Dispelling taboos, myths, and misinformation about health in the Australian multicultural community

Dr Angraj Khillan changes lives by delivering healthcare and health education to culturally diverse communities in Australia.

He says one health care delivery system cannot meet the needs of the multicultural community. “We need to change the system.”

In 2018, Khillan co-founded the Healthcare Awareness Society of Australia (HASA), a not-for-profit working to create awareness in the multicultural community of Australia of health-related issues which he says are poorly understood due to lack of awareness or cultural taboos.

HASA implements preventative programs and develops awareness material and encourages Australians to “change unhealthy habits and lifestyles through capacity building, interactive learning, and continuous support and guidance, in turn seeking changes in national health policies according to the healthcare need of the multicultural society.”

Its volunteers deliver forums and virtual sessions in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and Arabic on topics including mental health and COVID-19 vaccinations.

Khillan has 25 years of experience in India, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, UK, and Australia. He also created Victoria’s only combined Women’s and Children’s Health Clinic. Western Specialist Centre (WSC) provides services from multiple locations and now has 25 specialists providing a wide range of services to the multicultural community.

After migrating to Australia in 2004 and becoming the Royal Darwin Hospital’s paediatrician in 2007, Khillan participated in the fly-in fly-out paediatric service for Aboriginal children in remote communities.

Read more: Breaking the stigma of mental health in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

He also worked to raise awareness of domestic violence and dowry abuse and has been raising funds for philanthropy in India, East Timor and Australia.

In November, Khillan was the Victorian state recipient of the 2023 Australian of the Year Award and is now a nominee for the national Award, which will be presented in Canberra next week on Wednesday 25 January.

You can watch at 7:30pm (AEDT) on ABC and iView.

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