Corresponding Author

Chris Rissel. Email: chris.rissel@flinders.edu.au


The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate the impact of a Central Australian cultural awareness training program for health care staff. A mixed methods approach was used. Program participants completed a baseline and post-program questionnaire, which included an attitude scale assessing cultural safety, critical thinking and transformative unlearning, and open-ended questions. An online follow-up survey two months later repeated these questions. Mean scale scores were compared using paired and unpaired t-tests. Qualitative data were analysed thematically. Baseline scale mean was 45.7. At post-program it had statistically significantly increased to 47.3, using both the paired (p=< 0.01) and unpaired t-test (p=< 0.03). At the two-month follow-up it had decreased to 42.2. This was not statistically different from the baseline score with a paired (n=11) t-test (p=< 0.37), however the difference was statistically significant with an unpaired t-test (p=< 0.01) which included an additional eight respondents. Qualitative feedback was consistently positive. Many respondents learnt new information about the negative effects of colonisation on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, and how this continues to affect current health. Learning about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultures, kinship relationships and systems, and communication styles was identified as directly relevant to work practices. A cultural education program produced positive short-term changes in attitudes and was highly valued by participants. However, it is unclear if these changes are maintained in the medium term.