e-Bulletin May 2011

News and Events

1. Network activity highlight – Asylum seeker fact sheet for Victorian health services.There have been recent changes to the arrangements for many asylum seekers living in Australia. The Victorian Refugee Health Network in consultation with asylum seeker agencies, health providers and government have developed a fact sheet to provide health services with clarity around asylum seekers’ accommodation and entitlements. The fact sheet also aims to provide relevant resources and contact details of agencies that work with asylum seekers.

2. ATTENTION: Rural Health Service Providers. The Victorian Refugee Health Network Rural Services Survey is now open. We value your feedback about refugee health service provision and are interested in the unique support needs of rural services. The survey has 20 questions and should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Rural health providers.

3. Health West Partnership Refugee Health Services Coordination Forum. The purpose of this forum is to celebrate the successes in refugee health service coordination work, raise awareness of and update the Refugee Care Pathway, identify further opportunities for action in priority areas and consider key advocacy opportunities and steps forward. The forum is on Tuesday 28 June from 9:30am – 3:30pm at Wyndham Leisure & Events Centre. RSVP by Monday 20 June, registration is essential as places are limited.

4. Sprectrum Migrant Resource Centre & the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House) are collocated in a NEW Sunshine office. Spectrum MRC and Foundation House will now have teams located in a new office at 161 Harvester Road in Sunshine. The office was launched on Wednesday 18 May by Senator the Honorable Kate Lundy Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration & Multicultural Affairs.  

5. Refugee Week: 19 – 25 June 2011. The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) works with agencies around Australia to coordinate Refugee Week, Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.

Professional Development

6. Victorian Refugee Health Network GP consultation. VRHN is interested in talking with GPs about current practice issues related to working with people from refugee backgrounds.  A consultation will be held on Thursday 16 June, 6pm-7pm at Foundation House, 6 Gardiner Street, Brunswick (preceeding the Refugee Health Series).  For further information or to RSVP contact Philippa Duell-Piening email: or Ph. 03 9389 8909

7. Refugee Health Series: for GPs, Refugee Health Nurses, practice nurses and interested practice managers.  Dr Joanne Gardiner will facilitate a discussion on the “Refugee journey in Australia – winning the bureaucratic battle – saving time and teeth gnashing with social problems.” This is the second of five sessions to be offered in 2011.  Thursday 16 June, 7.15 – 9.15 pm (light meal from 6.45pm).  At Foundation House, 6 Gardiner St, Brunswick. Registration is essential as places are limited.


8. Multicultural Mental Health e-Bulletin. The Multicultural Mental Health Australia e-Bulletin provides information about mental health issues in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, as well as an overview of events and news in the mental health sector. If you would like to subscribe, contribute or make an enquiry, please email

Research / Reports

9. Correa-Velaz, I. & Ryan, J. (2011). Developing a best practice model of refugee maternity care, Women and Birth, in press. About one third of refugee and humanitarian entrants to Australia are women aged 12-44 years. The findings of this report point towards the need for a model of refugee maternity care that comprises continuity of carer, quality interpreter services, educational strategies for both women and health care professionals, and the provision of psychosocial support to women from refugee backgrounds.

10. Matthews, B. (2011). Female genital mutilation: Australian law, policy and practical challenges for doctors, Medical Journal of Australia, 194 (3): 139-141.This paper highlights that due to increasing numbers of people arriving and settling in Australia from African nations in which female genital mutilation (FGM) is customary, demand for FGM in Australia is present and may be increasing. The author assert that the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) policy is sound and medical practitioners should not administer FGM in any form. Matthews suggests development of an evidence base regarding need for post-FGM treatment and increased knowledge about strategies adopted in African nations to abolish FGM may assist in refining educational and supportive efforts.

10. Mollica, R. F. (2011). Medical best practices for the treatment of torture survivors, Torture, 21 (1) 8 – 17. This article brings together medical practice research for torture survivors covering specialised clinics, medical assessment and screening, and a range of medical interventions.