Blog Header Test 05 Bridging the Gap

November 8, 2016

Thank you to Bridging the Gap for writing this guest post on their programs and professional development:



What is Bridging the Gap?

Bridging the Gap is a partnership response to health and health care inequalities for families of refugee background. Women of refugee background are less likely to access and remain engaged in pregnancy and early childhood health care and women and children have poorer outcomes when compared with those born in Australia.

Unique elements of Bridging the Gap include co-design with service managers, clinicians, policy makers and researchers identifying priorities for improvement and designing service activities. Community members are involved where possible. Bridging the Gap now includes multiple quality improvement and demonstration projects. Initiatives are tried out in small and rapid cycles of implementation with those which are successful scaled up. ‘Doing things differently’ in this way and within existing resources, optimises potential for sustainability.

Bridging the Gap initiatives are taking place in maternity services of Western Health and Monash Health together with maternal and child health (MCH) services at Wyndham and Greater Dandenong.


Projects supported by world class professional development

Professional development has sat alongside implementation of Bridging the Gap, including multiple sessions in the last month where over 70 medical, midwifery, maternal and child health, bicultural, and interpreter staff have been supported in their work with families through specifically tailored content facilitated by Foundation House; providing impetus for staff to approach their work differently.

Professional Development in the west

Professional Development in the west


Below provides a snapshot of two Bridging the Gap projects prioritised by partners in the west:

Improving identification of refugee background women and families

Concurrent projects in both maternity and maternal and child health settings have been working to improve identification of refugee background populations through the completion of key data items (country of birth, year of arrival, language spoken and interpreter required), and through sensitive enquiry with women and families. Identifying that women are of refugee background at point of entry into services ensures women are provided with appropriate care; this could be through booking an interpreter in a woman’s chosen language, triaging into suitable models of care or linking them in with local community groups.


Healthy Happy Beginnings

Designed with and for Karen women and families from Burma, this initiative provides pregnancy care and information in a community setting facilitated by hospital midwives, maternal and child health nurse, bicultural worker and interpreter. Around 90 women have attended Healthy Happy Beginnings over the past two years. Findings from an evaluation with women found that the program was making a difference in promoting social connections and enabling women to have a better understanding of maternity and early childhood health services. (For more information on Healthy Happy Beginnings, click here for their post on the HealthWest blog).


Participant in Healthy Happy Beginnings and her daughter

Participant in Healthy Happy Beginnings and her daughter


Bridging the Gap Key Partners
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) and the Foundation House started the program in 2012. Other key partners include:

  • Western Health and Monash Health maternity services
  • City of Wyndham and Greater Dandenong maternal and child health (MCH) services
  • State Government Department of Education and Training and Department of Health and Human Services
  • Municipal Association of Victoria
  • Mercy Hospitals Victoria and VicSEG New Futures, who both joined in 2016.


Where to find more information?

Please visit the Bridging the Gap website or email with your details to be included on our mailing list.
For more information about Healthy Happy Beginnings contact: Waan Tardiff at or 0416 095 088.



The HealthWest blog gives our members a chance to discuss issues and share their work, including challenges, solutions and reflections.

These views may not necessarily reflect those of HealthWest Partnership.

Community Participation, Education, Health Literacy, Parenting, Prevention