Breaking down communication barriers between health professionals and Indigenous people (teaching resources)

An innovative Indigenous online teaching resource launched on 4 August will help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through improving communication between health professionals and Indigenous people.

The Byalawa project comprises a website and a set of six online videos designed to assist health sciences students across a range of disciplines learn to effectively communicate with Indigenous patients and clients. Health professionals such as lead researcher Dr Tricia McCabe, from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Sydney University, have long known that cultural misunderstandings can be a barrier to communication. Factors that can limit effective communication between Aboriginal patients and healthcare workers include a lack of patient control over language, timing, content and circumstances of the interactions; and most importantly for this project, a lack of staff training in intercultural communication. To create the videos Dr McCabe conducted qualitative research through focus groups with Aboriginal people.

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