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401082 Cultural And Social Diversity In Health Care

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401082 Cultural And Social Diversity In Health Care

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401082 Cultural And Social Diversity In Health Care

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Course Code: 401082
University: Western Sydney University is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia


This unit encourages students to investigate and discuss the concepts of health and illness in the context of cultural and social diversity. The unit promotes the attainment of critical knowledge and core principles necessary for students to become holistic, culturally and socially sensitive and appropriately adaptable when meeting the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, other marginalised and vulnerable groups including refugees and those from LGBTI community, and people from other diverse cultural and social backgrounds. A case study approach provides a framework for students to explore the impact of different attitude and value systems relating to the health of peoples in Australia.
1 Discuss social determinants of health among culturally and socially diverse communities
2 Critically reflect on own values and attitudes when working in culturally and socially diverse communities
3 Integrate knowledge of culture, ethnicity and diversity into the provision of health care for a multicultural society
4 Describe health related risk factors for people from diverse cultural groups
5 Critically analyse the impact of current and historical events, health care policies and service provision on thehealth of Australia’s culturally diverse communities, particularly on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
6 Discuss the importance of culturally and socially appropriate health care for individuals in a diverse community.


Cultural and Social Diversity in Health Care
The varied cultures of different groups of people determine the thinking of the people in relation to illness, health and health care providers. They also interact with the environment, politics and the economy in dissimilar ways thus affecting health differently. Additionally, individual habits and behaviors of people from unlike communal groups have an influence on their health and health provision (Blank et al., 2017). This paper if focused on defining the social and cultural determinants of health and health care among:

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Refugees in Australia

Case Study 1
Refugees in Australia
Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health are the circumstances in which people live, grow, work and age including the systems established to deal with ailment. The relationship between working and living surroundings and health outcomes of an individual has led to a renewed appreciation of the sensitivity of human health to the social environment. The social environment is made up of factors such as income, conditions of employment, education, social support and power which make up the social determinants of a person’s health. Due to their potency and underlying impacts, these aspects can undermine or reinforce the health of communities and individuals (Lukaszyk et al., 2016). The key social determinants of health among the refugees include:
Housing: secure, affordable and safe accommodation is associated with better individual health. This in turn affects people’s social lives comprising of their relationships with their families and other people in the community as well as their participation in work and communal activities. The gradient in the relationship between housing and health indicates that as the probability of living in precarious housing conditions increases, so does one’s health problems. In this case housing is a valid social determinant of the refugees’ health. In many countries of the world, Australia included, refugees are not particularly housed in the best of conditions. This may lead to worsening of their health as opposed to other people housed in better conditions (Mallett et al., 2011)
Residential environment: the residential environment influence the shared common resources, protection and behavior. Neighborhoods and groups that ensure accessibility to basic amenities are more cohesive in nature which promotes psychological and physical wellbeing of the people. This is not always the case among the refugees who in some cases may act selfishly due to inadequacy of resources(Mallett et al., 2011).
Social Exclusion: this is a somewhat broad concept entailing lack of enough resources, opportunity and social disadvantage in skills and participation (Taylor & Haintz, 2018). Social exclusion may result from factors such as stigmatization, discrimination and unemployment all which can be identified with refugees and asylum seekers at least one point in their lives(Lunn, 2014).Their refugee status limit opportunity and participation causing psychological and health damage due to long-term stress. Additionally, it can harm relationships, cause illness and social isolation and increase the risk of disability (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015).
Health Related Risk Factors
A risk factor refers to any element, attribute or exposure that increases the possibility of one developing an injury or disease. Health and wellness are affected by various factors. However, those that lead to poor health, death, disability or disease are the ones termed as risk factors. For this group of people, health related risk factor are mostly environmental features. Most refugees are provided for housing by the government which limits their option of the environment or the residential region in which they reside. This therefore means that most live in environmentally poor conditions which may affect their health negatively. These health related environmental factors include:
Access to clean water: refugee accessibility to clean and safe water for drinking and carrying out other house chores is limited.
Sanitation: while there is inadequacy of sanitation facilities in many refugee camps, clean and hygienic sanitary amenities is almost unheard of. This can lead to adverse impacts in their health and quick spread of communicable diseases.
Air pollution: residential places for refugees are not necessarily clean as there are all kinds of pollution. Air pollution can lead to airborne diseases such as anthrax.
Other risk factors that could affect the Australian refugees are genetic risk factors which are based on the person’s genes. These are heath risk factors that are beyond an individual’s control and comprise of diseases such as cystic fibrosis which are entirely based on their genetic makeup.
Health issues among the refugees in Australia
The above-mentioned risk factors have resulted to illnesses among the refugees especially the latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) from which many of them suffer. Other health issues include vitamin deficiencies, schistosomiasis and hepatitis B (Masters et al., 2018).
Strategy Put in Place
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has identified thorough understanding of social determinants of health as a major asset in addressing the health related risk factors for the refugees.(AIHW, 2016). Comprehension of these health risks would bring to light the need for clean water and hygienic sanitation for the refugees in Australia.Measuring of these factors could be difficult but offering general support would improve their living standards.
Strategy to Address Deficit
More support to the refugees: the minority groups in Australia are the most socio-economically disadvantaged. Social support and unconditional acceptance of them with their varied cultures would be a huge step towards making a better Australia. If they are supported financially for example by providing more job opportunities to them they would be able to make better livelihoods for themselves and end up benefiting Australia as a whole through increased national income (Croston & Pedersen, 2013).
Case Study 2
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
The social determinants of health of the indigenous Australians include:
Early life: the foundations of a healthy human system in adulthood are laid during one’s childhood. The aspects of early childhood development such as emotional, physical, language or cognitive factors influence the child’s learning, school performance as well as societal participation, involvement in economic activities, health and citizenry later in life (CSDH, 2008). Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to be perform more poorly in school as opposed to their fortunate counterparts. This creates a hindrance to obtain a good job opportunity in future which affects one’s income, health literacy and care thus diminishing their physical wellbeing. There is also transmission of the disadvantage from one generation to the next which can adversely affect the performance of the indigenous people even without the inconveniences of changing homes (Marmot et al., 2008). Good early childhood leads tohealthy adults especially if well invested with a balanced diet and sufficient physical activity which minimizes the likelihood of onset of chronic diseases in future.
Socioeconomic position: Generally, individuals from poor economic and social circumstances are more susceptible to illness, disease and poor health than the more advantaged ones.Socioeconomic position is defined by such facets as education, occupation and income. Education influences health in that the person secures a well-paying job, obtains better housing conditions and is able to make sound health decisions. Higher income increases one’s affordability of goods and services that offer health benefits.
Social Capital: this describes the advantages derived from the bonds and connections made among people in the community. The extent to which people form close ties with relations, family and friends is associated with lower morbidity, better health and increased life expectancy. Social support can also promote healing thus enhancing physical and emotional wellbeing of the person(Hayes et al., 2008). In addition, the networks and connections made can enable one to secure a good employment opportunity which empowers him or her to cope with material and economic hardships of the contemporary world.
Risk Factors Related to Health
The health related risk factors for the Aboriginal people include:
Behavioral factors: these mostly relate to the actions and lifestyles of people. The Aboriginal Australians are free people as they are in their original home and thus have several options regarding the kind of life they choose to lead. Examples of behavioral influences are unprotected sex, physical inactivity, poor diet, lacking important vaccinations, exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) sun rays, tobacco smoking and too much alcohol.
Demographic risk factors: these relates to the population as a whole. They include age, gender and population aspects such as income and occupation (Demissie et al., 2009). For example as one grows older, they are more susceptible to disease and illness due to a weakened immune system (WHO, 2015).
Psychological risk elements: these maybe influenced by a combination of other factors, for instance, an individual’s lifestyle and genetics. These aspects relate to a person’s biology or body. This category embraces biological issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being obese or overweight and high glucose (blood sugar).
Genetic risk factors:some diseases such as diabetes are a result of a combination between an individual’s genetic makeup and their environmental conditions. Diabetes type 2 (distinct characteristic- high blood sugar) for instance, can be more common among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than the refugees since they have a higher social status and can afford more starch.
Health Issues among the Indigenous Australians
Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer from chronic conditions which encompass complex health issues including mental, disability, genetic disorders and trauma. These embraces cardiovascular diseases, illness such as diabetes and high blood pressure which may be outcomes of unhealthy behavior. Others are conditions that result from non-economic costs such as aged care impacts, loss of independence, stigma and social isolation.
Strategies in Place to Address the Risk Factors
The Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD) is one of the measures employed to evaluate and report the health outcomes of socio-economic groups. Australians disadvantaged in socio-economic terms are a priority in health monitoring. AIHW investigates and finds out the factors causing the inequalities between the various groups (AIHW, 2016).
The Closing the Gap Clearing the House at AIHW has produced numerous reports that indicate social determinants that affect the Australian people. The organization is determined to expand its horizons in this situation to fully understand how the social aspects influence the health of the people. Only by focusing on these social elements can health issues be addressed (Eldredge et al., 2016).
However, the concentration of Australia’s health system is on treatment of disease and illness rather than preventing it. This is a dangerous approach in which many lives can be lost especially those ailing from chronic diseases. In addition, there is a lack of adequate and appropriate data together with analytical constraints which limit the monitoring of social determinants of health in Australia. Variables on ethnicity, culture, language and social support could be inappropriate as they are difficult to measure (Green & Thorogood, 2018).
Possible Strategy to Address Deficit
Behavioral Modification: education on the importance of a healthy life should be a continuous process. This is to equip Australians with the important information and then allow then to make their own decisions and take charge of their own lives. This should be a continuous process to reach out to more people encouraging them to live better and healthier lives (Barer, 2017).
Similarities and Differences of the Two Groups

Genetic health related risk could be similar as they are beyond an individual’s control
Demographic factors relate to aspects such as gender and age, elements that apply to all people
Health issues among the aged of the two groups of people are the same
Strategies to address health risk factors among the two groups revolve around understanding of the causal agents (social determinants of health)


The two groups of people originate from dissimilar regions
They do not share a common culture, values, beliefs and way of life
Even though the aged suffer from similar diseases, the refugees group are more likely to endure more anguish due to unaffordability of the required medicine
Different kinds of illnesses are borne between the two communities in that the indigenous Australians mostly suffer from chronic conditions while the refugees’ ailments are mostly communicable diseases like tuberculosis
Diseases are easily spread from one person to another through the shared goods and services among the refugees while non-communicable diseases from which Australians suffer from are not easily transmitted from one person to another
The children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a better lifestyle than those of the refugees
Indigenous Australians have better living conditions as compared to the refugees in Australia who are housed by the government and share a lot of resources

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016). Australia’s health 2016.Australia’s health series no. 15. Cat. No. AUS 199. Canberra: AIHW.
Barer, M. (2017). Why are some people healthy and others not? Routledge.
Blank, R., Burau, V., &Kuhlmann, E. (2017). Comparative health policy. Macmillan International Higher Education.
Croston, J., & Pedersen, A. (2013). ‘Tell me what I want to hear’: Motivated recall and attributions in media regarding asylum seekers. Australian Journal of Psychology, 65(2), 124-133.
CSDH (Commission on Social Determinants of Health) (2008). Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Geneva: WHO.
Demissie, T., Ali, A., Mekonnen, Y., Haider, J., & Umeta, M. (2009). Demographic and health-related risk factors of subclinical vitamin A deficiency in Ethiopia. Journal of health, population, and nutrition, 27(5), 666.
Eldredge, L. K. B., Markham, C. M., Ruiter, R. A., Kok, G., & Parcel, G. S. (2016). Planning health promotion programs: an intervention mapping approach. John Wiley & Sons.
Green, J., & Thorogood, N. (2018). Qualitative methods for health research. Sage.
Hayes, A., Gray, M.,& Edwards, B.,(2008). Social inclusion—origin, concepts and key themes. Canberra: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 227-237.
Lukaszyk, C., Harvey, L., Sherrington, C., Keay, L., Tiedemann, A., Coombes, J.,& Ivers, R. (2016). Risk factors, incidence, consequences and prevention strategies for falls and fall?injury within older indigenous populations: a systematic review. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 40(6), 564-568.
Lunn, L. M. (2014). The social determinants of refugee health: An integrated perspective. Vanderbilt University.
Mallett, S., Bentley, R., Baker, E., Mason, K., Keys, D., & Kolar, V. (2011). Precarious housing and health inequalities: what are the links? Melbourne: Hanover Welfare Services, University of Melbourne, Melbourne City Mission and Adelaide: University of Adelaide.
Marmot, M., Friel, S., Bell, R., Houweling, T. A., Taylor, S., & Commission on Social Determinants of Health. (2008). closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. The lancet, 372(9650), 1661-1669.
Masters, P. J., Lanfranco, P. J., Sneath, E., Wade, A. J., Huffam, S., Pollard, J., & Friedman, N. (2018). Health issues of refugees attending an infectious disease refugee health clinic in a regional Australian hospital. Australian journal of general practice, 47(5), 305.
Taylor, J., & Haintz, G. L. (2018). Influence of the social determinants of health on access to healthcare services among refugees in Australia. Australian journal of primary health, 24(1), 14-28.
World Health Organization. (2015). World report on ageing and health. World Health Organization.

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