Our bilingual health educator receives prestigious Heart Foundation award

Elizabeth, Catusica, Amira

Last night members of MCWH were privileged to attend the Second Heart Foundation Awards Dinner in Melbourne, to celebrate the outstanding acheivements of one of our bilingual health educators.

Elizabeth Mazeyko is one of only three recipients of the prestigious President’s Award, recognising her passion and inspirational work as a Spanish speaking health educator for women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. Other individuals were recognised and awarded for their outstanding contribution to heart-related research and their outstanding support of the Heart Foundation.

The President’s award recognises Elizabeth’s significant contribution to improving women’s heart health in Victoria, made possible in particular through the partnership project between the Heart Foundation and Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, Healthy Hearts. The project exceeded expectations, delivering heart health messages in nine different languages to immigrant and refugee women and men across Victoria, and has cemented the partnership between the Heart Foundation and MCWH in delivering effective health education to immigrant and refugee women.

In her acceptance speech, Elizabeth perfectly stated the importance of the work we do at MCWH, saying: “unfortunately heart disease doesn’t discriminate between language, race or culture. In many communities, men and women don’t believe that high blood pressure or high cholesterol is already cardiovascular disease. I make sure that they understand that important message.”

Elizabeth also graciously acknowledged the support of MCWH and Catuscia Biuso from the Heart Foundation, who has been a tireless advocate for our work and central in developing our strong partnership.

Elizabeth promised she would ‘only get better at my work so that you can see me here, hopefully for a different award next time’.  Then around 330 guests rose from their seats to learn Elizabeth’s heart-health themed adaptation of the Macarena dance – demonstrating her gift for using humour to connect so powerfully with people.

“Every time I walk into a group, my aim is to ensure that everyone understands the factors surrounding cardiovascular disease. We all know that heart disease kills 31 Australian women per day, and someone dies every 24 minutes in Australia … It is during my sessions that I feel that educating people about Heart Health is making a difference in people’s lives and that gives me my greatest reward day after day.”

MCWH is extremely proud of Elizabeth’s achievement and is grateful for the commitment and compassion she brings to her work and to our lives.


You can read about some of the excellent outcomes of our partnership with the Heart Foundation in the report, For All Hearts.


Bilingual education about palliative care is opening doors to better health

MCWH has played a key role in raising awareness across Victoria about the benefits of Palliative Care, through the Culturally Responsive Palliative Care Community Education project, in partnership with Palliative Care Victoria and the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria. For the past few months Bilingual Health Educators have been visiting community groups to deliver information in Turkish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Maltese, Italian and Vietnamese and we’ve had a wonderful response.

Mr. Danh Duc Tran, the Chair of the Vietnamese Senior Citizens Group of Hume, took the time to send our Health Education Team feedback from participants who:

… talked very highly about your way of delivering the topic: culturally correct and appropriate when addressing the audience (being elderly Vietnamese); self-confident, showing mastery of the topic, excellent communication skills, and good emphasises on important points. They do wish you all the best, and send you a big thank you.

Having learned about Palliative Care, the Vietnamese Senior Citizens Group of Hume have now booked MCWH for an additional 6 information sessions covering a new health topic each month. Mr. Tran said:

Educational seminars on health topics such as what you are providing are desperately needed by our members … most of the 70+ of our group’s members are aged over 65, and they have been encountering a multitude of health issues, which due to their language deficiencies, they could not discuss properly or in detail with their family doctors or health services providers. Now they do have a chance to understand their health problems, the preventative measures they are to take, and where they could get help or treatment: all thanks to you and your organisation. What else can they ask for?

If you belong to a community group that would like to learn more about health and Australian health services in a language other than English,  you can arrange for MCWH Bilingual Health Educators to visit you or request free information about health topics in over 70 languages by contacting MCWH.


Research Project: Contraceptive Technologies and Reproductive Choice Among Immigrant Women


Professor Lenore Manderson (front, left); Associate Professor Andrea Whittaker (front, right) and Ms Azam Naghavi (back, right) from Monash University with the MCWH bilingual educator interview team.

Professor Lenore Manderson (front, left); Associate Professor Andrea Whittaker (front, right) and Ms Azam Naghavi (back, right) from Monash University with the MCWH bilingual educator interview team.

Last week researchers from Monash University conducted an interview training workshop with a group of MCWH bilingual health educators.  Our bilingual health educators were trained to conduct research interviews for the Contraceptive Technologies and Reproductive Choice Among Immigrant Women ProjectThe research will identify how immigrant and refugee women access information and advice about contraceptives; their use of sexual and reproductive health services; and how providers ensure women’s informed choice.  The research team will interview 70 women from at least four different countries, including India, China, Afghanistan and Sudan.  The Project is being conducted in partnership with Monash University, the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health and Family Planning Australia Alliance.

The research project is funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant 2013-14.


Southern Cross Care puts their worker’s wellbeing first


Yesterday MCWH met with Ian Barton, Deputy CEO of Southern Cross Care Vic, which provides Aged Care services across Victoria. We celebrated the start of a wonderful collaborative program to develop women’s health mentors among the Southern Cross Care aged care staff.

A select group of 12 staff members from migrant background will be supported by Southern Cross Care to participate in the MCWH accredited Multicultural Women’s Health Course. The course runs for 12 days and covers many aspects of facilitation, effective communication and women’s health. By mid-April the group, who already make a significant contribution to people’s lives through their work in aged care, will also have the skills and knowledge to act as women’s health mentors in their workplace, communities and families.

MCWH looks forward to providing ongoing support to the mentors after they complete their course, and will continue to offer updates to training over the next few years.

This is an exciting program and we would like to acknowledge Southern Cross Care Vic for their progressive approach to workplace wellbeing.