Position paper

Racism in health: policy position statement

Medicine Indigenous health Racism Cultural awareness Australia

Indigenous Allied Health Australia has developed this position statements on key policy issues relating to Indigenous health. This statement addresses the issue of racism in health, aged care, disability services and education systems.

Key findings:

  • The responsibility for eliminating racism from our health, aged care, disability services and education systems does not just rest with individuals. Strong commitment from, and collaboration between, individuals, organisations and communities and action on the part of nonIndigenous Australians and mainstream services and systems, is required.
  • Cultural safety requires recognition and understanding of how one’s own culture – and the culture of the health system – influences the provision of treatment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and, therefore, whether treatment supports the needs and aspiration from the perspective of the recipient. 
  • It is essential that the harmful effects of racism on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are recognised and acknowledged by all organisations and individuals providing services in the health system and associated sectors such as education, aged care and disability services.
  • The allied health and support workforce are well-placed, due to the large number of professions represented and the variety of settings in which they interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to play a key role in the elimination of racism in healthcare settings.
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