Outstanding efforts in culturally inclusive practices

(L-R): Soula Athanasia Houndalas, COTA Tasmania; Alexander Abramoff, Russian Ethnic Representative Council; Professor Bianca Brijnath, National Ageing Research Institute; Luba Pyrslak, Cultura; Yue Hu, Northern Health; Deidre McGill, Bolton Clarke; Elizabeth Drozd, Australian Multicultural Community Services (AMCS); Dr Medha Gunawardana, AMCS; Russell Howard, AMCS.

Earlier this month, the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing hosted the Cultural Diversity in Ageing Excellence Awards 2021 – the event was rescheduled due to COVID-19.

A night filled with artistic and musical performances added to what was a vibrant event, with approximately 100 industry leaders working in the aged care and multicultural sectors in attendance.

The Excellence Awards recognise and showcase initiatives that promote excellence in the provision of culturally inclusive aged care services across Australia.


Dignitaries attending included John Kennedy MP representing the Hon. Anthony Carbines, Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers and the Hon. Ros Spence Minister for Multicultural Affairs.

The awards themselves were presented by Robert Day, Assistant Secretary, Dementia, Diversity and Design Branch, Department of Health, Mohammed Yassin, from Spectrum, also a Board member of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria and former Victorian Multicultural Commission Commissioner, and Dr Olga Kanitsaki AM, former Head of the Department of Nursing and Midwifery at RMIT University, and the first Professor of Transcultural Nursing.

The Cultural Diversity in Ageing Excellence Awards 2021 consisted of three categories:

Excellence in Organisational Leadership
Finalists: Bolton Clarke, Northern Health, and the Australian Multicultural Community Services.

Winner: Northern Health for its in-house Transcultural & Language Services (TALS) Department.

Excellence in Service Delivery
Finalists: Uniting SA – Ethnic Link Services, Australian Multicultural Community Services and Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong.

Winner: Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong (MACS) for an extensive on-site and local program of individual and group activities responsive to the cultural preferences, worship choices and general interests of MACS residents and consumers.

Award for Individual Excellence
Awarded to an individual who demonstrates exceptional commitment and initiative in the delivery of services to older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in aged care.

Finalists: Soula Athanasia Houndalas, Positive Ageing Project Office for COTA Tas, Professor Bianca Brijnath, and Alexander Abramoff Aged Care Manager at the Russian Ethnic Representative Council.

Winner: Professor Bianca Brijnath for her work to improve the quality of life for older culturally and linguistically diverse Australians. Working both nationally and internationally, Bianca has been leading four national projects to increase awareness of dementia prevention, improve interpreter training for cognitive assessment for dementia, increase awareness of timely dementia diagnosis and care in CALD communities and improve dementia care in CALD families.

‘It was a pleasure to share such a positive night with industry leaders who are working every day to support human rights and the needs of seniors from diverse backgrounds. One of the Centre’s goals is to promote good practice and stories to inspire and these awards achieved that goal!’

Lisa Tribuzio, Manager, Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing

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