victorian refugee health network

~ March 2016 e-Bulletin ~

Victorian Refugee Health Network

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Photo: Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, Refugee Health Fellow

New Refugee Health Fellow: Dr Kudzai Kanhutu

Can you tell us a bit about your background before taking the position as Refugee Health Fellow at the Royal Melbourne Hospital?
I trained as an infectious diseases specialist at St. Vincents and Prince of Wales Hospitals in Sydney, and at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, and have also spent some time in Wagga Wagga and Dubbo NSW. I have experience working in indigenous health and asylum seeker education. I was born in Zimbabwe and my family is spread across the globe so I've been fortunate enough to travel and experience a wide variety of cultures.


Why did you choose this specialty?
I chose infectious diseases because it rewards curious people and I consider myself one! As well as learning fascinating medical facts you need to keep abreast of global events and it encourages a keen eye for detail.


Did you always have an interest in working in Refugee Health?
Yes, although during my physician training Refugee Health was never spoken of as a career path per se. However, Refugee Health and Infectious diseases are very complementary health areas. It's no surprise that a lot of Refugee Health clinics are filled with ID physicians.  


What are your responsibilities in the Refugee Health Fellow role?
I'm particularly interested in global public health policy and women’s health so my fellow research activities will be aimed at further developing the Refugee Health Program within Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) in those respects. In addition to providing clinical care to patients attending RMH clinics I'm also available to provide education sessions for students, health care providers and other groups seeking to engage with the health needs of the refugee community.


What do you like to do outside of work?
Living in Melbourne we are very spoilt for choice with extracurricular activities. Favourite pastimes are tennis, dancing and beach trips. For the record I am a Richmond tigers supporters (Go Tiges!) I also have a penchant for pop music.


Can you tell us your availability and best contact details?
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email: Phone: +613 9342 7000

New Health Service for People Seeking Asylum

Cabrini is developing an asylum seeker and refugee health hub, with Medicare-ineligible asylum seekers to be given priority access at no charge. The Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub will complement health services offered by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne’s west and Monash Health in the south-eastern suburbs. The Health Hub aims to begin GP clinics and specialist mental health services by the end of May 2016. Eventually Cabrini is hoping to provide chronic disease management, maternal and child health and infectious disease management, complemented with social, emotional and spiritual support. The model of care is based on strong partnerships with public and private hospitals, community health agencies, asylum seeker/refugee services, businesses with similar values and others.

For further details contact Cath Garner, ph (03) 9508 1222 or

Safe Haven Enterprise Visa update

The Victorian government has informed the Federal government that Victoria will opt into the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) Scheme. SHEVs are a temporary protection visa lasting five years, offered to people who intend to work or study in a regional area of Australia. Victoria has agreed in principle but is yet to announce the areas of the state SHEV holders will be able to study or work. Postcodes will be published when available HERE. Find general information on SHEV HERE.

Dr Georgie Paxton inducted into the 2016 Victorian Honour Roll of Women

The Victorian Refugee Health Network congratulates Dr Georgie Paxton on her induction to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, which acknowledges and celebrates the extensive and lasting contributions of women in Victoria at a local, national and international level. Dr Paxton is Head of Immigrant Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, and has worked in refugee health for over 10 years. She is a member of the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD), former Chair of the Victorian Refugee Health Network, and current Chair of the Network’s Immunisation Working Group. Congratulations Georgie!

TIS Multilingual: TIS National in your language

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) has released TIS Multilingual. TIS Multilingual displays translated HTML information in the top ten high-demand languages within three sections of the TIS National website: Non-English speakers, About us and Help and support. TIS Multilingual provides access to translated information about:
• the types of agency clients they can communicate with
• how to access an immediate phone interpreter
• types of interpreting services available
• their role and options during an interpreting appointment
• useful printable resources.
TIS Multilingual can be found by selecting a language from the scrolling list under the ‘non-English speakers’ tab. TIS National is working to introduce content in more languages soon.

Details HERE


Refugee & Asylum Seeker Training - Nhill

A great turnout of 78 service providers attended a one day training in Nhill late last year, on the topic of working with people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.
Over the past four years more than 160 Karen people (from Burma/Myanmar) have settled in Nhill, and the high attendance indicates the commitment in the area to providing appropriate services.
The training, provided jointly by Foundation House and the Refugee Health Nurse Program, consisted of an introduction to the refugee and asylum seeker experience followed up by refugee and asylum seeker health topics.  It was organised by Grampians Partners in Recovery (GPIR) in collaboration with West Wimmera Health Service (WWHS).
Topics included refugee settlement, physical and psychosocial impact of persecution, trauma and forced migration, implications for practice and referral, health literacy and communication skills, health resources and an overview of the physical and mental health conditions which may be prevalent in people from refugee background.
Participants in the training came from a range of professional backgrounds including members of WWHS, dental practitioners, dental nurses, and dental receptionists, Maternal and Child Health Nurses, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Social Workers, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, nursing home staff, and Victoria Police officers. 
“The training has provided us with a great foundation to know more about the issues and difficulties of Refugees and Asylum Seekers and helped to raise awareness among us all,” said Kaye Borgelt, Executive Director of Primary & Preventative Health at West Wimmera Health Service, Nhill.
If you are interested in similar training in your area, please contact Therese Meehan, Foundation House Rural and Regional Co-ordinator HERE
Read a report on the social and economic benefit of the Karen people to Nhill HERE


Webinar: On arrival health assessments for children
Dr Karen Kiang, Refugee Health Fellow at the Royal Children’s Hospital presented a webinar on 4 February  2016 about on-arrival health assessments for children, with a focus on the needs of people fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. This webinar was sponsored by the Victorian Primary Health Network Alliance and the Victorian Refugee Health Network. View the webinar recording HERE


Humanitarian Youth Arrivals to Victoria

Centre for Multicultural Youth

CMY has compiled a set of resources to provide data about young people arriving to Victoria via the Humanitarian Programme in the financial year 2014/15. The resources give a detailed overview of the young people arriving to Victoria, where they are settling on arrival, and comparisons with groups arriving during the previous five years.

Find Fast Facts and the full Report HERE


Forced Marriage in Australia
In late 2015, CMY conducted the forum "I Don't: A Forum Addressing Forced Marriage in Australia". The full report of that forum is now available HERE

Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand has released a Forced Marriage Policy Position Paper to address the issue of forced marriage in Australia. Click HERE to read the paper.


Refuge from our Rhetoric
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)’s Refuge from our Rhetoric event in late 2015 launched research into the language used in the debate around people seeking asylum.
The research, led by communications expert and researcher, Anat Shenker-Osario, asks How do we put forth a compelling narrative about who asylum seekers are, why they come, and what should be done about, to and with them? How do we establish a popular agenda for shared compassion that includes those who’ve arrived only recently?

Reports of the findings are available HERE 


"Life in Australia" podcast
Red Cross

A new podcast is avaible from Red Cross for young people who have arrived in Australia as a refugee or as someone seeking asylum. The podcast is free and available for download on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

Red Cross is now recruiting young people from refugee backgrounds for future podcast episodes. More information can be found in the sidebar of this newsletter.  

More information  HERE


Working together to Improving health literacy in refugee women
Health Issues Centre & Victorian Refugee Health Network
This report documents phase one of a three-part project to understand the health information needs of refugee women and how best to provide this information.
View the report HERE


The health and human rights of children in immigration detention
Australian Human Rights Commission

This report documents the harmful effect of closed immigration detention to the health and mental health of children and young people. Read the report HERE


Stress Management for Interpreters

Monash University
This session examines the impact that the interpreter's work can have on his or her mental health and well-being. It includes presentations from psychologists, counsellors and mindfulness experts that will discuss how to recognise the signs of work-related stress and vicarious trauma, how to deal with stress, and how to avoid becoming negatively affected by the traumatic content frequently raised in interpreting assignments.
Lunch and refreshments are provided. Participants will earn 40 PD points towards revalidation.

Date: Friday 18 March

Venue: Monash University Law Chambers at 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Applications are now open.

Further information is available HERE

Discussion on developments in the delivery of refugee mental health in Australia

Victorian Transcultural Mental Health
Ida Kaplan will discuss the service model used at Foundation House, the implications of the Syrian intake and research she has completed about cognitive assessment of refugee children.

Date: Wednesday 16th March
Time: 3.00pm (sharp)
Venue: VTMH Seminar Room, Bolte Wing, St Vincents Hospital, Fitzroy  Vic  3065

Refreshments will be served following the Seminar

Further information and registrations HERE


Community Care for TB

Peter Doherty Institute
This half-day symposium is part of World TB Day activities. Sessions will focus on both local TB activities and Australian involvement in the region (such as TB in PNG).
Date: 22 March
Time: Morning
Venue: Doherty Institute
Cost: Free
Further information and registrations HERE

Working with CALD & refugee communities in child & family welfare settings
Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Victorian Branch

This full day training workshop will enhance participants’ understanding of working cross culturally with CALD and refugee families within the child and family welfare settings; identify strategies for engaging with CALD and refugee clients (including using interpreters, language and communication considerations); and identify strategies for supporting the cultural needs of CALD and refugee children and young people in out-of-home care.
Date: 11 April 2016
Time: 9:00am to 4.30pm
Venue: AASW Melbourne Office
Cost: AASW Members $140; Non-Members $180; Students $140
Register: HERE


Culturally Competent Practice with Vulnerable Families

VICSEG New Futures
These workshops will explore awareness, skills and knowledge of cultural competence with experienced trainers and cross-cultural facilitators. Practitioners who work with children, young people and families are encouraged to attend.
Date: Various dates throughout 2016

Venue: Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Level 5, 50 Market Street Melbourne
Further information: HERE

Focus on Children and Families - evening seminar
Foundation House 

It can be challenging to think about how to work with a whole family from a refugee or asylum seeking background. Creative interventions, practices and research on ways to engage family members of different ages in conversations that acknowledge past experiences whilst rebuilding connections within families.
Date: Wed 13 April
Time: 5 – 8pm
Venue: Foundation House 4 Gardiner St. Brunswick
Cost: $60
Further information and registrations HERE


Introduction to suicide risk in refugee and asylum seeker populations
Foundation House

This one day workshop offers introductory tools and skills in addressing the risk of suicide in people from refugee backgrounds in those seeking asylum.
Date: Thurs 21 April
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Venue: Foundation House, 4 Gardiner St. Brunswick
Cost: $230
Further information and registrations HERE

Course for Incidental Counsellors - working with young people of refugee background
Foundation House

This two day course provides an approach to working with young people from a refugee and asylum seeker background in a range of settings. Participants will gain incidental counselling and other skills for handling difficult and distressing situations.
Dates: Thurs 28 April and 5 May
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Venue: Foundation House DANDENONG, 155 Foster St. Dandenong
Cost: $360
Further information and registrations HERE


Hepatitis Victoria

Hepatitis Victoria has introduced a new workforce development initiative called HEPReady. There are several courses offered under HEPReady, including online options.
All participants will have access to HEPLink professional network of individuals and organisations responding to viral hepatitis in Victoria.
The introductory course – HEPReady Essentials - is now taking registrations and will cover:
• In their shoes – a lived experience perspective through our HEPSpeak (previously Public Speakers Bureau)
• Understanding liver function and various types of viral hepatitis
• Methods of transmission and progression phases
• Treatment and management
• Privacy and disclosure – legal and ethical requirements
• Latest developments – what you need to know
Dates: April 6 and May 18
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $40 

Register: for HEPReady Essentials HERE  

Details of other courses HERE


Amos, A., 2016, ‘Psychiatry and Australian Asylum’, Australasian Psychiatry, Vol 24:1, pp6-7. 
Bayram, C., Ryan, R., Harrison, C., Gardiner, J., Bailes MJ, 2016, 'Consultations conducted in languages other than English in Australian general practice', Australian Family Physician, Vol 45:1, pp9-13.
Bellamy, K., Ostini, R., Martini, N. Kairuz, T., 2016, ‘Seeking to understand: using generic qualitative research to explore access to medicines and pharmacy services among resettled refugees’, International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, online Feb 2016.  
Day, GE., 2016, ‘Migrant and Refugee Health: Advance Australia Fair?’, Australian Health Review, 2016, Vol 40, pp1-2. 
Essex, R., 2016, 'Torture, healthcare and Australian immigration detention', Journal of Medical Ethics, published online Feb 2016. 
Hanieh, S., Ryan, N., Biggs, BA., 2016, ‘Assessing enteric helminths in refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants’, Microbiology Australia, 2016.
Jabri, S., 2016, ‘The Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Syrian Crisis: Challenges and Recommendations’, International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience, Vol. 17, No.4, pp. 676-677. 
Kartal, D., Kiropoulos, L. 2016, ‘Effects of acculturative stress on PTSD, depressive, and anxiety symptoms among refugees resettled in Australia and Austria’, European Journal of Psychotraumatology, Vol 7.
Rennert-May, E., Hansen, E., Zadeh, T., et al 2016, ‘A Step toward Tuberculosis Elimination in a Low-Incidence Country: Successful Diagnosis and Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in a Refugee Clinic’, Canadian Respiratory, online. 
Sanggaran, JP., Haire, B., Zion, D., 2016, ‘The health care consequences of Australian immigration policies’, PLoS Med, 2016, Vol 30:2.

Taibi, M and Ozolins, U, Community Translation, Bloomsbury, 2016.

About Us

The Victorian Refugee Health Network brings together health, settlement and community services to be more accessible and responsive to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers. The e-Bulletin provides a regular forum to share news and information to support practitioners and services in providing health care to people of a refugee background.