Cultural Responsiveness in Action: Transforming the health workforce

Ms Donna Murray1

1Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Deakin West, Australia


Transforming the Australian health system to deliver better and more equitable health outcomes requires a strong and resilient workforce characterised by increased numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals. To increase access to health care that is available, affordable, acceptable and appropriate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the system requires a culturally responsive workforce acting in partnership with individuals, families and communities to provide culturally safe and responsive care
IAHA has developed the Cultural Responsiveness in Action: An IAHA Framework within the health context based on the concepts of knowing, being and doing.
The Framework defines working in a culturally responsive way as being about strengths based, action-oriented approaches to building cultural safety that will improve health and wellbeing for Indigenous Australians. In culturally responsive care, cultures, cultural meanings and healing traditions are visible and included. They are the strengths.
When taking a leadership and strengths-based approach to transforming behaviours and systems, culture is seen as a strength and asset; decision making shifts to be longer term, strategic and owned by Indigenous Australians. The IAHA Cultural Responsiveness Framework aims to support all Australians working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities to acquire relevant skills and knowledge that will develop the capabilities essential to drive innovative, flexible and responsive practices. Underlying this is the goal of equitable access to healthcare and improved life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Ms Donna Murray is a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri and Wonnarua peoples of the Murrumbidgee River and Hunter Valley, NSW. Donna is the CEO of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health peak organisation.
Donna provides strong strategic leadership across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and the wider health sector with extensive experience in Indigenous leadership, governance, health, education and community development. She is the current Deputy Chairperson of the National Health Leadership Forum and plays a key leadership role on many national, state and local health and community advisories.

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