Ms Alison Coelho1, Dr Shanton Chang2, Dr Georgia Babatsikos3, Mr Budi Sudarto4
1Centre For Culture, Ethnicity And Health, Richmond, Australia, 2School of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne, Carlton, Australia, 3School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia, 4Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council, South Yarra, Australia
As numbers of international students across Australia continue to rise, the issues concerning their sexual and reproductive health are becoming ever more so pronounced. Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies are arguably among the major concerns faced by this demographic. Health problems, related to STIs and unplanned pregnancies are exacerbated by the lack of knowledge to navigate the Australian health system, late diagnoses and a range of other social and emotional challenges that many international students face. This includes difficulties in getting appropriate support, weak social networks, fear of communicating some of their health-related issues to friends and family etc. This points to the fact that sexual and reproductive health needs to be discussed holistically and include students’ mental health and broader social context.
More recently, the university and community sectors as well as some private health insurance providers finally started to discuss the urgency of a united approach, which would increase international students’ awareness of issues that concern their sexual and reproductive health and make the work of service providers more accountable. The work is far from being completed.
The panel will provide a space for discussion about the major challenges observed by the community health and university sectors in regards to sexual and reproductive health of international students. Presenters will talk about some already existing good practice models in the community, and identify the major concerns that will need to be addressed in the future.
Biographies of panelists:
Alison Coelho is the Acting Co-Executive Manager of the Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health (CEH).She is the founding member and Chair of the new Australian Multicultural BBV/STI Alliance (AMBA) and the Co-chair of AFAO’s African Reference Group. She is also a coordinator of the International Student Sexual Health Network.
Assoc Professor Shanton Chang is an ISANA life member and an academic at The University of Melbourne. His latest project in international students’ online behaviour has been published and presented internationally. He was also previously Assistant Dean (International) at the Melbourne School of Engineering.
Georgia Babatsikos is a lecturer at Deakin University in Health Promotion Program.Her experience includes community based research on HIV/SITs, pregnancy prevention, SIDS prevention and tobacco prevention. She is the founder of the International Student Sexual Health Network, a national network which addresses research, policy and practice issues to improve sexual health and wellbeing outcomes for international university students.
Budi Sudarto is the Vice President of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council (AGMC Inc.). He is a former international student who is also an active advocate for LGBTIQ inclusive practice in the international education sector. Budi is the founder of Ananda Training & Consultancy offering LGBTIQ inclusive training.