Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Cultural experiences of student and new-graduate dietitians in the Gomeroi gaaynggal ArtsHealth program: a quality assurance project

Kym Rae A B C D F , Emma Bohringer B , Amy Ashman A E , Leanne Brown B and Clare Collins E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Gomeroi gaaynggal Centre, University of Newcastle, Faculty of Health and Medicine, 2/1 Hinkler Street, Tamworth, NSW 2340, Australia.

B University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Tamworth, NSW 2340, Australia.

C Mothers and Babies Research Centre, University of Newcastle, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Hunter Medical Research Institute, New Lambton, NSW 2305, Australia.

D Priority Research Centre in Reproduction, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

E Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle and School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Hunter Building, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: kym.rae@newcastle.edu.au

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 27(2) 162-166 https://doi.org/10.1071/HE15028
Submitted: 29 April 2015  Accepted: 16 December 2015   Published: 20 April 2016

Abstract

Issue addressed: Undergraduate dietetic students are required to demonstrate cultural awareness and culturally respectful communication to meet national competencies, but exposure to practical experiences may be limited. The Gomeroi gaaynggal ArtsHealth Centre was established in 2009 after community consultation with the Indigenous community in Tamworth, New South Wales. The Centre provides a safe and welcoming space where women can create art while discussing health issues with visiting health professionals and students. The present study aimed to evaluate the cultural experiences of student and new-graduate dietitians visiting an Aboriginal ArtsHealth centre through a quality assurance project.

Methods: Six student and new-graduate dietitians were invited to provide feedback on their experiences for this report. A generic inductive approach was used for qualitative data analysis.

Results: Key qualitative themes of ‘building rapport’ and ‘developing cultural understanding’ were identified. Four of the participants interviewed felt they gained a deeper understanding of the context around health disparity for Indigenous Australians through their experiences. Key ways to build rapport with community members were identified.

Conclusions: Results suggest that first-hand experiences working in an Aboriginal ArtsHealth centre are effective in building cultural competency skills for student and new-graduate dietitians. These experiences could be better supported through improved preparation for the cultural setting, and ongoing monitoring of participant experiences is recommended.

So what?: The authors encourage undergraduate dietetic programs and students to seek out opportunities for further development of cultural awareness through increased practical experiences working with Indigenous communities.

Key words: Aboriginal, cultural competency, dietetics, Indigenous, nutrition.


References

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