victorian refugee health network

~ August 2018 e-Bulletin ~

Photo: Sandra Abid speaking at the General Practice Refugee Health Forum

General Practice Refugee Mental Health Forum

On Saturday 4 August the Victorian Refugee Health Network in partnership with North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network and South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network hosted a one-day forum to assist general practice staff to respond to the mental health needs of people from refugee backgrounds, including people seeking asylum. The day included strategies for effective communication with people from refugee backgrounds; self-care and identifying signs of burn-out; a panel discussion exploring What does good mental healthcare for people from refugee backgrounds look like?, and workshops on approaches to counselling in general practice, asylum seeker mental health, psychiatric aspects of refugee mental healthcare, and child and adolescent mental health. Over 50 people attended the forum, facilitated by experts in the field of refugee mental health.

Introducing Aisleen Glasby, Settlement Health Coordinator

The Victorian Refugee Health Network welcomes Aisleen Glasby to the role of Settlement Health Coordinator. We caught up with Aisleen for the following profile:

What was your background before taking this position?
I have been a registered nurse since 2002 and have my Masters in Public Health (Tropical Medicine). For the past 10 years I’ve been working in international NGOs and remote Aboriginal communities in Australia.  I also have some experience working with people seeking asylum in detention settings in Darwin and Brisbane, as well as working in refugee camps on the Thai/Burma border and in Africa.

Why have you chosen refugee health as a specialty?
I am passionate about refugee health and global health as well as indigienous health. I was looking to return to Australia when the Settlement Health Coordinator role came up – I’ve been in the role for five weeks!

What are your responsibilities as as Settlement Health Coordinator?
I am employed by DPV Health and am colocated at AMES in Dallas. My role as a Settlement Health Coordinator is to support people in their initial settlement who are arriving through the Humanitarian Settlement Program. I support the AMES case managers with early identification of health issues and referrals, as well as undertaking pre-screening of health information available through HAPlite before people arrive. This means we can identify health issues and start linking people to appropriate services upon arrival. We also participate in a range of networks with a focus on settlement processes and challenges in the north, strengthening referral pathways, building community sector capacity and establishing health pathways between a wide network of health and community partnerships.

What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?
I do yoga and enjoy maintaining a reasonably healthy and balanced life. I love being in nature and being able to get to pristine beaches so easily in Australia.

When are you available and how can you be contacted?
I work Tuesday to Friday and can be contacted on or 0437 977 214

A reminder about the importance of catch-up immunisations

Health care providers are reminded to assess the need for catch-up immunisations for all people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum, regardless of age.

No-one who arrives in Australia as a refugee or asylum seeker will arrive fully vaccinated, due to differences between the Australian immunisation schedule and country of origin schedules. Catch-up vaccines are free for this population.


Initial data from the Hume/Whittlesea Refugee Immunisation Project, funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, indicates that of 1,215 humanitarian entrants notified to the project, who had all been in Australia for greater than 12 months, only 19% were up to date with their vaccinations for age – this includes 61% of children aged 0-10 years, 36% of adolescents aged 11-19 years, and .80% of adults aged 20+ years. 


Vaccine preventable diseases are endemic and/or epidemic in many countries that people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds originate from.  This population is likely to have experienced disrupted access to health care, low quality vaccines compromised by cold chain breaches, and a period of mobility that poses a significant barrier to achieving high vaccine coverage and appropriate levels of herd immunity. In addition to public health considerations, there are implications for families’ Centrelink payments and enrolment in early childhood services if children remain un/under immunised in Australia. Read more

Refugee Nurses Australia (RNA) calls on Australian government to reinstate the SRSS scheme for all people seeking asylum

The Steering Committee of Refugee Nurses Australia sent a position statement to (then) Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 30 July 2018 expressing concern at the recent cuts to the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) program. RNA takes the position that these cuts will be detrimental to the health and well-being of those people seeking asylum in the Australian community who will be unable to access support, including financial, case management, and torture and trauma counselling support. Read the full letter

RURAL AND REGIONAL NEWS - 'It takes courage'

It Takes Courage is a project of the Communities of Respect and Equality (CoRE) Alliance that has been funded under the Victorian Government’s Community Partnerships for Primary Prevention (CPPP) program. The funding supports Women’s Health Grampians’ Diversity and Inclusion program.

The project has a focus on the prevention of violence against women and aims to achieve this through:

  • empowering local immigrant, refugee and Aboriginal women and their communities,
  • building capacity of culturally diverse communities by delivering innovative workshops with prevention of violence against women messaging for men and women. 

The project includes a weekly workshop where women from many different cultural backgrounds meet to share food, culture, and friendship, gain knowledge in areas such as respectful relationships and gender equality and practice skills such as writing and photography.

The project has produced a book, titled It Takes Courage, which features recipes from participants’ homelands and family traditions, as well as photography, art and stories and messages around prevention of violence against women.
For more information or to order the book


Refugee Health Assessment Template 2018

Victorian Refugee Health Network

The Refugee Health Assessment Template 2018 supports doctors and nurses to complete Refugee Health Assessments (Medicare Item 701, 703, 705, 707) in line with current clinical recommendations. A pdf version of the Template is currently available and templates compatible with Medical Director and Best Practice will be available in the coming months.

Where do I go when...? A community service guide for the northern suburbs of Melbourne

Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health

This booklet was written for newly arrived communities from Syria and Iraq living in the northern suburbs of Melbourne to help them understand and find a range of community services in their area. The booklet is in English and Arabic.

Printed copies are now available. Contact Sophie Dutertre on or (03) 9418 9911


A rapid review of evidence-based information, best practices and lessons learned in addressing the health needs of refugees and migrants: report to the World Health Organisation
This report contains the findings of a series of rapid reviews of English language literature and reports on policies, interventions and practices for addressing the health needs of people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.


Working across cultures in the NDIS - south east

Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) and Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH) are running a free training and networking session for disability service providers in the south-east to enhance their reach and engagement with people with disabilities and their families/carers from diverse backgrounds. The training will run in the morning, and the networking session in the afternoon with lunch included. Participants must register separately for each session.
When: Thursday 13 September 2018, Training Session: 9.30am – 12.30pm, Networking Session: 12.30pm – 3pm
Where: Dandenong Civic Centre, Level 2, 225 Lonsdale Street
Cost: Free
Register for the training session and the networking session


Refugee Health: Working with Men

Foundation House
This one-day workshop addresses the health needs and experiences of men from refugee backgrounds.
The workshop will cover:

  • Identifying and instigating appropriate interventions for common refugee health issues in men;
  • Exploration of wellbeing including mental and sexual health issues;
  • Overview of relevant services for men and referral processes;
  • The impact of trauma and the impact of detention and uncertainty for men of asylum seeker background; and
  • Awareness of gender and cross-cultural communication when working with men from refugee backgrounds.

When: Thursday 20 September, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Where: Foundation House, 4 Gardiner Street, Brunswick
Cost: Free
To register


Cross-Cultural Responsiveness Training - Epping
Brotherhood of St Laurence Multicultural Communities Team  
When: Tuesday 9 October, 9.00am - 1.00pm
Where: Epping Community Services Hub, 713 High St, Epping
Cost: $104.50
To register


Cross Cultural Responsiveness Training – disability focus
Brotherhood of St Laurence Multicultural Communities Team offers specialised half day or full day training programs to build skills and confidence of staff and volunteers working with people living with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, including newly arrived people of migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. The training will be tailored to the learning needs of your team. More information or email


Consultation workshop - Barriers to accessing quality palliative care for under-served populations and people with complex needs.

Australian Healthcare Associates (AHA) are hosting a consultation workshop for service providers (including palliative care services, other health services and support services working with target populations), peak body representatives and academics to explore barriers to accessing quality palliative care, including for culturally and linguistically diverse people and people from refugee backgrounds.
When: Thursday 1 November, 10.30 am – 1:30 pm
Where: Monash Conference Centre, Level 7, 30 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: Free
More information or contact Shae, Greer or Jill at AHA on 1300 788 667 or email

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.