Lily Stojanovska, Bhensri Naemiratch and Vasso Apostolopoulos
Objective: To explore the perspectives of nutritional therapy and dietician practitioners, undergraduate students and academics working with people with type 2 diabetes and who are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Methods: A qualitative study design of in-depth semi-structured one-on-one interviews with a total of 24 participants (8 practitioners, 8 students and 8 academics) in the fields of nutritional therapy and dietetics. Open-ended questions focused on the perspectives and experiences (learning, practice and teaching) of working with people of CALD backgrounds who have type 2 diabetes. All interviews were recorded for thematic and textual analysis. Results: Inter-related themes which were confirmed with investigator triangulation were the understanding of (i) the concepts of culture and diversity, (ii) the concepts and influences of health, diabetes and food across cultures, (iii) influences within and across cultures and (iv) systems and resourcing. Overarching perspectives across these themes suggested frustration in having sufficient capacity to assess comprehensively, to deliver effective, comprehensive and high quality management plans, and to achieve required health behavioural changes with people from different CALD backgrounds. Conclusions: There’s a need for improvements in the undergraduate education and training and in professional development programs; training and resourcing of interpreters in delivery of health-related information and working with health professionals; for focus on culturally appropriate management plans that involve consultation with key decision makers in families and communities; and, reviews of the systems for supporting and resourcing nutritional therapists and dieticians in professional development from undergraduate to practice levels.