June 19, 2023

Refugee Week: Finding Freedom

From 18 – 24 June 2023, Northern Health will acknowledge Refugee Week, an opportunity for staff to learn more about the challenges faced by refugee and asylum seekers.

This year’s theme is ‘Finding Freedom’ and aims to shine a light on aspects of the refugee experience and help the broader community to understand what it is like to be a refugee. Highlights at Northern Health will include lived experience presentations, case studies, and a background information session.

Stefania Zen, Education and Engagement Manager, Transcultural & Language Services/Narrun Wilip-Giin Aboriginal Support Unit, is one of the presenters at the Refugee Study Day on Tuesday, 20 June. She says, “every refugee is different, and each journey is unique.”

The Study Day will run from 9.30 am to 12 pm, both online and in-person. The program will cover topics including refugee and asylum seeker data, definitions, and the internal and external services available to support this patient population. The program will also include lived experience presentations and case studies from our Paediatric Refugee Health Clinic – a joint initiative between Northern Health and The Royal Children’s Hospital.

On Wednesday, 21 June, Women’s Health in the North will host a webinar on Refugee Women’s Health and the social and cultural aspects of Female Genital Cutting. It will cover definitions, the settlement process, health issues, implications for health care, and cross-cultural communication.

Some of the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers face include the dramatic transition from one culture to another, the loss of home, families and community, together with the loss of language, social and professional status.

Transcultural and Language Services (TALS) will address these challenges in a webinar titled, ‘Migration and Settlement in the Health Context – Working with Refugees and Asylum Seekers,’ on Thursday, 22 June from 1 pm to 2 pm. This webinar will provide a global picture of refugees and strategies on how to provide culturally sensitive and appropriate care to patients from refugee backgrounds.

In addition, the library team has set up a page dedicated to Refugee Week with resources and articles related to refugee and asylum seeker health, which you can access here.

Jason Cirone, Chief Allied Health Officer, encourages staff to participate in the week’s events, saying, “It’s important to understand the lived experience of refugees and asylum seekers. It helps us plan and deliver appropriate services to this diverse and unique patient group. You can register here.”

Featured image from Refugee Council, Australia.