Excellence Awards

Cultural Diversity in Ageing Excellence Awards


On 3 June 2022 the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing hosted the Cultural Diversity in Ageing Excellence Awards 2021 at Greenacres Golf Club in Kew, Melbourne.

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

Excellence in Organisational Leadership

The Award Finalists for this category were Bolton Clarke, Northern Health, and the Australian Multicultural Community Services.

The winner for this category was Northern Health for its in-house Transcultural & Language Services (TALS) Department. 

Northern Health Transcultural & Language Services (TALS) Department

Yue Hu from Northern Health

In response to the rapid growth in population and cultural diversity in its catchment, in 2007 Northern Health restructured its Transcultural & Language Services Department to standardize services across all its hospitals, and better address demand for interpreters.

Since then Northern Health grew its in-house staff from 4 interpreters covering 4 languages to almost 50 covering 17 languages; additionally, at the same time, demand for interpreters grew from just over 15,000 requests per annum, to almost 80,000 in 2021. Today an interpreter is booked for 20% of all appointments in over 100 languages.

As well as shifting from outsourcing demand to external agencies to covering requests in-house to guarantee greater access to interpreters, Northern Health added new portfolios to its language services: translation of medical material, transcultural training for all staff, and education opportunities. Northern Health also developed and implemented successive Cultural Responsiveness Plans, and ascertained all research projects included patients with limited English proficiency so that the research produced reflected the catchment in which it operates. These strategies resulted in better patient care, and improved health outcomes for CALD Australians, including halving the gap in length of stay in hospital between patients who require and interpreter and those who don’t.

Excellence in Service Delivery

The finalists were Uniting SA – Ethnic Link Services, Australian Multicultural Community Services and Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong.

Multicultural Aged Care Services Geelong (MACS) won the award 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. 

Multicultural Aged Care services Geelong

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Luba Pryslak from MACS Geelong

Multicultural Aged Care services Geelong or MACS for short is a community-based, not for profit organisation has been providing innovative, integrated and culturally appropriate aged care services to Geelong’s migrant and non-migrant community since 1994. An extensive on-site and local program of individual and group activities is responsive to the cultural preferences, worship choices and general interests of MACS residents and consumers. Specialist programs at MACS include;

  • visiting various local events, performances, cultural activities, shops and dining venues using MACS community bus
  • on-site cultural dining and culture-specific activities
  • watercolour and multi-media workshops
  • MACS Mindful Moves program – a seated exercise program incorporating elements of Pilates, yoga, Tai Chi, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises  

Dr Olga Kanitsaki AM Award for Individual Excellence

The finalists were Soula Athanasia Houndalas, Positive Ageing Project Officer for COTA Tas;  Professor Bianca Brijnath; and Alexander Abramoff, Aged Care Manager at the Russian Ethnic Representative Council.

Professor Bianca Brijnath won the award for her work to improve the quality of life for older culturally and linguistically diverse Australians as well as leading four national projects to increase awareness of dementia prevention and care. 

Professor Bianca Brijnath

Professor Bianca Brijnath, NARI

Professor Bianca Brijnath has a national reputation for her work to improve the quality of life for older CALD Australians. Working both nationally and internationally, Bianca is leading four national projects aimed at:

  1. Increasing awareness of dementia prevention (ADAPT Study),
  2. Improving interpreter training for cognitive assessment for dementia (the MINDSET Study)
  3. Increasing awareness of timely dementia diagnosis and care in CALD communities (the Moving Pictures Study) and,
  4. Improving dementia care in CALD families (the Drawing Out Care Study).

She has also worked on the:

-         Development of Dementia Training Australia’s training program on culture and dementia and delivery to 200+ health and aged care workers in Victoria and Tasmania (2018-19),  gives advice on a number of government advisory groups and peak bodies working groups and receives regular requests by the Victorian State Government to present on culture, dementia, and aged care research.

All finalists and winners celebrate their achievements

The Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing thanks all the nominees, finalists, winners and the judges Tania Saggers-Clarke, Mary Ann Geronimo, John McCallum, Mohammed Yassin for their outstanding work in promoting a more culturally inclusive aged care system.


For photos please see below. (To download the image, Please click on the desired photo.)

⬇This short video celebrates the amazing energy of the night.