Discipline specific examples

Arts (Criminal Justice & Policing, Psychology, Psychiatry)
Business (Business, Law)
Education (General, Higher Education, Information Studies, Mathematics, Public Affairs,
  Science Education, Teacher Education)
Science (General Health, Medical Practioners, Nursing, Occupational & Physical Therapy,
  Paramedics, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Counselling, Social Work,
  Speech Pathology)



Criminal Justice & Policing

Wimshurst, K., E. Marchetti, et al. (2004). Attitudes of criminal justice students to Australian Indigenous people: Does higher education influence student perceptions? Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 15(2), 327-350.

Over the past 10-15 years Australian universities have established degrees for those who wish to work in the criminal justice system in areas such as policing, corrections, and crime prevention. This paper explores the sensitivity of undergraduates to issues of race and diversity. It investigates the beliefs that criminal justice students bring with them to university, their readiness for content that focuses on Aboriginality, and whether their views change in ways over time. The study finds that policing majors are more negative than other criminal justice students and that, in any case, there tends to be little change in attitudes over time for students as a whole. To explain these findings, the paper then looks at the teaching of indigenous issues in Australian criminal justice programs based on a survey of program convenors. The consensus is that pedagogy/curriculum in the area lacks thoroughness and rigour when confronting the complexities of the problem.


American Psychological Association  (2003). Guidelines on multicultural education, training, research, practice, and organizational change for psychologists.  American Psychologist 58(5), 377- 402.

All individuals exist in social, political, historical, and economic contexts, and psychologists are increasingly called upon to understand the influence of these contexts on individuals’ behavior. The “Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists” reflect the continuing evolution of the study of psychology, changes in society at large, and emerging data about the different needs of particular individuals and groups historically marginalized or disenfranchised within and by psychology based on their ethnic/racial heritage and social group identity or membership. These “Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists” reflect knowledge and skills needed for the profession in the midst of dramatic historic sociopolitical changes in U.S. society, as well as needs of new constituencies, markets, and clients.

Carey, M. (2008). Indigenisation, Interdisciplinary and Cultural Competency: Working the Dialogic Space between Indigenous Studies and Other Disciplines at Curtin University. Psychology and Indigenous Australians: Teaching, Practice and Theory conference. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/Resources/tcc/Integrating Australian Indigenous content and pedagogies into psychology education/Workshops and conferences Psychology and Indigenous Australians/2008 Conference Proceedings.pdf

This paper will explore current issues facing the Indigenisation of curriculum process at Curtin University. In so doing, it will focus on two main areas. Firstly, it will explore previous attempts to “Aboriginalise the Curriculum” (1995-1997), and the subsequent critique of this process published by Collard, Walker and Dudgeon (1998). This paper asks whether Cultural Competency addresses the issues raised by these authors. Secondly, in recognition of the fact that Cultural Competency is a paradigm usually incorporated within a discrete discipline, this paper will explore the potential for Cultural Competency to provide a basis for intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogue between faculties. This paper proposes that Cultural Competency provides a productive interstice between Aboriginal studies and other disciplines, and provides a framework whereby the legitimacy and integrity of Indigenous Terms of Reference are protected in the context of other disciplines. In so doing, it has the potential to address the issues raised in previous Indigenisation endeavours.

Dudgeon, P., D. Garvey, et al. (2000). Working with Indigenous Australians: A handbook for psychologists. Perth, WA: Gunada Press, Curtin Indigenous Research Centre, Curtin University of Technology.

A practical guide for psychologists and associated mental health professionals, addresses the practical issues of working in Indigenous settings and with Indigenous people in urban, rural and remote environments. Covers individual, family and community approaches and describes appropriate models of intervention.

Dyck, M. (1996). Cognitive assessment in a multicultural society: Comment on Davidson. Australian Psychologist, 31(1), 66-69.

G. Davidson proposed a multiaxial model of cognitive assessment that could be used to assess indigenous Australians. In this comment, the author does not question whether Davidson's model might be an effective way of gaining important information about a person's cognitive functioning, but does question the appropriateness and the necessity of developing an assessment model specifically for indigenous Australians. He further argues that such a racially specific approach to assessment is based on inappropriate racial stereotyping, a confounding of cultural (categorical) variables with individual differences (continuous) variables, and a misrepresentation of evidence on cultural bias in cognitive abilities tests. In the context of a multicultural society, it is essential to recognise that psychological inferences about an individual must be based on an assessment process that is designed to gain knowledge of the individual as an individual.

Gridley, H., G. Davidson, et al. (2000). The Australian Psychological Society and Australia's Indigenous people: a decade of action. Australian Psychologist, 35(2), 88-91.

This paper highlights the achievements of the past decade, together with the shortcomings and future needs, of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) in addressing its social and professional responsibilities towards Australia's Indigenous peoples. A selective chronology of events and initiatives since the 1988 International Congress in Psychology in Sydney is presented and critically examined. Reference is made to parallel national and international developments by Indigenous peoples in reclaiming direction, control, and appropriate partnership in their own mental health issues. The establishment of the APS Interest Group on Aboriginal Issues, Aboriginal People and Psychology represents one such partnership. While psychology's response to the reflection and reconciliation processes underway in Australian society in recent years might be described as sluggish, the accomplishments of the last decade provide a solid foundation for the development of culturally inclusive systems of education, training, and professional service delivery.

Hagan, R., & H. Hijser (2008). Are the sciences Indigenisable? Of course they are! In: 2nd Annual Psychology and Indigenous Australians: Teaching, Practice and Theory Conference, 14-15 July 2008, Adelaide, Australia.

When embarking on an Indigenising the curriculum project across all faculties, a number of barriers need to be overcome. Some of these are systemic in that such a project is often seen as desirable by university hierarchies, but is rarely backed up by adequate resources to make a serious impact. In other words, mere lip service tends to be paid to Indigenising the curriculum, which manifests itself in the employment of a single Indigenous academic, often on a contract basis, to take on this enormous task. The second barrier is more subtle, and relates to a strong perception that such a project lends itself more to some faculties and disciplines than others. This perception is based on deeply ingrained stereotypes about what constitutes 'Indigenous issues'. Within such perceptions, Arts is seen as 'naturally' more open to Indigenising its curriculum, because of the 'cultural component', while it is often seen as irrelevant to for example the sciences. This paper will address both these barriers and discuss how they are interlinked and reinforce each other, while arguing that Indigenising the curriculum requires a systemic and ongoing commitment to be truly effective.

Heather, G., D. Graham, et al. (2000). The Australian Psychological Society and Australia's indigenous people: A decade of action. Australian Psychologist, 35(2), 88-91.

This paper highlights the achievements of the past decade, together with the shortcomings and future needs, of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) in addressing its social and professional responsibilities towards Australia's Indigenous peoples. A selective chronology of events and initiatives since the 1988 International Congress in Psychology in Sydney is presented and critically examined. Reference is made to parallel national and international developments by Indigenous peoples in reclaiming direction, control, and appropriate partnership in their own mental health issues. The establishment of the APS Interest Group on Aboriginal Issues, Aboriginal People and Psychology represents one such partnership. While psychology's response to the reflection and reconciliation processes underway in Australian society in recent years might be described as sluggish, the accomplishments of the last decade provide a solid foundation for the development of culturally inclusive systems of education, training, and professional service delivery.

Hovane, V. E. (2003).  Cross-cultural training and the pursuit of cultural competency for working with Aboriginal people: An Aboriginal perspective. Australian Journal of Psychology, 55, 186-186.

Non-Aboriginal people are required to work with Aboriginal people on an ongoing basis in a variety of ways and settings. As a result, a number of 'crosscultural' training packages have been developed to provide these workers with some level of 'cultural competence' for working with Aboriginal people. This paper presents a critical Aboriginal perspective about the pursuit of cultural competence via typical crosscultural training approaches. It examines how the concepts of 'crosscultural' training and 'cultural competency' are used and discusses some of the potential consequences about perceptions of competency and how these impact on subsequent interactions with Aboriginal people. Finally, this paper suggests an alternative model for attaining competency for working with Aboriginal people that is grounded in individual self-awareness and understanding the social position of workers in relation to Aboriginal peoples' cultures and realities in contemporary Australian society.

Ranzijn, R., McConnochie, K., Clarke, C., & Nolan, W. (2007). Just another ‘white-ology’: Psychology as a case study. Counselling, Psychotherapy, & Health 3(2), 21-34.

This paper explores the role of one of the helping professions, psychology, in the lives of Indigenous Australians in the past and present, and suggests ways forward for the future. In the past psychology has been implicated in the marginalisation, oppression and dispossession of Indigenous Australians, and this continues at the present time since psychology as currently practised is an agent of the dominant culture. In order to have a positive influence in Indigenous lives, psychology and psychological practice will need to change radically. The paper draws upon current work by the authors in developing curriculum guidelines for teaching cultural competence to psychology students and is informed by recent  developments in developing ethical standards. Psychology, and other helping professions, can have a positive role, but more as allies and advocates rather than ‘experts’ that solve clients’ ‘problems’.

Ranzijn, R., Nolan, W., McConnochie, K., Hodgson, L., Spurrier, W., & Passmore, G. (2008). Disseminating strategies for incorporating Australian Indigenous content into psychology undergraduate programs throughout Australia, Australian Learning & Teaching Council.

'Dissemination strategies for incorporating Australia Indigenous content into psychology undergraduate programs throughout Australia' The broad aim of this project was to make substantial progress towards the dissemination and embedding of pedagogical strategies, developed at the University of South Australia (UniSA) for the inclusion of Australian Indigenous content and cross-cultural competencies within psychology undergraduate programs, throughout Australian psychology departments.

Ranzijn, R., K. McConnochie, et al. (2008). Towards cultural competence: Australian Indigenous content in undergraduate psychology. Australian Psychologist,  43(2), 132-139.

This paper discusses the development and preliminary analysis of psychology undergraduate courses on cultural competence in relation to Indigenous Australians. The paper summarises the process that led to the formation of draft curriculum guidelines for psychology academics, including the need to critically examine the assumptions and history of Western psychology in relation to Indigenous peoples, the inclusion of non-conventional teaching and learning methods, staff and institutional support, and appropriate staff development. The paper then discusses the responses of students to one of the courses developed from these guidelines. The courses were well received by students and although they do not in themselves teach professional psychological skills in working effectively with Indigenous people, they provide a solid basis for the development of such skills. Because this is a relatively new area, it is likely that there will be much refinement of these courses in coming years.

Sonn, C., D. Garvey, et al. (2000). Incorporating Indigenous and cross-cultural issues into an undergraduate psychology course: Experience at Curtin University of Technology. Australian Psychologist,  35(2), 143-149.

There has been a clear expression of the need to incorporate Indigenous and crosscultural issues into psychology curricula and to develop models to guide the process. This paper outlines the process of developing an Indigenous and crosscultural psychology unit at Curtin University of Technology. A conceptual framework that includes a foundational, professional, and socially responsive knowledge, which has guided the development and implementation of the unit, is presented. A description of the course content and processes of delivery follow this. Observations based on informal evaluatin of the unit and our perceptions of what it is achieving and where it may need to be modified are offered. For example, the ways in which the unit helped to validate the experiences of members of different social and cultural groups are highlighted. Finally, some recommendations are made, and challenges in dealing with increasing cultural diversification in tertiary education are discussed.


Fung, K., L., Andermann, et al. (2008). An integrative approach to cultural competence in the psychiatric curriculum.  Academic Psychiatry, 32(4), 272.

As it is increasingly recognized that cultural competence is an essential quality for any practicing psychiatrist, postgraduate psychiatry training programs need to incorporate cultural competence training into their curricula. This article documents the unique approach to resident cultural competence training being developed in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, which has the largest residency training program in North America and is situated in an ethnically diverse city and country.



Indigenous Cultural Competency for Business, University of Newcastle.Retrieved March 25, 2011, from http://www.newcastle.edu.au/institute/wollotuka/indigenous-online-resources/indigenous-cultural-competency/indigenous-cultural-competency-for-business/

The existing Newcastle Business School initiatives are a microcosm of the Universities general profile for the curriculum inclusions that encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency. Disciplines such as Tourism have significant content embedded and indeed there is a professional expectation that Indigenous issues will be included in their degree programs. Other disciplines such as Politics and Business identify minimal inclusion, but acknowledge the potential for greater engagement.

University of Sydney (2009). Embedding the Development of Intercultural Competence in Business Education CG6-37. ALTC Grant.  Retrieved April 5, 2011, from http://www.altc.edu.au/project-embedding-development-intercultural-sydney-2006

This collaborative project sought to embed the development of intercultural competence in business higher education. Intercultural competence is a dynamic, ongoing, interactive self reflective learning process that transforms attitudes, skills and knowledge for effective communication and interaction across cultures and contexts. Graduates need to successfully interact in increasingly global and multicultural work environments, while current students and staff also need intercultural communication skills to operate in their increasingly diverse cohorts. The project developed frameworks for embedding intercultural competence relating to leadership and communities of practice, curriculum policies and procedures, and resources. Engagement with stakeholders played a strong role in formative evaluation and ongoing dissemination, as well as guiding contextually relevant development. A major conclusion was that the provision of resources needs to be matched with the development of leadership and communities of practice to ensure a sustainable improvement in embedding processes. Other project outcomes included a series of 20 learning activities that can be used to raise awareness and further develop understanding of intercultural competence, and resources for facilitating learner autonomy.

Freeman, M., Sykes, C., Chamberlain, Leask, B., Ramburuth, P., Simpson, L., & Treleaven, L. Developing intercultural competence in Australian Business Higher Education: A literature review.  Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.altcexchange.edu.au/system/files/Freeman%2520et%2520al%2520Intercutltural%2520Competence%2520JMP.pdf

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a succinct and up-to-date review of research that is relevant to the identification and development of intercultural competencies in business higher education. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews selected research literature. Findings – We provide an overview of the intercultural competence literature and its potential for effective development within business faculties. Research limitations/implications – The paper has an explicit focus on business higher education. Practical implications – The paper provides a timely synthesis of intercultural competence that supports the development of this capability in students and staff within business higher education, thereby contributing to intercultural development in business and organisations more generally Originality/value – The paper provides a synthesis of the effective development of intercultural competence for the business higher education discipline.

Freeman, M., Treleaven, L., Ramburuth, P., Leask, B., Caulfield, N., Simpson, L., Ridings, S., & Sykes, C. (2009). Embedding the development of intercultural competence in Business education, Australian Learning & Teaching Council. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.altc.edu.au/resource-embedding-development-business-usyd-2009

The purpose of this collaborative project was to embed the development of intercultural competence in business higher education.1 This is important because business professionals need to be able to successfully interact in increasingly global and multicultural work environments. Current students (and staff) also need intercultural communication skills since business cohorts are increasingly diverse and challenges have been reported in student interactions.


Bryant, S. (2001). "The Five Habits: Building Cross-Cultural Competence in Lawyers." Clinical Law  Review, 8: 33.

This article describes a process called "the Habits" that was developed by Professors Bryant and Jean Koh Peters that can be used by lawyers to increase their cross-cultural competence. By outlining and giving examples of the role that culture plays in decision making, communication, problem solving, and rapport building, the article demonstrates the importance of lawyers learning cross-cultural concepts and skills. The article shows how developing the Five Habits increases cross-cultural competence. By describing classroom discussions and exercises used to teach the Habits, the article illustrates methods that clinical teachers can use to have more inclusive classroom conversations while building cross-cultural skills. In the epilogue to the article, Professors Bryant and Peters describe the collaborative process they used to develop the Habits.

Carpenter, B., R., Field, et al. (2002). Embedding Indigenous Content and Perspectives Across the Justice Studies Curriculum: Developing A Cooperative Integrated Strategy. AARE. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.aare.edu.au/02pap/car02109.htm

The School of Justice Studies in the Faculty of Law, QUT is currently involved in a challenging project to embed Indigenous content and perspectives across its curriculum. The challenge is accentuated in that the School currently has no Australian Indigenous full-time teaching staff. This paper discusses the cooperative integrated strategy being developed in the School to facilitate the teaching of Indigenous content and perspective by non-Indigenous academics.




Centre for Effective Collaboration and Practice (n.d.). How is Cultural Competence integrated into education. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from;  http://cecp.air.org/cultural/default.htm

The goal of this section of our website is to provide a brief conceptual background for cultural competence, and to illustrate the elements of cultural competence in programs serving children with or at risk of developing serious emotional disturbance.

Dunbar, T., & Scrimgeour, M. (2009). Cultural competence in Aboriginal education service delivery in Australia: Some lessons from the Aboriginal health service sector. AARE International Education Research Conference Canberra.

The increasingly multicultural profile of the Australian population positions the development of cultural competence within education institutions and in the professional practice of educators as an important consideration. If positive change is to be achieved in the education field then some hard questions need to be answered. It is important to know how organisations identify and support sustainable changes to staff behaviours in multilingual and multicultural service delivery contexts. It is also necessary to know what is needed to prepare human service professionals for working with diverse communities. This paper explores these questions and sets out to establish a case for government, universities, Aboriginal and other minority group communities to work together to develop sustainable strategies, systems and curricula in a joint endeavour to dramatically improve the cultural competence levels of education and other human service professionals.

Recent research and innovations involving the development of codes of practice and guidelines for the development of cultural competence, cultural security and cultural safety within the Aboriginal health field in Australia provide potentially useful guidance for those concerned with implementing similar interventions in the field of Aboriginal education. In particular, we will draw on findings from a recent large scale study in the Northern Territory which looked at aspects of a cultural security framework being operationalised within the health service sector. This qualitative study involved a broad cross-section of Aboriginal community members and service providers in the Northern Territory. The findings indicate that the litmus test as to whether a place is considered culturally safe is born out by the people who use the service, who are in the less powerful position, who are from a different cultural background, and who define health and wellbeing in different ways.

We will also describe an intervention in place at the University of South Australia that aims to engender cultural competency with respect to working effectively with Aboriginal peoples.Key elements of this intervention include attention to individual cultural competency through the development of appropriate awareness, attitudes, knowledge, and skills across all undergraduate and post graduate programs. In terms of developing a program for action within the education field we suggest that local level community input is essential to the development of collaborative models of education and training that will effectively prepare education service providers to work with Aboriginal and other minority group members in culturally competent ways.

Higher Education

Christensen, P., & Lilley, I.  (1997). Indigenous Education in Australia, Chapter 3. The Road Forward? Alternative Assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students at the Tertiary Level. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.dest.gov.au/archive/highered/eippubs/eip9708/chapter3.htm

Any analysis of Indigenous education, if it is to be worthwhile, needs to examine the historical, social, and cultural factors that have shaped, and continue to shape it. Thus, this chapter begins by providing a historical review of Indigenous education in Australia before examining past and present theoretical approaches to Indigenous education. Each of these analyses is placed within the context of the culture and aspirations of Indigenous people, the history of relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia and the changing face of tertiary education in Australia.

Durie, M. (2009). Towards Social Cohesion: The Indigenisation of Higher Education in New Zealand. How far are Universities changing & shaping our world, Vice Chancellor's Forum. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Since 1999 indigenous participation in tertiary education in New Zealand has been transformed. From a position of relative exclusion, multiple levels of Māori participation have evolved reflected in the curriculum, the student body, the academic workforce, tertiary education policy, the establishment of tribal tertiary education institutions, and indigenous research. The impacts of the transformation have not only been apparent in educational institutions but have also been evident across society, especially in relationship to Māori capability in the professions, a greater understanding between Māori and other New Zealanders, and a stronger sense of shared nationhood. A conclusion is that universities have the potential to demonstrate social cohesion and also to prepare graduates for leadership roles in promoting a society that can model inclusiveness without demanding assimilation.

Grote, E. (2008). Principles and Practices of Cultural Competency: A review of the Literature. Prepared for IHEAC. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.dest.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/3FDA4429-49A7-4BCE-A619-7662C35C4375/23915/PrinciplespracticesofCulturalCompetencyEGroteFinal.pdf

This paper explores the principles and practices of cultural competency which are currently being adopted in some of Australia’s leading tertiary institutions. By developing curriculum and pedagogical frameworks to educate and train students to begin their journey of becoming culturally competent service providers, the model aims to prepare a future workforce that can begin to address the disparities in the access to services which continue to negatively impact upon the health and general wellbeing of Australian Indigenous peoples.

Gunstone, A. (2008). Australian university approaches to Indigenous policy.  Australian Journal of Indigenous Education 37: Supplement 103-108.

In this paper, the author discusses several key issues - governance, employment, research, culture, anti-racism policies, curriculum, student support and student success - that are critically important in enabling universities to meet the educational needs of Indigenous peoples. He also analyses a representative sample of Australian universities and argue that Australian universities have generally failed to adequately address these key issues. Further, the author compares this study to a similar study that he conducted in 2000 and analyses any similarities and differences between the two studies. [Author abstract]

Norman, H. (2004).  Exploring Effective Teaching Strategies: Simulation Case Studies and Indigenous Studies at the University Level. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 33, 15-21.

This paper explores teaching strategies for communicating complex issues and ideas to a diverse group of students, with different educational and vocational interests, that encourage them to develop critical thinking, and explores pedagogies appropriate to the multidisciplinary field of Aboriginal studies. These issues will be investigated through discussion of a successful simulation case study, including the setting up, resourcing, conducting and debriefing. The simulated case study was an assessed component of the new elective subject, Reconciliation Studies, offered at the University of Technology Sydney. In 2003 students participated in a role-play based on events in relation to the development of the Hindmarsh Island Bridge. Students were assigned roles as stakeholders where they researched and then role-played, through their assigned characters, the multilayered and complex dimensions of this recent dispute. Students were required to reflect critically on the cultural, economic, legal and political issues that were pertinent to their stakeholder and explore the underlying racial, ethical and moral grounds for their particular standpoint. I argue that teaching strategies such as these can contribute to locating Indigenous Australian perspectives and experiences as critical within the professional profiles and practice skills of Australian university graduates.

Information Studies

ALIA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols for libraries, archives and information services, 1995. Retrieved December 8, 2010 from; http://www.alia.org.au/policies/atsi.protocols.html

These protocols are intended to guide libraries, archives and information services in appropriate ways to interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the communities which the organisations serve, and to handle materials with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content. They are a guide to good practice which will need to be interpreted and applied in the context of each organisation's mission, collections and client community.

ATSILIRN Protocols: the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resources Network Protocols. Retrieved March 21, 2011, from http://www1.aiatsis.gov.au/atsilirn/protocols.atsilirn.asn.au/index.html.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services were originally published in 1995 and then updated in 2005. This website provides recommendations for good practice and a place for sharing the 'how to'.

National & State Libraries Australasia (2007). National Policy Framework for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander library services & collection. Retrieved March 28, 2011, from http://www.nsla.org.au/publications/policies/2007/pdf/NSLA.Policy-20070129-National.Policy.Framework.for.Indigenous.Library.Services.pdf

This policy framework is to guide progressive action across National, State and Territory library institutions in their plans and approaches to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library services and collections.

Nakata, M. N., & M. Langton (2005). Australian indigenous knowledge and libraries. Canberra, ACT, Australian Academic & Research Libraries.

This book is an outcome of the Libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Colloquium held at the State Library of New South Wales in December 2004. The editors have taken advantage of the opportunity provided by the substance and scope of the papers presented at the Colloquium, and the degree of professional interest in the issues associated with Indigenous Knowledge in libraries and archives, to put together an edited collection that is accessible to a wider audience. If it is possible to guide the way readers respond to this collection, then perhaps the first thing the authors would like readers to take away would be an appreciation and understanding of the complexities that professionals must engage with in meeting the needs of Indigenous people and the issues associated with managing Indigenous knowledge. From the Indigenous perspective, we can well understand the profession’s desire to have clear prescriptions for practice and practical assistance. However, the path to developing clear and high standards of practice in this area rests on building a strong foundation for understanding what informs the concerns of Indigenous people about the intersection of our knowledge and cultural materials with library and archival systems and practice. This requires a broad sweep across issues of knowledge, culture, history, heritage, law, and information technologies. It requires consideration of articulations between the local/global, the Indigenous/Western, and traditional/contemporary dualities. Most importantly, it requires professional understanding at a level deep enough to generate problem-solving and innovations to practice to overcome the manifold tensions that emerge across all these in a diverse range of situations.


Matthews, S., P., Howard, et al. (2003). Working together to enhance Australian Aboriginal students’ mathematics learning.Proceedings of the 26 th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA 26). Geelong: Deakin University.  

This paper focuses on the social justice imperative to bring about improved mathematical learning outcomes for Aboriginal students. It provides comment whereby mathematics educators can appreciate more fully the context in which many Aboriginal students learn mathematics. Further, the paper reports on five mathematics education case study projects initiated by educational systems working collaboratively with Aboriginal communities. It examines each program using seven constructs: social justice; empowerment; engagement; reconciliation; self-determination; connectedness; and relevance. As an outcome, possible roles and responsibilities of mathematics educators for working collaboratively with Aboriginal communities to provide appropriate mathematics pedagogy for Aboriginal students are identified.

Public Affairs

Carrizales, T. (2010). Exploring Cultural Competency within the Public Affairs Curriculum.  Journal of Public Affairs Education, 16(4), 593-606.

With the increasingly changing demographics of the U.S. population, increased opportunities for an effective public sector arise. The opportunities can be found in new and innovative approaches to the government-citizen relationships, which take into account the cultural diversity of their population. Cultural competency initiatives within the public sector allow for increased effectiveness of the public sector and the public it serves. The following article explores where these opportunities for cultural competency initiatives can be placed within the public affairs curriculum. The article provides a framework for a cultural competency curriculum in public affairs based on four conceptual approaches: knowledge-based, attitude-based, skills-based, and community-based. Cultural competency discourse in academia sets the necessary foundation for future public administrators working in increasingly diverse populations.

Science Education

Hauser, V., C., Howlett, et al. (2009). The place of Indigenous knowledge in tertiary science education: a case study of Canadian practices in indigenising the curriculum.  Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 38: Supplement 46-57.

In Australia, indigenising the curriculum is increasingly acknowledged as a possible avenue for addressing Indigenous under-representation in tertiary science education in a culturally appropriate and relevant manner. While no Australian university has implemented such a program, there is much to be learnt about the inherent complexities of indigenising curriculum before it is pursued. In Canada, however, innovative university programs have been implemented that imbed Indigenous knowledge into the curriculum. This article details key findings from research that sought to learn from Canadian practices in indigenising tertiary science curriculum, by exploring the practices and experiences of two Canadian programs: Trent University's Indigenous Environmental Studies program, and Cape Breton University's Integrative Science program. [Author abstract]

Teacher Education

8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning. Retrieved 25 November, 2010, from http://8ways.wikispaces.com/

The framework is expressed as eight interconnected pedagogies involving narrative-driven learning, visualised learning plans, hands-on/reflective techniques, use of symbols/metaphors, land-based learning, indirect/synergistic logic, modeled/scaffolded genre mastery, and connectedness to community. But these can change in different settings. Every place, Every People, has its own unique pedagogies. These 8 simple ones are merely a starting point for dialogue. Each school engages in a different way, and produces its own unique frameworks for Aboriginal education through dialogue with the community about local ways of doing things.

Australian Institute for of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies. Ethnomathematics in Australia.  Retrieved December 8, 2010, from;  http://www1.aiatsis.gov.au/exhibitions/ethnomathmatics/ethno_contents.htm

PDF articles relating to Indigenous persons and the study of mathematics.

Living Knowledge: Indigenous Knowledge in Science Education. Australian National University. Retrieved December 8, 2010 from; http://livingknowledge.anu.edu.au/index.htm

Welcome to the Living Knowledge website. This site is part of a three year Australian Research Council (ARC) research project Indigenous knowledge and Western science pedagogy: a comparative approach. The project aims to determine the most effective ways of incorporating Indigenous knowledge within the NSW secondary school science curricula.

DEEWR (2008). A Study of Best Practice in the Teaching of Indigenous Culture in Australian Schools. Retrieved March 29, 2011, from; http://www.deewr.gov.au/Indigenous/Resources/Schooling/Documents/StudyBestPracticeTeaching.pdf

A Study of Best Practice in the Teaching of Indigenous Culture in Australian Schools was commissioned by the former Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) to research current effective practice in the teaching of Indigenous culture in Australian schools in the formal years of schooling including the relationship with the teaching of Indigenous history and the curriculum framework being developed for the study of Australian History. In this context the term “Indigenous” refers to the Australian Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and the use of the word “culture” and “language” recognises that there are a diversity of Indigenous cultures and languages.

DEEWR (2009). Stepping up: what works in pre-service teacher education. What Works. The Work Program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations. Retrieved March 28, 2011, from; http://www.whatworks.edu.au/upload/1251164046741_file_SteppingUp.pdf

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are often the most misunderstood of all participants in the Australian education system. It is exceedingly important to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and to do so we must improve the graduate attributes of our teachers. Australian teachers, on leaving teacher education institutions, must be culturally competent.

Craven, R. (1997) Teaching the teachers Indigenous Australian Studies: A national priority! AARE. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.aare.edu.au/97pap/cravr164.htm

Reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians is a critical goal of the Commonwealth Government by the year 2001. Long term reconciliation cannot be achieved and maintained without effective teacher education so that all Australian students can be taught Indigenous Australian Studies appropriately. It is a national disgrace that despite Government reports over a period of 20 years only a few Australian universities have recently introduced core Indigenous Australian Studies as a component of their curricula. To address some of these problems the University of New South Wales has had carriage of a Project of National Significance funded by DEET. This project has produced a framework statement that provides guidelines to assist universities to develop core Indigenous Studies subjects that meet the needs of their Indigenous communities, a sample model of a core studies approach that has been trialed successfully, sample lecture/tutorial notes based on the example model, guidelines for using appropriate terminology, and four teacher-oriented professional development videotapes. This paper provides an overview of the `Teaching the Teachers' project and the example resources produced to support universities to develop core Indigenous Australian Studies subjects in consultation with university indigenous communities



General Health

Cultural competence: Guidelines & protocols (2006). Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from; http://eccv.org.au/library/doc/CulturalCompetenceGuidelinesandProtocols.pdf

This document provides information and guidelines on cultural competence for anyone seeking to foster constructive interactions between members of different cultures. The combination of Indigenous populations and history of immigration in Australia have meant that multiculturalism and cultural diversity are an integral component of Australian society. In 2001, the Australian census showed that Australian people speak over 200 languages, including the more than 60 languages spoken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (ABS 2001). In the same year 16% of the total Australian population, some 2.8 million people, were found to speak a language other than English at home (ABS 2001). By 2004, the number of overseas born Australians stood at 4.5 million people, a figure representing almost one quarter (24%) of the Australian population (ABS 2004). In a country with high levels of cultural and linguistic diversity it is not surprising that there are many applications for cultural competence. Cultural competence is extremely important for any individual or organisation wishing to operate professionally and effectively in a multicultural context.

A Cultural Competence Guide for Primary Health Care Professionals in Nova Scotia (2005). Retrieved March 25, 2011, from; www.healthteamnovascotia.ca/cultural_competence/Cultural_Competence_guide_for_Primary_Health_Care_Professionals.pdf

This guide includes tools and resources to assist primary health care professionals in providing culturally competent health care. Culture is a broad term used in reference to a wide variety of groups. In order to respectfully and effectively address health needs and issues related to race, ethnicity and language, the focus of this guide is on these elements of culture.

National Health & Medical Research Council (2005). Cultural competency in health: A guide for policy, partnerships & participation. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/hp25syn.htm

Governments and health services may be better equipped to tackle Australia's future health issues, including overweight and obesity, if they integrate cultural issues into the planning and delivery of health care and services, business and community groups. The Guide will help policy makers and managers with culturally competent policy and planning at all levels of the health system.

Diversity RX (2011). Organizational Cultural competency. Retrieved March 28, 2011, from http://www.diversityrx.org/topic-areas/organizational-cultural-competence

Organizational Cultural Competence: Improving the cultural and linguistic capacity of a health care organization. This list shows all the website content related to Organizational Cultural Competence.

Betancourt, J. R., A. R. Green, et al. (2003). Defining cultural competence: A practical framework for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Public Health Reports, 118(July-August),  293-302. Available online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1497553/

Defining cultural competence: A practical framework for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care.

Farrelly, T., & B. Lumby (2009). A Best Practice Approach to Cultural Competence Training. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 33(5): 14-22.

The findings of a review to evaluate the best practice approach to Cultural Competence Training (CCT) is discussed. The key issues to be kept in mind with regards to CCT are highlighted.

Taylor, K., & Guerin, P. (2010). Health Care and Indigenous Australians: Cultural Safety in Practice. South Yarra, Victoria, Palgrave Macmillan.

Health Care and Indigenous Australians: Cultural safety in practice uses a cultural safety approach for undergraduate health students or professionals wanting to improve their practice in relation to Indigenous Australian clients. With fourteen chapters that include activities, critical thinking questions, poems, 'making it local' activities, and case scenarios, readers should find that the material challenges them to think in new ways about Indigenous health and about their practice more generally.

Medical Practioners

Betancourt, J. R. (2004). Becoming a physician: Cultural competence - Marginal or mainstream movement?  New England Journal of Medicine,  351(10), 953-955.

As the United States becomes increasingly diverse, physicians will see patients from a variety of sociocultural backgrounds on a daily basis. Culture plays a large role in shaping health-related values, beliefs, and behavior. With the aim of providing physicians with the knowledge and skills to address "cross-cultural" challenges in clinical encounters, educational efforts in "cultural competence" have emerged. This field is not new, but it has been reenergized during the past decade as a result of pronouncements by the Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association, among other organizations, that cultural competence is necessary for the effective practice of medicine.

Betancourt, J. R., A. R. Green, et al. (2005). "Cultural competence and health care disparities: Key perspectives and trends - Among stakeholders in managed care, government, and academe, cultural competence is emerging as an important strategy to address health care disparities. Health Affairs, 24(2), 499-505.

Cultural competence has gained attention as a potential strategy to improve quality and eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in health care. In 2002 we conducted interviews with experts in cultural competence from managed care, government, and academe to identify their perspectives on the field. We present our findings here and then identify recent trends in cultural competence focusing on health care policy, practice, and education. Our analysis reveals that many health care stakeholders are developing initiatives in cultural competence. Yet the motivations for advancing cultural competence and approaches taken vary depending on mission, goals, and sphere of influence.

Crosson, J. C., W. L. Deng, et al. (2004). Evaluating the effect of cultural competency training on medical student attitudes. Family Medicin,  36(3), 199-203.

Background and Objectives: Developing skills for taking care of patients from a wide variety of backgrounds is a growing area of importance in medical education. Incorporating cultural competency training into undergraduate medical education is an accreditation requirement. Although there are an increasing number of such curricula reported in the literature, there has been little evaluation of their effectiveness. We describe a new undergraduate cultural competency curriculum, the reliability of an instrument for assessing student attitudes in this area, and the effects of our curriculum on student attitudes. Methods: Two introductory clinical medicine courses focused on the importance of providing culturally competent care to all patients. The courses used problem-based learning and a history taking mnemonic to teach students to assess patients' perspectives. The authors verified the reliability of the Health Beliefs Attitudes Survey (HBAS) and used it to determine changes in students' attitudes on issues relating to cultural competency. Results: The HBAS reliably measured four cultural competency concepts. Student attitudes regarding the importance of assessing patient opinions and determining health beliefs improved significantly following the courses. Conclusions: The method used here to teach students cultural competency skills early in medical school positively affects student attitudes on cultural competency issues.

Paul, D., S. Carr, et al. (2006). Making a difference: the early impact of an Aboriginal health undergraduate medical curriculum. Medical Journal of Australia, 184(10), 522.

To describe the implementation of an integrated Aboriginal health curriculum into the medical course at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the early effect on students' perceptions of their knowledge and ability in the area of Aboriginal health.

Rapp, D. E. (2006.). Integrating cultural competency into the undergraduate medical curriculum. Medical Education,  40(7), 704-710.

A significant movement is underway to develop standardised curricula that provide medical students with a fundamental knowledge of cultural sensitivity. This paper reviews the recent initiative to integrate cultural competency training into the curricula of American undergraduate medical institutions.

Wachtler, C., & M. Troein (2003). A hidden curriculum: Mapping cultural competency in a medical programme. Medical Education, 37,  861-868.

Background: Cultural competency can be understood as those learned skills which help us understand cultural differences and ease communication between people who have different ways of understanding health, sickness and the body. Recently, medical schools have begun to recognise a need for cultural competency training. However, few reports have been published that articulate and evaluate cultural competency in medical curricula. Aim:  This study was performed in order to evaluate the current status of cultural competency training at a medical school in southern Sweden. Methods:  We used a multi-method approach to curriculum evaluation. We reviewed the published list of learning objectives for the medical programme, interviewed curriculum directors and individual teachers for each term about course content and carried out focus group interviews with students in all stages of the medical programme. Results: Cultural competency is a present but mostly hidden part of the curriculum. We found learning objectives about cultural competency. Teachers reported a total of 25 instances of teaching that had culture or cultural competency as the main theme or 1 of many themes. Students reported few specific learning instances where cultural competency was the main theme. Students and teachers considered cultural competency training to be integrated into the medical programme. Cultural competency was not assessed. Conclusion: This evaluation showed places in the curriculum where cultural competency is a present, absent or hidden part of the curriculum. The differences between the 3 perspectives on the curriculum lead us to propose curriculum changes. This study illustrates how triangulation with a multifactorial methodology leads to understanding of the current curriculum and changes for the future.

Sutton, M. (2000). "Cultural Competence It's not just political correctness. It's good medicine." Family practice management 7(9): 58-59. Retrieved July 21, 2011 from; http://www.aafp.org/fpm/2000/1000/p58.html

Racial, ethnic and cultural disparities exist in all aspects of society, but nowhere are they more clearly documented than in health care. People of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural heritage suffer disproportionately from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and every form of cancer. In addition, their infant mortality rates are generally higher, and their childhood immunization rates are lower. Although disproportionate poverty and lack of health insurance contribute greatly to the disparities, health care organizations and individual medical practices are also responsible in that they often fail to provide culturally competent health care.


Cultural Competence Project. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Retrieved November, 26 2010 from; http://www.cultural-competence-project.org/en/about.htm

The cultural competency project is granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. A culturally competent nursing and health care workforce is needed to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors and choices that will reduce, and ultimately eliminate, health disparities. The focus of the educational offerings will be on the relationship between nurses’ cultural competencies and the reduction or elimination of health disparities across the life span from infancy to old age. The University of Michigan-Flint (UM-F) in partnership with Madonna University, and with the support of the Transcultural Nursing Society and other organizations with missions that focus on developing cultural competencies, will provide online and face-to-face educational offerings for nurses to enhance their cognitive, affective, and psychomotor cultural competencies and develop their skills in addressing individuals, groups, and communities that are diverse, with special emphasis on those at risk for health disparities. A series of educational offerings focused on developing cultural competencies using a train-the-trainer model will be provided.

Commonwealth Department of Education, Science & Training (2001). National Review of Nursing Education. Multicultural Nursing Education 2001. Retrieved March 28, 2011, from;  http://www.dest.gov.au/archive/highered/nursing/pubs/multi_cultural/8.htm

Report commisioned by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science & Training.

Anderson, N. L. R., Calvillo, E.R., & Fongwa, M.N. (2007). "Community-Based Approaches to Strengthen Cultural Competency in Nursing Education and Practice." Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 18(1 supplement): 498-598.

This article explores existing informal as well as formal approaches that address health disparities in the communities where they occur, enhancing the opportunity to strengthen the cultural competency of providers, students, and faculty. A particular focus centers on the community based participatory research approaches that involve community members, providing opportunities to develop mutually respectful, trusting relationships through co-teaching and co-learning experiences. With community-based participatory research approaches to community involvement in place, the stage is set for partnerships between communities and schools of nursing to collaboratively design, implement, and integrate informal and formal cultural competence components in nursing curricula.

Campinha-Bacote, J. (2002). The process of cultural competence in the delivery of healthcare services: A model of care. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13(3), 181.

“The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services," is a culturally consciously model of care that defines cultural competence as "the process in which the healthcare professional continually strives to achieve the ability and availability to effectively work within the cultural context of a client" (family, individual or community).  It is a process of becoming culturally competent, not being culturally competent.  This model of cultural competence views cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skill, cultural encounters and cultural desire as the five constructs of cultural competence.  Cultural awareness is defined as the process of conducting a self-examination of one’s own biases towards other cultures and the in-depth exploration of one’s cultural and professional background.  Cultural awareness also involves being aware of the existence of documented racism and other "isms" in healthcare delivery.  Cultural knowledge is defined as the process in which the healthcare professional seeks and obtains a sound educational base about culturally diverse groups. In acquiring this knowledge, healthcare professionals must focus on the integration of three specific issues: health-related beliefs practices and cultural values; disease incidence and prevalence (Lavizzo-Mourey, 1996).  Cultural skill is the ability to conduct a cultural assessment to collect relevant cultural data regarding the client’s presenting problem as well as accurately conducting a culturally-based physical assessment.  Cultural encounters is the process which encourages the healthcare professional to directly engage in face-to-face cultural interactions and other types of encounters with clients from culturally diverse backgrounds in order to modify existing beliefs about a cultural group and to prevent possible stereotyping.  Cultural desire is the motivation of the healthcare professional to “want to” engage in the process of becoming culturally aware, culturally knowledgeable, culturally skillful and seeking cultural encounters; not the “have to.”  Cultural encounters is the pivotal construct of cultural competence that provides the energy source and foundation for one’s journey towards cultural competence.

Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (2009). Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety in Nursing Education: A Framework for First Nations, Inuit & Metis Nursing, Aboriginal Health Human Resource Initiative, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Canada. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.anac.on.ca/Documents/Making%20It%20Happen%20Curriculum%20Project/FINALFRAMEWORK.pdf

The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) and the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (A.N.A.C.) both recognize the need to increase the presence of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis nurses within the nursing profession (Gregory and Barsky, 2007). To this end, several schools of nursing in Canada have actively engaged in efforts to increase the number of Aboriginal nursing students, particularly in undergraduate programs. These schools are demonstrating success in the recruitment of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people into nursing education.

Carberry, C. (1998). Contesting competency: cultural safety in advanced nursing practice. Collegian, 5(4), 9-13.

A central tenet of the competency approach to nursing education and regulation is that it ensures the safe care of clients and communities with whom nurses work. However, the competency approach is problematic in its conception and application to nursing. Incorporation of this framework into advanced practice requires that its limitations are acknowledged so that current interpretations and applications can be challenged and resisted. Through exploring the concept of cultural competence some of the problems associated with the application of the competency approach to professional nursing practice will be exposed. The issues revealed in this exploration prompt the question whether the competency framework is the best way to ensure competent professional practice.

Chenowethm, L., Y. H. Jeon, et al. (2006). Cultural competency and nursing care: an Australian perspective. International Nursing Review, 53(1), 34-40.

Aims: To propose a process that will facilitate cultural competence in Australian nursing practice. Background: Cultural diversity is a prominent feature of the Australian health system and is impacting significantly on nursing care quality. A fictitious, but typical clinical exemplar is profiled that identifies cultural insensitivity in care practices leading to poor quality outcomes for the health consumer and her family. Strategies are proposed that will reverse this practice and promote culturally competent nursing care and that locates overseas qualified nurses in this process. Conclusion: This paper contributes to nursing care quality internationally by articulating strategies to achieve cultural competence in practice. Nurses must pay attention to interpersonal relationships and develop respect for the health consumer's value systems and ways of being, in order to protect their rights and avoid the tendency to stereotype individuals from particular cultures. The expertise of qualified nurses from different cultures can greatly assist this process.

Crampton, P., Dowell, A., Parkin, C., & Thompson C. (2003). Combating effects of racism through a cultural immersion medical education program. Academic Medicine, 78(6), 595-596.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a perspective from New Zealand on the role of medical education in addressing racism in medicine. There is increasing recognition of racism in health care and its adverse effects on the health status of minority populations in many Western countries. New Zealand nursing curricula have introduced the concept of cultural safety as a means of conveying the idea that cultural factors critically influence the relationship between carer and patient. Cultural safety aims to minimize any assault on the patient’s cultural identity. However, despite the work of various researchers and educators, there is little to suggest that undergraduate medical curricula pay much attention yet to the impact of racism on medical education and medical practice. The authors describe a cultural immersion program for third-year medical students in New Zealand and discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach. The program is believed to have great potential as a method of consciousness raising among medical students to counter the insidious effects of non-conscious inherited racism. Apart from the educational benefits, the program has fostered a strong working relationship between an indigenous health care organization and the medical school. In general, it is hoped that such programs will help medical educators to engage more actively with the issue of racism and be prepared to experiment with novel approaches to teaching and learning. More specifically, the principles of cultural immersion, informed by the concept of cultural safety, could be adapted to indigenous and minority groups in urban settings to provide medical students with the foundations for a lifelong commitment to practicing medicine in a culturally safe manner.

Cuellar N.G., B. A. M., Vito K, & de Leon Siantz, M.L. (2008). Cultural Comptence in the Undergradue Nursing Curriculum. Journal of Professional Nursing, 24(3), 143-149.

More demands are being put on nursing faculty to incorporate content related to cultural competence in the undergraduate curriculum. Adding more content into an already full curriculum and becoming proficient at teaching cultural competence throughout the curriculum are challenging to nursing faculty. In addition, identifying personal bias to ensure that students are prepared to deliver culturally sensitive care requires a certain amount of self-awareness of personal prejudice. The purpose of this article is to present the implementation of the newly developed Blueprint for Integration of Cultural Competence in the Curriculum (BICCC) into an undergraduate nursing curriculum as a framework for teaching cultural competence in an undergraduate nursing curriculum. This will include defining culture and cultural competence as they relate to teaching, presenting educational standards of cultural competence in accrediting agencies, presenting level objectives for learning cultural competent information, describing a curriculum incorporating cultural competence in an undergraduate nursing program, and providing examples of implementation of cultural competence teaching strategies for nursing faculty.

Gardner, G., Dunn, S., Carryer, J., & Gardner, A. (2006). Competency & Capability: Imperative for Nurse Practitioner Education. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing,  24(1): 8-14.

The objective of this study was to conduct research to inform the development of standards for nurse practitioner education in Australia and New Zealand and to contribute to the international debate on nurse practitioner practice.

Hardy, J., M. Miller, et al. (1998). Creative educational strategies to facilitate nurses’ knowledge of Aboriginal health issues: 5–8.

The indigenous people of Australia are regarded as being disadvantaged across all social and economic indicators. The poor health status of Aboriginal people is well recognised, and that Aboriginal health is not limited to the physical wellbeing of the individual but relates to the social, emotional and cultural well being of the whole community. Nurses work with Aboriginal people in a variety of settings and are one group within the healthcare sector who can make a significant contribution to the delivery of health care. It is essential that nurses be appropriately educated to understand and have an appreciation of the culture and special needs of indigenous Australians.  Australian Catholic University, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Family Services, is conducting an educational project to develop, implement and evaluate educational units on indigenous health issues. This course of study is for inclusion in undergraduate and postgraduate nursing courses. The project team members are from several locations across three states, making use of technologies such as teleconference, video conference and email to facilitate communication.  Indigenous Health course materials are being developed for traditional and flexible delivery modes. Flexible delivery modes incorporate the World Wide Web Internet and CD-ROM. FrontPage and toolbox are being used in the development of the project. Student learning is being facilitated through traditional and/or electronic teaching strategies. The learning experience involves students undertaking field placements in urban, rural or remote aboriginal communities. Pretest and posttest questionnaires and focus group interviews provide the data to measure learning outcomes and technical value of the educational strategy. 

Nash, R. (2006). Embedding Indigenous perspectives in nurse education. Australian Nursing Journal, 14(2), 31.

The article highlights a project initiated by the Faculty of Health at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane for the improvement of cultural competence in its undergraduate education courses. A whole course approach to the development of cultural competence with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander perspectives was taken by the project according to Robyn Nash, director of undergraduate nursing programs.

Nash, R., B. Meiklejohn, et al. (2006). The Yapunyah project: embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in the nursing curriculum. Contemporary Nurse, 22(2), 296-316.

The Yapunyah project: embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in the nursing curriculum.

Omeri, A. (2003). Meeting diversity challenges: Pathway of advanced transcultural nursing practice in Australia. Contemporary Nurse, 15, 175-187.

This paper aims to address the state of transcultural nursing in Australia. In an  attempt to address the challenges of cultural diversity in nursing practice, the significance of research-based transcultural nursing knowledge is examined within the evolutionary changes of multicultural policies in Australia.

Transcultural nursing research, building upon existing nursing knowledge, provides evidence to advance transcultural nursing practice. In order to promote ‘advanced practice’ in multicultural Australia, models of research-based transcultural nursing practice are examined and highlighted.

Omeri, A., & Ahern,M.  (1999). Utilising Culturally Congruent Strategies to Enhance Recruitment and Retention of Australian Indigenous Nursing Students. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 10(2),  150-155.

Recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) nursing students has been the concern of many faculties of nursing across Australia for some time. Multiple factors and issues have been raised to address recruitment, and most important retention, of ATSI students in undergraduate nursing programs. This article, through a review of the literature, explores and describes discoveries and discusses the importance of culturally meaningful strategies and knowledge as significant in addressing this core issue. Strategies for change in relation to curriculum design and faculty education in transcultural nursing are described.

Purnell, L. (2002). The Purnell Model for Cultural Competence. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13(3), 193-196.

This article provides an overview of the Purnell Model for Cultural Competence and the assumptions on which the model is based. The 12 domains comprising the organizing framework are briefly described along with the primary and secondary characteristics of culture, which determine variations in values, beliefs, and practices of an individual’s cultural heritage. All health care providers in any practice setting can use the model, which makes it especially desirable in today’s team-oriented health care environment. The model has been used by nurses, physicians, and physical and occupational therapists in practice, education, administration, and research in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Central America, Great Britain, Korea, South America, and Sweden. The model has also been translated into Flemish, French,Korean, and Spanish. Although the model is only 4 years old, it shows promise for becoming a major contribution to transcultural nursing and health care.

Raymond, L. (2008). Exemplar: Developing a new Bachelor of Nursing Course responsive to Australia's culturally diverse community. Contemporary Nurse, 28(1/2), 17-22.

The purpose of this article is to discuss issues surrounding the development of a new Bachelor of Nursing course for the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, Australia. In particular, the focus of the discussion is on the factors that influenced the development of learning outcomes that would enable student nurses the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to advance both personally and professionally a cultural awareness of self and others appropriate for the Australian context and delivery of culturally congruent and safe nursing care.

Occupational & Physical Therapy

American Physical Therapy Association (2008). Blueprint for teaching cultural competence in physical therapy education. Retrieved March 24, 2011, from; http://www.apta.org/search.aspx?q=cultural%20competency 

In an effort to meet the health care needs of all individuals the US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), the Office of Minority Health (OMH), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) advocate for the application of culturally competent health care. Documents such as the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health Care and Setting the Agenda for Cultural Competence in Health Care are provided to facilitate health care practitioners’ ability to meet the standards for cultural competence. Cultural competence is currently embedded in major APTA documents. Cultural competence is addressed by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in the evaluative criteria for accreditation of education programs for the preparation of physical therapists5 and physical therapist assistant education, and is a integral part of A Normative Model of Physical Therapist Professional Education and for Physical Therapist Assistant Education.

Fitzgerald, M. H., Mullavey-O'Byrne, C., & Clemson, L. (1997). Cultural issues from practice. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 44, 1-21.

This paper addresses cultural issues in occupational therapy practice through a review of the occupational therapy and culture literature and a brief exploration of key issues highlighted in analyses of discussions and critical incidents in transcripts of interviews with 86 occupational therapists. The data, collected in conjunction with the Intercultural Interaction Project, highlights seven important categories of issues from the perspective of therapists: (i) professional values; (ii) family roles and responsibilities; (iii) communication; (iv) social behaviours; (v) gender; (vi) ‘sick’ role; and (vii) explanatory models. The importance of the therapist’s personal and professional values stands out even more strongly in our data than in the occupational therapy literature. This suggests that increased awareness of personal and professional values is one of the most critical issues for the development of culturally competent practitioners and satisfying, successful intercultural interactions. Our work suggests that the development of cultural competency based on issues associated with actual events is ‘best practice’ for addressing the needs of all clients and practitioners.

Nochajski, S. M., &  Matteliano, M.A. (2008). A Guide to Cultural Competence in the Curriculum: Occupational Therapy.  Retrieved July 20, 2011 from; http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/culture/curriculum/guides/ot.php

This curriculum guide has been prepared by the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) under a grant from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Its purpose is to provide a resource that will assist faculty in occupational therapy programs to integrate cultural competency education throughout their curriculum.

Wells, M. I. (2000). Beyond cultural competence: a model for individual and institutional cultural development. Journal of community health nursing,  17(4), 189-199.

Nursing's attention to cultural diversity has been influenced by the changing demographic composition of the U.S. population. Nursing must continue to increase awareness and promote attitudinal and behavioral changes that will result in the delivery of culturally appropriate nursing care. The nursing literature includes several models of cultural development to assist nurses and other health care professionals in conducting a cultural assessment and incorporating cultural data into nursing care plans. This article presents a synthesis model of cultural development that illustrates that cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, and cultural competence do not achieve the level of cultural development necessary to meet the health care needs of a diverse population. Cultural proficiency is a concept that extends cultural competence into nursing practice, administration, education, and research. It is a philosophical and behavioral approach to cultural diversity that guides and prescribes individual and institutional behavior toward "cultural others."


Spencer, C. (2005). A prehospital perspective of cultural competency in Health: A guide for policy, partnership & participation. Journal of Emergency Primary health Care, 5(2). Retreived July 20, 2011 from; http://www.jephc.com/full_article.cfm?content_id=437

An often claimed rationale for cultural competency training is the need to serve progressively more diverse populations which result from migration and globalisation. Consequently, the emergence and demand in recent years for culturally competent health care professionals to improve the access and quality of care for heath service consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds gains momentum. In reality, we are all culturally diverse as each of us possesses our own unique cultural heritage; a collection of values and beliefs that often remain unquestioned, or at least until a situation or experience, such as people experiencing the health sector as a patient rather than as a health practitioner, forces them to reflect or reconsider their position. Cultural factors are crucial to understanding the way people think about health. It is therefore timely that in 2004 the Health Advisory Committee (HAC) of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) identified the need for developing a framework and toolkit to increase cultural competency.

Spencer, C., Macdonald, R., & Archer, F. (2008). Surveys of cultural competency in Health Professional Education: A literature review. Journal of Emergency Primary health Care,  6(2), 1-17.

A literature review, in advance of designing a survey of cultural competency in Australian and New Zealand paramedic education courses, provides the focus of this paper. The review sought to explore the extent to which other health professions include cultural competency in their undergraduate curriculum. The literature review identified specific research papers that used survey methods to determine the status of cultural competency training in other health professions. With no paramedic specific information available to inform paramedic education, these research papers formed a basis for designing a survey that would examine the extent to which paramedic education includes cultural competency in its curricula. This paper is timely for informing paramedic education about surveys on cultural competency in health professional education. It is particularly timely for the paramedic profession, which is currently in transition from a vocationally based occupation to a professionally based discipline within a university setting; and, at a time when a small number of student paramedics are opting to take advantage of an honours degree. Similarly, experienced paramedics are undertaking masters and doctoral research programs in prehospital and paramedic related issues. Such opportunities enable paramedics to extend their career prospects into academic research, an opportunity that was previously untenable. The process of reviewing the literature to develop a paramedic specific survey provides useful information for paramedics who may want to undertake similar research projects to examine other aspects of the curriculum. This paper, therefore, contributes to both developing an appreciation of the complex issues which arise from this process, and establishes an evidence base foundation for the paramedic discipline as it emerges within an academic and research orientated environment. The lessons learned in reviewing surveys might be useful for other health professions and emergency service researchers.


Westberg, S. M., Bumgardner, M.A. , & Lind, P.R (2005). Enhancing Cultural Competency in a College of Pharmacy Curriculum.  American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education,  69(5), 1-9.

The objective of this study was to describe the pedagogies used in the University of Minnesota pharmacy curriculum to improve students’ abilities to provide culturally competent care to patients. A cultural competency curriculum was introduced in fall 2003 that included a variety of pedagogies: a small group activity, case discussions, BaFa’ BaFa’ cultural simulation game, and the reading and discussion of cultural narratives. Most activities were associated with a reflective writing assignment. In addition, preintervention survey instruments were administered to 52 entering first-professional year PharmD students in fall 2003, with 48 postintervention survey instruments administered in spring 2004, followed by evaluation of the survey findings. Based on survey results and analysis of reflective papers, students gained an appreciation for the importance of acknowledging cultural differences and understanding how to overcome the barriers that these differences present. Using a variety of effective pedagogies, pharmacy students were able to demonstrate increased understanding of and ability to provide culturally competent care.

Physical Therapy

Panzarella, K..J., & Matteliano, M.A. (2008). A Guide to Cultural Competence in the Curriculum: Physical Therapy. Retrieved July 20, 2011 from; http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/culture/curriculum/guides/pt.pdf

This curriculum guide has been prepared by the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) under a grant from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Its purpose is to provide a resource that will assist faculty in physical therapy programs to integrate cultural competency education throughout their curriculum.

Rehabilitation Counselling

Lee, G.K., & Matteliano, M.A. (2008). A Guide to Cultural Competence in the Curriculum:  Rehabilitation Counseling. Retrieved July 20, 2011 from; http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/culture/curriculum/guides/rc.pdf

This curriculum guide has been prepared by the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) under a grant from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Its purpose is to provide a resource that will assist faculty in rehabilitation counseling programs to integrate cultural competency education throughout their curriculum.

Social Work

Johnson, Y. M., & Munch, S. (2009). Fundamental contradictions in cultural competence. Social Work, 54(3), 220-231.

Cultural competence (CC) is considered highly relevant to social work practice with clients belonging to ethnic and racial minority groups, as the burgeoning literature and creation of practice standards on CC attest. However, examination of the conceptual underpinnings of CC reveals several major anomalies. The authors argue that several aspects of CC contradict central social work concepts or are at odds with current, standard social work practice. These contradictions extend to the epistemological foundations of CC and the rights and dignity of the individual. To further stress the conceptual tensions at the heart of CC, the authors incorporate recent philosophical work addressing collective identities and group rights. The question of whether culturally competent practice is achievable is also addressed. The authors urge academicians and practitioners to thoroughly examine the theoretical and ethical bases of CC because of their highly important ramifications for social work practice.

National Association of Social Workers (2007). Indicators for the achievement of the NASW standards for Cultural Competence in social work practice. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from; http://www.naswdc.org/practice/standards/NASWCulturalStandards.pdf

The Indicators for the Achievement of the NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in the Social Work Profession are designed as an extension of the Standards to provide additional guidance on the implementation and realization of culturally competent practice.

Speech Pathology

Lubinski, R., &  Matteliano, M.A. (2008). A Guide to Cultural Competence in the Curriculum: Speech-Language Pathology. Retrieved July 20, 2011 from; http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/culture/curriculum/guides/speech.pdf

This curriculum guide has been prepared by the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) under a grant from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Its purpose is to provide a resource that will assist faculty in speech-language pathology programs to integrate cultural competency education throughout their curriculum.