Crossing Borders Annual Victorian Refugee Health Symposium

Dr Olivia Smibert & Dr Linny Phuong

The Water Well Project felt honoured to be invited by Crossing Borders to present at their annual Victorian Refugee Health Symposium. We met over 250 inspired students with wide ranging interests from medicine to philosophy who were all motivated to engage in the refugee health agenda.


All three of us* enjoyed facilitating separate sessions on cross-cultural communication. Our sessions, though informal were designed to stimulate discussion on the importance of acknowledging and embracing culture and reflect on how culture influences patients’ as well as personal health beliefs. Many of the participants had insights to share from their own experience and cases were discussed in small groups.

The session then moved on to explore the effective utilisation of interpreters in a health communication setting. There was universal enthusiasm and participation from attendees and some poignant observations made on what is means to be culturally sensitive.

Perhaps for me, the most exciting part of the day was a firm reminder that there are so many people who feel passionate about championing the needs of the disadvantaged, including refugees and asylum seekers”- Dr Olivia Smibert.

Thank you to Crossing Borders to inviting us to present at your amazing symposium.

*Sessions facilitated by Dr Olivia Smibert, Dr Genna Verbeek and Dr Linny Phuong