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Mater Foundation


Refugee Youth as Health Leaders


Brisbane, QLD



Funding Dates

December 2013 - December 2014

Mater Foundation supports individuals and families disadvantaged by health or social circumstances in the Brisbane region.

Each year, approximately 2,000 refugees arrive in Brisbane. The health and wellbeing of people of a refugee background is a crucial part of their successful settlement, but sadly, health outcomes among refugee communities in Australia are typically poor. The complexity of a refugee's health care needs often stems from experiences of war-related trauma, torture or long term settlement in refugee camps with a lack of health care.

To help address this need, in 2011 nib foundation supported the establishment of the Mater's Refugee Women as Health Leaders Program that trained eight refugee women as skilled health leaders to act as health conduits between refugees and the health system.

In addition to improving health literacy, this innovative program identified a range of unique barriers and challenges experienced by these eight communities in accessing the health system, and this evidence is now being used to inform policy development and health service planning.

In 2013/2014 we extended our support to Mater Foundation to enable this successful model to be replicated with the creation of the Refugee Youth as Health Leaders program that focuses on developing young adult refugees aged 18 to 25 into health liaisons between their communities and the public health system. These young health leaders will contribute to the design and delivery of local health services that respond to the specific needs of refugees in the Brisbane community.

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