CM Health Asian staff reflect our diverse community

Our Asian workforce has steadily grown over the last four years and now represents 34% of our total workforce.

“We have a more diverse workforce than ever. Staff who identify as Asian can come from completely different languages and cultures, with very different migration and professional experiences and they all add immensely to the makeup and expertise of our workforce. This contributes to a better experience of care for our patients, of whom 27% are Asian,” says Elizabeth Jeffs, Director Human Resources.

Among this staff group, 46% are full time, 40% are part time and 14% are casual workers. Most are working in Nursing, Corporate and other areas, and in Care and Support.

A breakdown of ethnicities reveals that 43% are Indian, 28% Filipino, 17% Chinese, 3% Korean, 1% Vietnamese and Cambodian and 8% are from other diverse ethnicities.

“Our staff have extensive language and cultural skills that they use to connect with our patients and deliver better care,” says Asian Health Gain Advisor Kitty Ko.

“Throughout the years we’ve seen an increase in Asian staff. There are some specific trends as well: most of our Asian nurses are Filipino and Indian, we are seeing more Korean doctors, fewer Chinese social workers and more Chinese psychologists.”

According to Kitty Ko, the key health concerns of the Counties Manukau Health Asian population that staff need to be aware of are related to mental health, screening programmes (breast, bowel, cervical), flu vaccination, diabetes, heart condition and oral health. There is also a lack of understanding, especially among new migrants, about how to access the health system.  

To address some of these issues, Kitty Ko has set up an Asian network with over 200 members (most of which are CM Health staff, NGOs and students) who meet regularly to present findings and share services available to the community as well as discuss solutions and ideas.

The group also attracts students to mentor and create a pathway for Asian students to join the CM Health workforce. A recent example was the appointment of Angela Hann as Youth Consumer Advisor. Angela had previously worked as a Community Engagement Coordinator for the Asian Community Flu Fighters, a community engagement programme led by the Asian Health team that has this year, in partnership with Life Pharmacy/Unichem Pakuranga and the Auckland Chinese Medical Association has vaccinated over 900 people.

“We also run cultural celebrations throughout the year at CM Health to acknowledge our diverse staff and their contribution as well as to inform other staff about all the different cultures and their celebrations. Lunar New Year and Diwali are part of our calendar and next year we will be also celebrating Barrio Fiesta, a Filipino commemoration,” says Kitty Ko.

Pictured: Taiwanese CM Health rotational physiotherapist Elim Chen

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