victorian refugee health network

~ April 2018 e-Bulletin ~

Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide – website now live!

We are excited to announce that the Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide website is now live at

The national Guide is a resource to support doctors, nurses and other primary care providers to deliver comprehensive, evidence informed health care for people from refugee backgrounds including people seeking asylum.  The Guide draws on the Recommendations for comprehensive post-arrival health assessment for people from refugee-like backgrounds (ASID & RHeaNA, 2016) and good practice approaches from practitioners working with people from refugee backgrounds. It contains links to resources and state referral information that has been compiled by local services.

The Guide has been prepared by the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Trauma (Foundation House) in collaboration with general practitioners, refugee health nurses, practice nurses, specialists, Primary Health Networks and many others. Foundation House are interested in hearing your feedback about the new website. You can provide feedback by emailing

The website and accompanying hard copy resource will be launched mid-year. 

The Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide received funding from the Australian Government.

New paediatric Refugee Health Fellows

Welcome to the new paediatric refugee health fellows, Dr Yoko Asakawa, Dr Dan Mason and Dr Ingrid Laemmle-Ruff at the Royal Children's Hospital.  The new fellows can be contacted through Royal Children’s Hospital switchboard (03) 9345 5522, pager 7412 or by email:

More information about the refugee health fellow program and contact details for all of the Victorian Refugee Health Fellows

Ucan2 launches new promotional videos

The Ucan2 program supports the social inclusion of recently arrived young people from refugee backgrounds, aged 16-25. Ucan2 provides access to and engagement in education, training and employment pathways, mental health and wellbeing support, and social networks and connections.
Ucan2 was developed and is delivered through a collaborative partnership between Foundation House, Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and Australian Multicultural Education Services (AMES). The program runs for 16 consecutive weeks, one day per week, in an education setting delivering on-arrival English language programs. The videos outline the impact of the Ucan2 program on young people from refugee background and key partners, hearing directly from them about their experiences.
View the videos and read more about Ucan2

Changes to Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) for people seeking asylum

A new SRSS model will commence from the 1 May 2017. Over the coming months SRSS recipients will be notified about how this may impact them. SRSS providers have received the Operational Procedure Manual however there is no official information from the Department of Home Affairs for SRSS recipients or the broader sector. Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has produced information to help people understand the changes to SRSS. Please note that this information is only guidance and each client’s situation and access to SRSS may be different.

From 20 June 2018 there will be a reduction in SRSS providers, with Red Cross no longer funded to provide SRSS. Red Cross clients are being transitioned across to the two remaining SRSS providers, Life Without Barriers and AMES Australia.

Red Cross has been delivering SRSS and preceding contracts for over 25 years. They have been an active part of the Victorian Refugee Health Network providing advice about access to health services for people seeking asylum. We have valued their contribution enormously. 

Health information transfer for new arrivals (HAPlite) – update

The Victorian Refugee Health Network has written to the Department of Social Services requesting an extension of the interim health report process under the humanitarian settlement program until 30 June 2018. Further information about the interim arrangements

Victorian health care providers that undertake post arrival health assessments for humanitarian entrants have been engaging with the Department of Home Affairs to gain access to the HAPlite health information system. The HAPlite system will become available from 1 May 2018. Nonetheless, it remains unclear as to whether general practices who are not affiliated with community health services will be able to access HAPlite. The Network is seeking clarification about access to HAPlite for general practices.

The Network is also working with the Department of Home Affairs to arrange a training webinar for all new HAPlite users.

If you would like to discuss the implementation of the HAPlite system please contact Philippa Duell-Piening 

New services at enliven to promote health literate organisations

By Mitchell Bowden

Did you know?

60% of all Australian adults have low health literacy and numeracy skills. This impacts how people seek out, understand and use information to make decisions about their health and wellbeing.

enliven has a suite of services available to assist organisations to ensure their services are easy to find, simple to navigate, and materials are clear to understand.

1. Developing easy English material
enliven can help turn your material into easy English, to make it easier for all community members to understand. This may be a brochure, flyer, survey, consent form, website content or other materials.

2. Establishing health literate environments
enliven can help you identify how your organisation or physical workplace can be more health literate, including the reception area, meeting spaces and consulting rooms.

3. Creating a culture of collective responsibility
Health literacy is everyone’s responsibility. enliven can tailor training and development packages to your organisation’s needs – this may include training frontline staff in effective communication, or helping get organisational investment from management.

Fees are charged for services and enliven members are offered a discount.  To find out more contact enliven on (03) 9791 1768

DPV Health

Plenty Valley Community Health (PVCH) and Dianella Health have merged and are now known as DPV Health. All Dianella and PVCH employees will now have email addresses ending in  Emails sent to the old email addresses will be forwarded to the new address during transition.  Visit the new DPV Health website for more information. 

Resources and reports

Youth arrivals to Victoria – new factsheet and infographic
Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) 
CMY’s latest infographic and factsheet provides information for services and workers, as well as those developing and planning future programs for young Victorians to understand how this population group are changing. This also provides communities with greater insight into who their newest members are.

Development and validation of a mental health screening tool for asylum-seekers and refugees: the STAR-MH

Debbie Hocking, Serafino G. Mancuso and Suresh Sundram

This paper outlines a brief, sensitive screening tool with robust psychometric properties that is easy to administer at the agency of first presentation. The STAR-MH has been developed to facilitate mental health referrals for people seeking asylum and newly arrived people from refugee backgrounds.

Integration of refugees into routine primary care in NSW, Australia

Mark Harris, Public Health Research and Practice
This article recommends greater collaboration between primary care health services and specialist refugee health services in order for people from refugee backgrounds to receive the best possible care.

Updated bowel cancer screening translations

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, Department of Health
Translated resources have now been updated to include the latest FOBT test kit information. Languages include Assyrian, Hazaraghi, Nepalese, and Persian (Farsi).

Culturally and linguistically diverse young people and digital citizenship: a pilot study
Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY)
This report explores how culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) young people (16 to 25 years old) in Victoria use digital and mobile technologies to participate in social, economic, political, and cultural domains of citizenship.

Preventing sexual violence against young women from African backgrounds
Australian Institute of Criminology
This study explored how young women from African refugee and migrant backgrounds understand and experience sexual coercion and violence. Data was gathered from young women from African backgrounds and a wide range of agencies in Western Australia and South Australia, to better understand the extent of their awareness of, and concern about, sexual coercion and assault and to document how agencies respond to these issues.

Training and events

Free training for NDIS providers or disability agencies who are considering registering with the NDIS

Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH) 

To improve your agency’s capacity for supporting CALD clients and to discuss how CEH can help your agency engage with CALD communities under the NDIS, contact: Sophie Dutertre via email or phone: (03) 9418 99 11. 


Understanding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) workshop for interpreters of languages from Burma/Myanmar

Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH)

This FREE workshop will take participants through NDIS language and concepts and give them the opportunity to translate these into their own language in a way that they feel is most accurate. We will also discuss cultural understandings of disability. 

Participants will receive a certificate from CEH and will be able to apply for 10 Professional Development points from NAATI.

Date: 27 April 2018, 3.30 - 5.30pm

Venue: RMIT University, Building 080. Level 05. Room 011

More info and registrations


How culture influences dementia: implications for care
National Ageing Research Institute
This interactive workshop will include how to communicate with CALD families about dementia; how to negotiate different understandings of care; how to manage cultural conflict.
Date: 10 May 2018, 9.00am – 1.00pm
Cost: $250
More info and registrations

Working with Uncertainty
Foundation House
This workshop will explore the psychosocial realities of living with long-term uncertainty for people from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds.
Date:  10 May 2018, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $250
More info and registrations

Working with Families from Refugee Backgrounds
Foundation House

This seminar will explore how services and professionals can get to know the histories and needs of families from refugee backgrounds. It will consider the range of themes that exist when clients and services encounter each other and how the voices of children and families can be heard.
Date: 16 May 2018, 5.00pm – 8.00pm
Cost: $120
More info and registrations

Engaging CALD communities in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) - eastern Melbourne

The Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH) and the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) are running a FREE training and networking session for disability service providers in inner and outer eastern Melbourne to increase their ability to reach and engage with CALD communities.

Date: 23 May 2018, 9.30 - 12.30pm

More info and registrations


Building networks to support people with a disability from CALD communities - eastern Melbourne

CEH and ECCV are running this event for disability service providers and ethnic and multicultural organisations in the east to share knowledge about their services, build networks and establish partnerships to ensure greater choice and control for CALD NDIS participants.

Date: 23 May 2018, 12.30 - 2.30pm

More info and registrations


Incidental Counselling Skills

Foundation House
This two day workshop will provide an approach to working with people from refugee backgrounds in a range of settings. Participants will gain incidental counselling and other skills for responding to difficult situations.
Date:  Thurs 24 and Fri 25 May 2018, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $380
More info and registrations

Sustaining Practice and Ourselves in Contexts of Injustice
Foundation House

This one-day workshop provides those working in contexts of injustice with a space to reflect on the impact of their work, and ways of sustaining themselves. The workshop will review and critique concepts related to stress and burnout, and explore contextual factors impacting on worker well-being.
Date:  June 7, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $250
More info and registrations


Call for abstracts - Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference

Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT)
FASSTT invites abstracts for the 2019 Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference. The theme is Healing in Exile – Current and Future Challenges.
Date: 27-29 March, 2019
Venue: Brisbane
More information or to submit an abstract 


About us

The Victorian Refugee Health Network brings together health, settlement and community services to be more accessible and responsive to the needs of people from refugee backgrounds, including people seeking asylum. The eBulletin provides a regular forum to share news, resources and information to support practitioners and services in providing health care to people from refugee backgrounds.