victorian refugee health network

~ Victorian Refugee Health Network e-Bulletin September 2012 ~

New look Network website, same old address


The Victorian Refugee Health Network has launched a new website. The fresh look maintains popular features and content such as ‘Clinical Quicklinks’, and provides a more user-friendly interface to quickly access a wide-range of refugee health related information. The home page includes top level tabs which take you to ‘current’ topics such as asylum seeker health, rural and regional settlement, professional development opportunities and to the e-bulletin. From the home page you can navigate through five simple portals: Learn (about refugee health), Engage, Clinical Quicklinks (including the Promoting Refugee Health Guide, the Refugee Health Assessment Tool, immunisation order forms), Refer (for up-to-date addresses for refugee health clinics, refugee health nurses, GPs who speak community languages) and Library (where you can search for resources and publications on refugee health in Australia and internationally).

September e-Bulletin


Call for enrolments - Monash University Post Graduate Refugee Health Nursing Unit ‘Refugee health and wellbeing’ (NUR5833). Enrolment is now open for this post-grad nursing unit being offered by Monash University in Semester 1 2013. The unit combines online learning with two face to face learning days. The unit was developed through a partnership with The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture and the State Wide Refugee Nurse Facilitator. The unit will assist nurses to work with refugees within a social model of health to identify gaps in health services and advocate for refugees in local contexts. For more information about the course contact May Maloney [].

Community update from DIAC on implementation of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers Report. A number of announcements have been made by the Federal government in response to the Expert Panel Report. On August 23 Chris Bowern announced a 40 per cent increase to the humanitarian program to 20 000 places this financial year. This will be the largest increase to Australia’s humanitarian program in 30 years and places Australia as the second-largest country of resettlement for UNHCR-referred refugees in the world. Read the Minister’s announcement . On 3 September 2012, DIAC's ‘Australia by boat? No Advantage’ communications activities were launched.The campaign aims to deliver key messages about the ‘no advantage’ principle on protection visa processing. The information is available in a number of languages and uses fact sheets, videos and brochures to inform anyone considering coming to Australia by boat that ‘there is no advantage in taking a people smuggler’s boat instead of applying for a refugee visa through regular channels’.  View this material on the DIAC website. On September 10, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announced a legislative instrument designating the Republic of Nauru as a regional processing country under the Migration Act. View the designation here.

DIAC Settlement Planning Update August 2012. The latest update from the Settlement and Multicultural Affairs Branch of DIAC is available here.

New report: Social Inclusion in Australia - How Australia is faring. The Australian Social Inclusion Board's second edition of Social inclusion in Australia: How Australia is Faring tracks Australia’s progress against indicators of social inclusion, including health. The report finds that most Australians enjoy good health. However, those in poor health or with a disability do not enjoy the same opportunities as other Australians. Download report.


Minister for Multicultural Affairs Senator Kate Lundy launches “The Settlement Journey: Strengthening Australia through migration” which outlines the Australian Government's settlement policy and suite of services available to help new migrants and humanitarian entrants build a new life in Australia. The document includes a conceptual framework for understanding settlement outcomes. Access document.


Canapés for a cause: Refugee Health and Human Rights, Thursday September 27. The Victorian Medical Women’s Society invites female medical and legal professionals to examine the plight of refugees and asylum seekers from both a legal and medical perspective. Presentations to be held by Associate Professor Bebe Loff (Director Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health), Professor Louise Newman (Convener Alliance of Health Professionals for Asylum Seekers) and Dr Mikhaila Lazanyi, (Convenor of the Alliance of Health Professionals for Asylum Seekers & Chairman of the Detention Expert Health Advisory Group). More information and registration details.

Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) Event: Victoria’s Multicultural Identity State Conference 2012, Tuesday November 30. This conference will bring together government, policy makers, academics and service providers to find solutions to Victoria’s identity challenges. The conference will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 9am-5pm Tuesday November 30. Re4gistration will commence at 8am. For more information visit the ECCV website.


Wanted: New Paradigms? Forced Migration, Mobilities and Humanitarianism in Australia and Beyond 12 & 13 November. The Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Melbourne, is hosting a two-day interdisciplinary symposium on humanitarianism, mobilities and forced migration. Symposium discussion and debate will focus on the critical anthropological scholarship of keynote speaker Professor Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton and Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Preliminary programme details are now available here and registration is now open.

Professional Development

Cervical and breast screening education workshop, Thursday September 27 (sign up by COB TODAY!). Hosted by PapScreen Victoria and BreastScreen Victoria, this workshop is aimed at Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) and Settlement Grant Program (SGP) providers to increase knowledge and awareness of the importance of cervical and breast screening to prevent cancer. RSVP by close of business TODAY (Monday September 24 2012) to Heidi English or telephone (03) 9635 5227.

VTPU: Introduction to Cultural Responsiveness for Mental Health Services 25th October. This workshop aims to introduce mental health professionals, working in clinical and psychiatric disability and rehabilitation services, to cultural responsiveness. This one-day workshop will be run on the 25th of October. To register or find out more click here.


Integrating Mindfulness into Neuroscience Informed Psychotherapeutic Approaches with Refugees, Monday October 15. The NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) presents its 4th Clinical Master Class for 2012. This lecture aims to provide a broad overview and critique of current trends, namely the integration of neuroscience psychotherapy and the modality of mindfulness. This lecture is suitable for all interested clinicians, students and other service providers and will be broadcast live for interested individuals and/or agencies. More information.


Free patient health information videos in Arabic, English, Somali and Swahili. Produced by medical students in the US, this website of audio-visual material provides information on Hepatitis B, Latent TB and Parasites in several community languages. Visit the site and view the videos.


Information from the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia on Benign Ethnic Neutropenia. This page from the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia indicates why a person’s race may be important to complete a diagnosis, especially when it comes to conditions related to genetic variants such as Benign Ethnic Neutropenia. Read the article in its entirety.


Victorian Department of Health advisory from Office of the Chief Health Officer regarding unregulated traditional medicines. This advisory, released in early July contains three key messages: 1) Unregulated complementary medicines, such as some traditional folk medicines imported from overseas, may not be manufactured to the same quality and standard as regulated medicines and may pose risks to health. 2) There have been recent reports of contamination of some traditional medicines (e.g. Ayurvedic medicines, and some traditional Burmese medicines). 3)  Asking clients about their use of traditional medicines may provide the opportunity to also discuss the potential risks of using unregulated traditional medicines. Download the advisory.

Teeth Tales Project Update. Teeth Tales is a research project led by The University of Melbourne and Merri Community Health Services in partnership with Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) and others. The June issue of the Teeth Tales Newsletter focuses on developments in this research, including the recruitment of 450 families of Lebanese, Iraqi and Pakistani backgrounds. Download the newsletter.


Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health launch new newsletter – the WRAP. Honouring the contribution of immigrant and refugee women, this monthly newsletter provides information on health, language and culture. In the September edition you will find an interview with bilingual health educator Elizabeth Mazeyko. To sign up, or view past editions of the WRAP visit this link.


Erratum - in last month's e-bulletin many subscribers were unable to access the Promoting Good Food for New Arrivals online training package. The correct link to this resource is:


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Erminia Colucci, Josef Szwarc, Harry Minas, Georgia Paxton and Carmel Guerra (2012). The utilisation of mental health services by children and young people from a refugee background: a systematic literature review. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health. DOI:10.1080/17542863.2012.713371.


Muhammad Mohd Abd Rahman, Penelope Bryant, Des Guppy, Jim Buttery, David Burgner (2012). Intermittent fever, splenomegaly and eosinophilia in a recently resettled African refugee. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2012.02523.x;jsessionid=212E1EE844BFE17663F65DF295F0BD24.d02t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false