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Cultural competence in diabetes primary care: a study of general practice settings in Western Melbourne

Specific aims

Through focussing on a Division of General Practice (DGP), the aim is to discover what are the inequities in diabetes care in general practice that stem from cultural diversity, the reasons for these inequities, and what can be done to enhance the cultural competence of practitioners to respond.
The objectives are to:

  • Identify the existing inequities in primary care of people with diabetes to do with social and cultural diversity (what’s going on?)
  • Map the (mis)understandings about the causes and self-management of diabetes that are worsened between general practitioner and patients of diverse backgrounds (age, sex and culturally and linguistically diverse background (CALDB) groups) (why is it happening?)
  • Propose a framework for enhancement of culturally competent interventions by general practitioners.  (what can we do about it?)

Potential significance

People living in Western Melbourne face massive inequities in their health.  Many are poor, uneducated, and live in an area that has one of the most diverse cultural and language backgrounds in the country.  What is more, they face one of the lowest GP-to-population ratios in urban Australia.  The resultant inequity creates a vicious cycle of poor quality of life and productivity for people, their families and their communities. 
Primary care programs in Western Melbourne have called for greater ‘cultural competence’ in responding to diabetes. They recognise that health professionals, services, and systems need guidelines to better customise policies, program, and clinical services to diversity. There is a dire need for cultural competence in diabetes prevention and care in Australia.  The proposed project seeks to provide the essential evidence base in order to respond to this call. It will gain an understanding of the inequities faced. It will allow the development of frameworks for the health workforce (not confined to primary care) to deliver culturally competent health promotion and management for people with diabetes or at risk of it.

Armed with this evidence base, primary care systems (general practitioners, nurse practitioners, diabetes educators, community health centres, public health planners) can further the ‘reinvention’ of diabetes care in our culturally diverse settings.

Eisenbruch, M., Chew, D., and Watts, C
$50,000, Diabetes Australia Research Trust

Identifying the priority needs for nutrition information materials to cater for Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Shanthi Thurasingam, Elizabeth Powell (and others), Maurice Eisenbruch

The Centre is providing support to a project involving Diabetes Australia and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA).