Improving the health and wellbeing of migrant and refugee women and communities by consolidating cross-sector knowledge and expertise, fostering good policy and culturally competent practice.

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Australia is an ethnically diverse nation

with over 28 per cent of the population having been born overseas. Our growing cultural and linguistic diversity has benefited Australia enormously both economically and socially, and will continue to do so into the future. Our changing demographics require strategic forethought to ensure that critical systems, such as health care, are supported in enabling equitable access, experience and outcomes for the individuals and communities they work with.

Migration and ethnicity-related factors, as well as refugee experiences, are important social determinants of health. Migrants and refugees are frequently associated with impaired health and poor access to health services and there is evidence of inequalities in both the state of health and the accessibility of health services to these population cohorts. Migrants’ and refugees’ health, and their access to health care, can vary widely between different groups, based on factors such as gender, age, pre-migration experiences, migration status, and other variables.

Women often face greater challenges in accessing health care

and other wellbeing services, and their health care needs are complicated by pre migration experiences. The health status of migrant women is generally high on arrival in Australia, unlike that of refugee women who often arrive in poorer health, yet the average health of many migrant women deteriorates over the initial years of settlement, suggesting that access to care is a key barrier.


Migrant and Refugee Women’s Health Partnership

brings together health professionals and the community to address systemic barriers to access associated with cultural and linguistic diversity. It also seeks to strengthen health-promoting assets in communities, recognising that improvements in the health and health literacy of migrant and refugee women have a direct positive impact on family and community health and wellbeing.

What we do

The Partnership seeks to develop a policy framework and specific strategies

to enhance access to health care for migrants and refugees, with a particular focus on women, and ultimately achieve positive health outcomes for the community.

We apply a strategic and holistic approach, and provide focus on clinicians and health care professionals, and on community and health care consumers.

Our goal is to work collaboratively to enable the implementation of niche good practice models in culturally appropriate care across all health care settings.

The Partnership recognises that migrant and refugee women experience unique cultural barriers to equitable access to health care services. Improving migrant and refugee women’s health and wellbeing experiences and outcomes will require support and empowerment strategies allowing women to increase their health literacy and health system knowledge, and become confident and informed consumers of health care services.

Further, delivering health care services that meet the needs and aspirations of migrant and refugee women cannot take place without clinicians who can provide culturally appropriate, equitable and competent care. This includes the capacity of the workforce to understand the determinants of migrant and refugee women’s health and wellbeing, and to work effectively with women and patients from diverse cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds, and ensuing diverse health and wellbeing perspectives and behaviours.

The Partnership’s objectives include:

  • Identifying good policy and practice that support cultural capability in health care;
  • Promoting cultural consideration in health care and developing recommended standards;
  • Supporting practitioners and health care services through tools and resources;
  • Working collaboratively to enhance targeted communication and outreach in health literacy and health promotion; and
  • Informing broader health and social policy debate, and contributing to evidence development and research.

We seek to consolidate the knowledge and expertise of the field, and reduce fragmentation of effort by promoting coalition building and cooperation among clinicians and health practitioners, community, health care services, and government agencies.


Contact us

We welcome any questions or input from our stakeholders and the broader community. These should be directed to the Secretariat of the Partnership:

Migration Council Australia

Suite 23-34 Level 4,
28 University Ave
Canberra ACT 2601
PO Box 1895
ACT 2600


Phone: 02 6162 0361