Process evaluation of a Central Australian Aboriginal cultural awareness training program (2015–2020) for health professionals and students


  • Chris Rissel Flinders University
  • Annabelle Wilson Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University
  • Barbara Richards Flinders University
  • Courtney Ryder Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University
  • Madeleine Bower Flinders University


professional education, cultural anthropology, professional-patient relations


Most Central Australian health service users are Aboriginal peoples. It is important that health professionals have cultural awareness related to the specific Aboriginal peoples they are working with and how cultural norms might impact upon their healthcare. This process evaluation reports how participants perceived the relevance of the Alice Springs Aboriginal cultural awareness training program and their attainment of course objectives, and it explores the qualitative feedback of participants.

A mixed methods approach was used to analyse previously collected data (2015–2020). Standard anonymous evaluation forms were used to collect quantitative data on perceived achievement of course objectives and the relevance of the program to participants as well as responses to open-ended questions. Quantitative data were summarised, and then, qualitative data were analysed through inductive thematic analysis, followed by content analysis.

Over 6 years, 2,081 people participated in the same cultural awareness program, which ran 133 times, with nearly all participants completing an evaluation form (97%). A high proportion of respondents reported that the program was relevant to their individual practice/workplace (consistently above 87%). Similarly, program objectives were reported as having been met (above 79% for each objective), and qualitative feedback was consistently positive. Many respondents learnt new information about the negative effects of colonisation on Aboriginal peoples and how this continues to affect current health. Learning about Aboriginal cultures, kinship relationships and systems, and communication styles was highly appreciated and identified as directly relevant to participants’ work practices.

The very high ratings of relevance and achievement of program objectives, plus highly positive feedback, suggests the program is meeting an important cultural awareness need in Central Australia.


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How to Cite

Rissel, C., Wilson, A., Richards, B., Ryder, C., & Bower, M. (2022). Process evaluation of a Central Australian Aboriginal cultural awareness training program (2015–2020) for health professionals and students . Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 23(2), 51–59. Retrieved from



Short Report