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Every family matters

GenV is a research project like no other in Australia.  

GenV aims to be statewide and available in all Victorian birthing hospitals in 2021 and the project is committed to its principle of inclusivity. That means it is our goal to invite every parent of every baby born in Victoria over a two-year period – no matter where in Victoria they live, who they are or what language they speak. 

GenV is learning much from its initial site at Joan Kirner Women’s & Children’s at Sunshine Hospital. Here GenV field staff have started to invite families to take part in GenV in five languages other than English.  

GenV materials, including participant information and explainer videos, have been translated into the five most interpreted languages other than English at Joan Kirner Women’s & Children’s at Sunshine Hospital – Arabic, Burmese, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese, explains GenV Project Officer Danah Hourani. 

Approaching families who are welcoming their newborn into this world, and communicating in their primary language, has allowed GenV to connect with many diverse families.

Our team offers familiar mannerisms, local idioms, and friendly faces in this precious time around birth, in a place where they do not speak the local language,” she said 

Danah – whose role with GenV involves the language and translation program – said that it’s important that GenV reflects the diversity of the population so we can understand how ethnicity, culture and langue impact on children’s health and wellbeing. 

“This is why it is so important for the GenV framework to reflect the diversity of backgrounds in Victoria. As a bilingual Australian/Jordanian health researcher, I think it is critical that GenV improves the status quo of linguistic and cultural inclusivity to be truly representative of the state of Victoria in its diverse entirety,” she said. 

GenV Deputy Director Policy and Equity, Professor Sharon Goldfeld, agrees.  

“These initial language translations efforts are part of GenV’s broader program of meaningful engagement and inclusivity to address inequities in population health outcomes. 

Many research projects lack the resources to factor in measures that are inclusive of all populationoften excluding families from non-English speaking backgrounds or families living in rural and regional areas. As such GenV is particularly important for groups often missed in public health research such as culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 

GenV can only achieve its aims of reducing the burden of common childhood health problems such as asthma, food allergies, obesity and mental illness by meaningfully inviting everyone – all newborn babies born in Victoria and their parents – to take part in GenV,” she said.