkey. Through the Transcultural & Language Services (TALS) department, Northern Health delivers over 70,000 interpreting occasions of service, in over 100 languages.

Cultural diversity is also highlighted in the Northern Health workforce, with staff born in over 40 different countries and speaking over 50 different languages.

Here is what some of our wonderful Northern Health staff said about what harmony means to them:

“Support Services proudly hosts a multicultural team of staff representing many varied cultures and backgrounds. Celebrating Harmony Day allows us to recognise their amazing contribution and to celebrate their hard work and inclusion at Northern Health,” said Operations Manager of Support Services and Co-Chair of the Northern Health Cultural Responsiveness Subcommittee, Wendy Nicol.

 “I am proud to work in such a multicultural catchment area and to liaise daily with staff from different backgrounds. I come from a different country myself (Italy) but this feels like home,” said Education and Engagement Manager for TALS and Narrun-Wilip-Giin, Stefania Zen.

To celebrate Cultural Diversity Week, staff were encouraged to either wear something orange (the official colour of Harmony Day) or a traditional costume from their culture, and celebrate Harmony Day with their colleagues.

It was great to see so many staff embracing Cultural Diversity Week and joining in the celebration.

Display boards were set up at Northern Hospital Epping, Bundoora Centre, Broadmeadows Hospital and Craigieburn Centre. Several staff members contributed to the displays, and one of the displays included artwork created by the year 3/4 children at St Raphael’s Primary School in West Preston.

The library team also set up a page dedicated to Harmony Week with resources and articles related to cultural diversity and healthcare:

Henry’s Cafe and Cafe 1231 put on a special menu to celebrate Cultural Diversity Week by serving traditional dishes from Greece, India, Lebanon, Thailand, Italy, China, and Mexico.

On Harmony Day, the Northern Health Community Choir was honoured to be part of Cultural Diversity Week celebrations in the community held by City of Whittlesea at the Epping Memorial Hall. In a night full of food, music, dance and art from around the world, it was uplifting to see members of the 200-strong audience stand and sing along to ‘I am Australian’ with the choir.

If you would like to participate in the Cultural Diversity week activities and share a delicious recipe from your culture, there is still time to submit one. All recipes will go to the Northern Health staff e-recipe book and can be accessed on the TALS Intranet page.

Please use this template and send your recipe to by Sunday, 26 March 2023.

TALS team
Harmony Day display board at Northern Hospital