NACCHO racism and Aboriginal health news: Support STAR Standing Together Against Racism in health


The STAR Project is about Standing Together Against Racism in health care and health professional education.

Tragically, racism remains common in Australian health services.

While there is an anti-racism strategy for sport, there is none yet for health where it affects Australia’s most vulnerable people.

Most health students and staff don’t like racism in health care.

However, they also tell us that they don’t quite know what to do when they see it – is it their responsibility, might there be retaliation, do they have the skills to handle it effectively?


The STAR Project gives all health students & staff members the chance to:-

ªMake a dignified, personal statement against racism
ªGain confidence & develop skills to handle racism
ªShow targets of racism that most health staff are their allies
ªHelp build a culture of anti-racism in health care

Racism Makes People Sick

The saying racism makes us sick is actually true, not just in the sense that most health students and staff are appalled by it.  Evidence clearly shows the patho-physiological pathway that links racism to stress and to poorer mental and physical health.  Smoking is not tolerated in health services as it is a health hazard.  So why racism is still tolerated?

People who are most targeted by racism are usually those who also most need health care. When people experience racism, they, their family & their community, are less likely to:-
ª  Trust health staff and fellow students
ª  Access education and health care
ª  Become true partners in their own education and health care

Where the STAR Project comes from

STAR was begun by students & staff at the Faculty of Medicine, Health & Molecular Sciences at James Cook University. They have come across many students & colleagues around Australia who wanted to do something to stop racism in health. So they initiated the STAR Project.

Racism demeans the work of decent health students and staff.  It makes study & workplace environments hostile for both the targets and bystanders of racism. The STAR Project acknowledges that staff may sometimes be the targets of racism from the public and that this can be hurtful.

However, this racism does not carry the power of racism coming from staff and it is racism in our own ranks that we can do something about.

ª The gold star symbolises hope for change

ª The stethoscope is a universal tool of the health professions

ª Each point stands for 1 word à Stand – Together – Against – Racism

ª It is a classy, little, 20 mm badge – anti-racists are the classiest!

ª For busy anti-racist – it is comes out of the wash untarnished

Wearing a little, gold badge will not get rid of racism in health on its own. Racism is endemic in health services & goes much deeper than the cruel, everyday racism that health students, staff and patients encounter. But, STAR is one way of bringing focus to racism in health care..

STAR supports Australia’s anti-racism strategy


STAR supports the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) new anti-racism strategy,   Racism: It Stops With Me. There is an anti-racism strategy for sport, but not for health. Health services should be safe places, free from discrimination, for patients, families, staff & students.

Health care should set an example, not lag behind in our greatest national challenge, to CLOSE THE GAP. It is hoped that STAR will support the great work of HRC & demonstrate to them that health students & staff have an appetite for an anti-racism strategy for health.

Show your support for the STAR Project

Our aim is to have 100 000 health staff and students wearing STAR badges on their lapels, lanyards and stethoscopes. We would like to see workplaces become racism unfriendly.

For more information, or to order  STAR  stickers, brochures. badges for lanyards & stethoscopes and mugs, for you or your students and fellow staff at the

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