Exciting PhD scholarship opportunity at Curtin University – People on the move: Furthering the public health response to population mobility, migration, and homelessness

Migrants from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds are vulnerable for health disparities relating to insecure housing and homelessness. Understanding the intersections between health, housing and migration is critical to reducing these health inequities. This research project will examine public health strategies to address housing insecurity and health outcomes for migrants from CaLD backgrounds in Western Australia (WA).

Population mobility and migration increase vulnerability for housing insecurity and a range of communicable and non-communicable health issues. Influencing factors include level of control over travel, transnational health practices, individual and organisational health literacy, cultural and linguistic diversity, migration and health policy, social networks, and support in country of origin and destination. These factors may increase the likelihood of mental health issues and housing insecurity in Australia, increasing the risk of homelessness. In turn, people who experience homelessness or housing stress are often at risk of a range of mental and physical health issues, social exclusion, and discrimination. 

Data show that housing insecurity is a concern for migrants from CaLD backgrounds in Australia. On census night in 2016, 116,000 people experienced homelessness in Australia, of which 9,000 were reported in WA. Of those born overseas or who had arrived in Australia within the past five years, 15% were estimated to be homeless. Although Australia is ranked third in the world for its resettlement commitments, 74% of those born overseas/arrived in Australia within five years were living in severely crowded dwellings and 13% were living in boarding houses. WA has the highest proportion of people born overseas in Australia (32%) and on census night in 2016, 12.7% of people who accessed homelessness services were born overseas. 

Despite these data, relatively little is known about the links between migration, health and housing in Australia. The Journey to Home Project aims to address this gap by informing approaches to improve access to secure housing and mental health outcomes for migrants from CaLD backgrounds. Preliminary findings from the Project support culturally tailored housing interventions but reveal existing data are not fit for purpose and reinforce perspectives that migrants from CaLD backgrounds have complex needs beyond housing.

Migrants from CaLD backgrounds are absent in many health and social welfare policies and strategies in Australia. Based in the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health (CERIPH), in the Curtin School of Population Health, the PhD Scholar will work with a vibrant team of public health researchers to explore issues relating to health, migration and housing. This project will build on existing Journey to Home Project results by co-producing and piloting a culturally appropriate intervention using participatory action research principles.

We are looking for someone with a keen interest in socioecological approaches to addressing health inequities. The successful candidate will preferably have a background in public health, health promotion, behavioural science, social sciences or humanities. Strong communication and an interest in real world outcomes and working in an intercultural context will be key.

If this project sounds like it could be for you, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Dr Gemma Crawford via g.crawford@curtin.edu.au to discuss the project or click on the link below to find out more. Be a changemaker - join us at Curtin.


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