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Injury Prevention Summit 2021: Through the looking glass: Success factors for injury prevention and safety promotion in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities session recap.

This Injury Prevention Summit session provided attendees with the opportunity to peak into the looking glass of Deborah Pyatt; an engaging facilitator with over three decades of experience working with individuals from different cultures. In return, attendees were rewarded a reflection of Deborah’s extensive experience, knowledge, and learnings from working collaboratively with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities throughout her career.

WA is home to a widely culturally diverse population, with each culturally and linguistically diverse community sharing their own unique identity and experiences. A key theme of ‘there’s no one size fits all approach’ when working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities intertwined this session, which was supported with Deborah’s content and participant discussions. Here are some of our key learnings from this session…

Cross-cultural communication isn’t just verbal communication.

Adequate cross-cultural communication is vital to enabling Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities to live healthy lives. We use verbal communication so widely that the significant role of non-verbal communication often slips our mind. In some cultures, eye contact and body language can go a long way in communication. A supportive environment with visual cues that indicate that your workplace or service is multicultural can also be effective in welcoming clients into a culturally safe setting. These visual cues could be cultural flags, art, translated resources, or even culturally diverse staff.

Challenge your unconscious biases and build your cultural competence.

As health professionals, we need to build our capacity to recognise and address personal biases. It’s important for us to be aware of situations that make us feel uncomfortable, question ourselves, and take responsibility to learn and develop our cultural competence. Cultural competence is genuinely present when we can unconsciously hold culture in high regard and use this to inform and guide our work.

Do you know where you sit on the Cultural Competence Continuum? We encourage you to have a look for yourself and reflect on your assumptions and behaviours in the professional setting.

Do you allow your target group to have a real presence and role in the design and application of your programs? Do you perhaps recognise cultural differences, but rely on the guidance of a professional more experienced in working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities? The Cultural Competence Continuum can be a valuable tool in identifying areas in which you can develop further and make positive changes.

Always, always keep cultural factors in mind.

Have you heard of the Iceberg Concept of Culture? It’s a clear visual concept that was explored during this session. The Iceberg Concept of Culture highlights the handful of cultural factors at the tip of the iceberg that are primarily in awareness across the general population, in contrast to the much larger group of cultural factors underneath the water that are generally out of awareness.

Think, being aware of the differences in cooking and clothing across cultures versus being aware of the differences in body language, notions of leadership, and attitudes towards elders across cultures. If you’re not taking these below-surface level cultural factors into consideration, there’s no better time than now to start! The Hofstede Dimension of Culture is another great model that was introduced to us by Deborah, which captures the breadth of culture well.

Building our cultural competence and engaging effectively with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities in WA is the first step to reducing injury among these groups. Watch this space for more cultural-related training from Injury Matters!