A needs assessment in February 2011 in the form of an online survey with refugee health professionals and public dental services located in the top 10 settlement LGA’s for newly arrived communities showed that oral health services are engaged in a range of practices in working with refugee and asylum seeker clients. Respondents of the survey reported needing various kinds of support, which included greater knowledge amongst oral health services staff regarding the refugee experience and oral health practices of refugees, further cultural competency training for oral health staff and clinicians, and access to more translated and pictorial oral health promotion material. See Progress Report.
As a result, the Refugee Oral Health Sector Capacity Building Project had designed, implemented and evaluated a Targeted Education Program (TEP) that aimed at supporting oral health staff and clinicians working in dense refugee and asylum seeker settlement areas.
With the advice from the Project Advisory Group, a 3-day program for public oral health services was developed using a ‘whole-of-service’ approach and brought to light the importance of all the elements of a good practice dental service, involving both administrative and clinical staff, addressing ways to improve service access and delivery, understanding some refugee experiences and their competing demands while settling in Australia, other health and social risks effecting clients and thus adherence to dental treatment, and negotiating across cultures for improved oral health outcome.
A mix of didactic, observational and experiential learning was used. Many reflective exercises offered an opportunity for participants to apply their learning with the aim that materials covered are use in every day practice.
The Refugee Oral Health Targeted Education Program (WRHC) was first piloted with Western Region Health Centre’s Oral Health Program and was monitored by a series of a semi-structured questionnaire, asking questions about the process and impact of the learning and professional development program. The surveys have been collected from all participants prior to and immediately after the program.
A third collection of responses is due 3 months following the targeted education program and will be analysed and evaluated against our goals of providing a useful and sustainable learning and professional development series with oral health services working with refugees, asylum seekers, and other clients who may have had experiences of torture or trauma.
To learn more about the overall project, go to:
- Refugee Oral Health Sector Capacity Building Project Brief
- Final Report (Feb 2013)
- Final Report Appendices (Feb 2013)
For other learning & professional development opportunities, go to:
Dental Health Services Victoria\Continuing Professional Development Program