Doctors: Aboriginal Australians Experience Widespread Racism Even When Seeking Health Care

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Aboriginal Australians are experiencing racism while seeking health care, say Victorian researchers.

The authors found those who had experienced racism in a health setting were more likely to experience increased psychological distress than those who experienced racism in a different setting or had experienced no racism at all.

Almost every Aboriginal Victorian who participated in this survey had experienced at least one racist incident in the previous 12 months.

And nearly one-third reported racism in health settings in the past 12 months, suggesting considerable room for improvement in creating safe spaces for Aboriginal people.

The survey, reported in the Medical Journal of Australia, asked 221 people about their experiences with racism and with racism in health care.

The authors write:

Experiencing interpersonal racism in health settings is associated with increased psychological distress over and above what would be expected in other settings.

This ļ¬nding supports the rationale for improving cultural competency and reducing racism as a means of closing the health gap.

The study was written by Margaret A Kelaher, Angeline S Ferdinand and Yin Paradies of the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Health Policy.

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