S2: Developing culturally responsive resources for multicultural engagement

Time: 11:00am – 11:50am
Location: Marsden Room
Jasmina Bajraktarevic, Community Services Coordinator, STARTTS

2.1 Towards addressing outdated paradigms in engaging CALD communities and tapping the agency of refugee communities in Southwest: the Digital Health Literacy and Refugee Project. 

Dr. Michael Camit
University of Technology Sydney

About the presentation

This presentation will use the South West Digital Health Literacy and Refugee Project will argue that to date, most of communication and engagement efforts with multicultural communities, have been top-down and have not acknowledged the agency of diverse communities that can be potentially amplified and enhanced through social and technological innovations. It will identify outdated paradigms and identify how the current project is responding to the call to explore and test emerging practices in innovation and engagement. This will include a discussion on emerging methodologies in measuring digital health literacy, social networks, digital and social media competencies and skills needed to engage in languages other than English, the use of crowdsourcing platforms and tapping into the refugee community members who may not necessarily be connected to any official organisation. It will also outline opportunities and challenges to engaging multicultural communities such as misinformation/ disinformation, echo chambers and Artificial Intelligence in altering what constitutes “facts” in health and government information.

About the presenters

Dr. Michael Camit (PhD) is Adjunct Fellow at the School of Business and the School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) where he is exploring start up thinking, innovation and the potential of crowdsourcing and linguistic and cultural diversity for innovation. He is currently Manager, Health Literacy at South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD).  One of his current projects that builds on his research on social media and migrants/ refugees is the South West Digital Health Literacy and Refugee Project which is exploring ways to build resilience of local refugee communities to misinformation and pilot initiatives that will inform the future of health communication and engagement in South West Sydney.

2.2 My Life and Me- culturally responsive life story Tailoring resources for children in care, refugees and/or impacted by trauma

Ghassan Noujaim & Kathy Karatasas
Settlement Services International  

About the presentation

Settlement Services International has developed the life story resources My Life and Me a to improve cultural responsiveness in working with children from culturally and, linguistically diverse children (CALD). My life and Me provides an opportunity for children from diverse cultures to have a conversation with parents, family members, carers, caseworkers and other significant people in their lives. Feedback from children, parents and practitioners reflects the value that children are developing positive sense of their history, identity and belonging as well as improving connections with carers and parents and family members.

About the presenters

Ghassan Noujaim, Senior Operations Manager was a founding staff member to Settlement Services International’s Multicultural Foster Care Program and the Unaccompanied Minors Program. He is also the co-creator of My Life and Me cultural Life Story Work resources. He has a never-ending thirst for learning about cultures and advocating for culturally responsive practices.

Kathy Karatasas -Head of Multicultural Child and Family, Settlement Services International with extensive experience on working with government and non-government organizations in child prevention, protection and out of home care. Current work includes deputy chair of ACWA Board, co-chair of Child and Family Leadership Group SWS District and co-chair of Multicultural Partnership sub-Committee.

2.3 Engaging with diverse cultural communities across NSW: Review of the Multicultural NSW Regional Advisory Council (RAC) program

Nickie Flambouras & Luke Boulos
Multicultural NSW

About the presentation 

For many years, the Regional Advisory Council (RAC) program was the primary mechanism by which Multicultural NSW maintained state-wide community engagement networks. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Multicultural NSW activated its RAC networks online to better understand and respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities across the state. In late 2020, Multicultural NSW engaged SEC Newgate Australia to conduct an independent review of the RAC program.  Drawing on the finding of the RAC review, Multicultural NSW is designing a new regional engagement program that aims to expand and sustain effective, wide-reaching, robust relationships with and between communities across NSW regions from 2022 to 2025 and beyond. This presentation details the engagement process, findings and recommendations of the review of the Multicultural NSW Regional Advisory Council (RAC) program.

About the presenters

Nickie Flambouras has been managing the Community Engagement Team at Multicultural NSW since 2019. In the last three years, her focus has been on introducing new and innovative ways of engaging with community not only in metro Sydney but across Regional NSW. During her employment with Multicultural NSW, Nickie's attention has been on leading purposeful engagement and ensuring the voice of community is represented across government policy and decision making. In the last 12 months, Nickie has been overseeing the Regional Advisory Council review process and is now working through the development of the new regional engagement program.

Luke Boulos is an experienced Community Engagement Practitioner at Multicultural NSW with extensive experience in the execution and running of programs for grassroots communities across NSW. Prior to joining Multicultural NSW, Luke served four years at Service NSW and ran programs such as the `Savings Finder Program' from Wetherill Park Service Centre, case managed bushfire survivors through the Bushfire Customer Care Program and executed the bespoke cross government collaboration; the Multicultural Youth Linker Program. Luke is passionate about serving the community and emphasises the notion that anybody affected by an issue impacting their community should have a say in the decision making around its mitigation.

2.4 The role of leadership among a Congolese community in Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative study

Nafiseh Ghafournia
Multicultural Health Service (Hunter)

About the presentation

This study explores the role of leadership related to the COVID-19 response and information sharing among a newly emerging Congolese community in the Hunter New England region of Australia. The findings of this study were part of a larger exploration of COVID-19 messaging among emerging CALD communities. Two major themes were identified: leadership as an assigned and trusted role, and leadership as a continuous responsibility. The Congolese community leaders reported feeling responsible and confident in their ability to proactively contribute to the local COVID-19 response by enhancing communication with the community. By partnering with and learning from respected leaders in CALD communities, government health services have the opportunity to improve how current public health messaging is developed.

About the presenter

Nafiesah Ghafournia has been working as researcher and sessional academic at the university of Newcastle. Her research revolves around domestic violence, social policy, gender, immigration and public health.  She has also worked a s multicultural health liaison officer in NSW healt. She has extensive experience working with immigrant and refugees and delivers regular lectures and trainings to health professionals on cultural aspects of health and cultural competency. 

Last updated:

05 Oct 2022

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