The future of multiculturalism and health

Dr Ruth De Souza

Dr Ruth De Souza

The School of Nursing and Midwifery brought current and future thought leaders together in a recent collaboration with the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH).

The seminar, A lot can happen in 21 years in culture, ethnicity & heath!, explored how culture, ethnicity and multiculturalism issues in Australia have changed since 1994, what they indicate for the future of culture and multiculturalism, and the kinds of responses needed in business, policy, health, education, social services to address them.

Introduced by comedian Nazeem Hussein, and MCd by Dr Ruth De Souza of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, the event aimed to provoke innovative thinking about changing demographics, an aging and diverse workforce, and the impact of new technologies on the health and wellbeing of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

The speakers included:

  • Professor Lynette Russell, Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow (2011-2016) at Monash University and recent visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford;
  • Professor Nikos Papastergiadis, Director of the Research Unit in Public Cultures and Professor at the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne; and
  • Padmini Sebastian, who is responsible for leading the award winning Immigration Museum.

The youth leaders who responded were: 

  • Amena Ziard, a Saudi-born Filipino-Sri Lankan currently completing a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at Monash;
  • Sukhdeep Singh a.k.a L-FRESH The LION, who is a hip-hop artist and works as the Youth Empowerment Coordinator at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre; and  
  • Timmah Ball, who works across urban planning and community arts disciplines.

The CEH has contributed to the many gains in health of people CALD backgrounds in its 21 years. The Centre’s programs have enhanced the wellbeing of communities and the capacity of organisations to support them. However, health and social inequality remains an enduring feature of Australian society.

Event organiser Dr De Souza was assisted by Frances Nolan, Anni Tillack–Benton and the CEH team. Dr De Souza is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science and holds a joint appointment at the CEH as Stream Leader, Research, Policy and Evaluation. 

This innovative partnership was announced by Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Robin Scott at the launch of the joint appointment in May 2015. For more information on future CEH and School of Nursing and Midwifery collaborations, contact Dr Ruth De Souza on