Safe and effective cultural mentorship in general practice

Siaw Teng Liaw, Vicki Wade, Phyllis Lau, Iqbal Hasan, John Furler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background Closing the gap in health and welfare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an ongoing challenge. Objectives The objectives of this article are to conceptualise and operationalise models of cultural mentorship within a multifaceted practice-based program to facilitate culturally and clinically appropriate care. Methods Participatory action research and workshops were conducted with Aboriginal Elders, Aboriginal health workers (AHWs), Indigenous health project officers (IHPOs) and staff from participating Medicare Locals (MLs). Results Roles and responsibilities in a cultural mentorship relationship were defined, along with potential benefits and harm. Mentors and mentees should be comfortable with their own identity and/or ethnicity before engaging in a mentorship relationship. Mutual trust is implicit and participants must be prepared, flexible and mutually respectful to achieve mutual goals. The cultural mentorship model includes Aboriginal Elders and local care partnerships of Aboriginal community-controlled and primary care organisations, and practice mentorship teams of a local AHW/IHPO, research project officer and, where available, ML practice support officer. Discussion A successful cultural mentorship model is multi-level and safe, and requires mutual trust and respect, time and resources. Potential benefits include equitable access to, and use of, safe quality care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in general practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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