Cultural Diversity

At St Vincent’s we are committed to provide a high quality health care service which is equitably accessible and responsive to the socially, culturally, multi faith and linguistically diverse community it serves.

Culturally responsive care is vital in our health service: Australia has the highest proportion of overseas born persons in the Western World and the 2016 census has shown that in the state of Victoria 49.1% of us are born overseas or have a parent born overseas. We speak around 234 languages and dialects, practise around 135 faiths and come from over 247 countries. (ABS 2016)

It is of no surprise then that our patient population at St Vincent’s Melbourne is incredibly diverse. Between July 1st  2018 and June 30 2019, approximately 42.4% of our patients/residents were born overseas. This reflects 199 countries of birth, 1 in 5 of our Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) patients requiring an interpreter, 86 different languages spoken and 37 faiths. (PAS 2018-19).

In order to ensure culturally responsive care and best outcome for all our patients and residents, health care professionals within St Vincent’s recognise that culture, language and religious convictions impact on the clinical encounter as well as communication with other staff members.

Aside from making sure to use interpreting services of an accredited health interpreter particularly when dealing with critical issues in patient care, a significant component in improving the general care of patients of a CaLD background also lies in the ability of the health care provider to be able to develop, build on his/her cultural awareness, understanding, responsiveness and competence in dealing with CaLD patients.

The SVHM Cultural Diversity Program includes (but is not limited to) the following:

Staff Support


  • Comprehensive training program of 20 modules aimed at supporting and developing the cultural awareness, knowledge, skills and competence that St Vincent’s Health Melbourne (SVHM) staff will need in delivering culturally appropriate health care. Topics range from the impact of culture and language on such areas as communication, pain assessment, end of life considerations, conflict resolution and team management.
  • Online training module on Culturally Responsive Care at SVHM
  • Monthly news items to all staff on cultural and religious observances
  • Cultural resources on the intranet webpage
  • Special events and regular forums during Cultural Diversity Week and Refugee Week (See images above displaying our 2019 program)
  • The SVHM Talk to Me app which includes over 400 phrases across the 6 main languages covering 30 topics to facilitate basic one way communication to patients and/or residents in sub-acute care. Please click here for more information on the app.

Governance, Policies and Procedures

The SVHM Cultural Responsiveness Guideline (2018) and the Language Services Policy (2017) sit under the SVHM Diversity and Inclusion Policy (2019) all of which are designed to support SVHM staff in planning appropriate services and manage inherent risks for CaLD clients.

More Information

For more information on the Cultural Diversity Program, please contact Monita Mascitti-Meuter by email on

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