CCCA to improve Indigenous health services with cultural competency training for NSW GPs and nurses

The Centre for Cultural Competence Australia (CCCA) will provide new online Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency training to health professionals in New South Wales. Initially, 550 employees from the NSW General Practice Network will be trained in cultural competency, in order to improve the provision of health services for Indigenous communities throughout the state.

Founded by Indigenous Research and Development professionals, Bronwyn Lumby and Dr Terri Farrelly in May 2010, CCCA is the only provider of accredited, competency based online Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cultural training courses. Its goal is to close the gap through education by building the cultural competence of professionals across all industries to ensure effective service provision, a culturally appropriate workplace, and reduced racism.

CCCA is currently working with organisations from a range of sectors such a Government, Sport and Corporate Australia to build Cultural Competence. In the next 12 months 100,000 professionals are earmarked to complete the training, including staff at the Department for Health and Ageing, the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care, the Benevolent Society and the GP NSW equivalent in other states.

“Our online training courses are designed for organisations from any industry, who like General Practice NSW, want to increase Indigenous access to their services, or increase Indigenous employment within their staff”, said Bronwyn Lumby, CCCA founder and director.

“Despite a huge amount of good will around ‘closing the gap’, many organisations are unaware of the practical steps they can take. CCCA training courses provide a tangible solution to these issues that can be readily implemented, whilst driving long-term positive change,” she finished.

CCCA’s new online training service is the very first of its kind and has been accredited by TAFE, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Royal College of Nursing Australia (RCNA), The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and The Australian Psychological Society in advance of its commercial availability in the health sector. CCCA’s course has been acknowledged by General Practice NSW as a prerequisite for face-to-face local community engagement.

Indigenous Australians who comprise 2.4 per cent of the Australian population are the country’s most disadvantaged group. Studies have shown that while this group suffers increased exposure to the risk factors associated with ill health, they are one third less likely to receive appropriate medical care*.

The investment by General Practice NSW underscores the organisation’s commitment to building cultural competency within the health professional community in New South Wales.

Speaking of the new training program, Jan Newland, CEO of General Practice NSW, said, “It is unacceptable that Indigenous patients often have to wait longer for health services and are less likely to receive the medical care they need. To help overcome this barrier, our health professionals must be able to demonstrate a strong and competent working knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander history and culture to ensure effective service provision.”

“Our partnership with the CCCA represents a significant step towards creating a culturally competent health professional workforce in NSW. The new online training service provides us with a highly flexible and cost effective program that vitally delivers real outcomes that can be applied to day-to-day health service provision.”

CCCA’s courses have been developed in response to community feedback, highlighting the need for individuals working within Indigenous communities to demonstrate ‘cultural competence’ in the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Evidence shows the 'cultural awareness' model is ineffective and fails to produce change in behaviour. With a range of guaranteed learning outcomes, the online competency training is an essential first step on a structured learning pathway towards cultural competence.

If you would like to know more about the practical steps to take in working towards ‘closing the gap’, including CCCA’s fully accredited, online cultural competency training courses visit -

* Cunningham, J. 2002, ‘Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures among Australian Hospital Patients Indentified as Indigenous,’ Medical Journal of Australia, vol.176, no. 2, pp. 58-62.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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