Ruth DeSouza

I am a nurse, writer, speaker and researcher with a passionate interest in culture and health. I have combined my academic career with governance and community involvement. I talk and write in popular and scholarly venues about mental health, maternal mental health, race, ethnicity, biculturalism, multiculturalism, settlement, refugee resettlement, and cultural safety.

I serve on the editorial boards of the Journal of Transcultural NursingThe Women’s Studies Journal (The Women’s Studies Association, NZ) and The Australian College of Nursing (ACN)’s Hive publication.

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I am the  Stream Leader for Research, Policy and Evaluation at the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH) , an organisation based at North Richmond Community Health Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

I contribute to other migration and health related activities through being a steering committee member of The Centre for Global Migrations Research Theme at Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand; an associate of the Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research
Te Pae Rangahau Tauhōkai Ahurea and a member of the Migration Research Network, hosted by eSocSci Hui Rangahau Tahi. I am also a member of: the Research Institute on Social Cohesion (Department of Premier and Cabinet, State Government of Victoria) and on the Scientific Committee of the 1st World Congress on Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Health – Diversity and Health, 17-19 May 2018 – Edinburgh, Scotland. I am also a member of the sub-working group on refugee women’s health within The Migrant and Refugee Women’s Health Initiative (a joint project by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Migration Council Australia) and  a reference group member of the Victorian Transcultural Mental Health Education and Service Development Consultancy at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

I am currently developing a program of research exploring the potential of consumer health technologies such as fitness trackers and “wearables” to enhance health literacy in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. To that end, I am a member of the Nurse Informatics Community of Interest (The Australian College of Nursing), Health Informatics Society Australia (HISA) and Nursing Informatics Australia (NIA). It builds on my teaching of communication in under-graduate curricula and my keen interest in healthism and responsibilisation. Specifically, the requirement to take up health-promoting activities as a moral obligation, and how neoliberalism governs individuals by inciting them to take up particular attributes which are then internalised and used by individuals to govern themselves. You can read more on my research page.

I’ve recently done a fun guest role on Maori language cooking show Cam’s Kai, been a guest on the Life Matters show on Radio National, Australia talking about smells and culture, and been interviewed by my colleagues Matt Loads and Amir Ansari for The Health Literacy Podcast. If you are interested in culture and perinatal health, check out this webinar produced by Jean Hailes where I was a panel member. Here are links to interviews with Women’s Agenda, the Inner North West Primary Care Partnership’s Under the Spotlight and The Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Association (AWGSA). 

blog on this site and aim to contest the representation of racialised ethnic identities in the public sphere and offer an alternative to dominant discourses.  Tseen Khoo has added me to the blog roll of Asian voices in Australia, a list for “savvy, highly intelligent, research-oriented newcomers”.  I am also the founder and moderator of the Aotearoa Ethnic Network (AEN), a multiple award winning email list that connects New Zealanders interested in the “ethnic” question.

My work explores alternative frames such as postcolonial feminist theory and cultural safety, that highlight the political economy of colonisation, and racialisation. As a migrant who has grown up and been professionally socialised in a settler context, I see indigenous rights as a fundamental basis for a broader social justice agenda to eliminate health inequities.

You can contact me at ruth at ruthdesouza.com