Leadership for Cultural Competence: Innovations at the Cutting Edge to Achieve Change

Professor Tawara D Goode MA, Director of the National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University

Co-presented with the National Centre for Cultural Competence at the University of Sydney

9 December, 2014

Cultural competence is becoming increasingly important in our globalised community. The values and understandings of cultural competence and the policies, structures and practices to sustain it are spreading into new geographic, academic and sectorial domains. As scholarly and social interest grows across the world, this forum brings together leaders in the space to discuss innovations at the cutting edge to achieve systemic change.

Proponents of cultural competence often describe it as being universally applicable across all aspects of the global society. At an individual level, the essential elements of cultural competence: 1) enable us to value the multiple dimensions of diversity; 2) foster an awareness of our own world view and that of others that may differ from our own; 3) require us to engage in self-reflection and examine how we interact and communicate with others – including our own biases; 4) strengthen our ability to participate ethically and effectively in intercultural settings; and 5) facilitate the capacity to imagine and collaborate across cultural boundaries. The academic and practical applications of cultural competence are indeed boundless.

From American trailblazer Professor Tawara Goode’s experiences of establishing perhaps the world’s first cultural competence thought centre to modern applications of the concept in unexpected settings like Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, cultural competence is spreading its wings. Come join our journey.


Professor Tawara Goode

Professor Tawara Goode is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She is also Director of the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, having led the Center for 17 of its 19 years in existence.

Professor Goode is a distinguished thought leader in the area of cultural and linguistic competency and has built the Georgetown National Center for Cultural Competence into an internationally recognised and award-winning program. She played a primary role in developing curricula, assessment instruments, professional development series and other resources that support cultural and linguistic competence across the United States and the world.

Russell Taylor

Russell Taylor is Principal (Chief Executive Officer), AIATSIS. a position he has held since 2009. He is a Kamilaroi man with family connection to La Perouse in Sydney and to traditional country in the New England area of NSW. Russell’s career spans includes decades in Senior Executive positions in the public service and foundational roles in not-for-profit sector. Currently, Russell is a member of the Council of the University of Technology Sydney, the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Advisory Council, and Charles Darwin University's Vice Chancellor's Indigenous Advisory Committee. Additionally, he is a board member of the Lowitja Institute and a member of the National Museum of Australia's Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Dr Jaime Gongora

Dr Jaime Gongora is Sub-Dean Indigenous Strategy, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Sydney. His areas of research interest are wildlife and animal genetics and genomics with relevance for animal conservation and management and evolutionary biology. He has published nearly 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers. He has more than 24 years of teaching experience including 14 years at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, during which time he has initiated novel teaching approaches including in research-led learning and teaching. In the last three years, Jaime has led reform within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander portfolio within his Faculty, including initiatives relating to curriculum development in cultural competence, various Indigenous Seminar Series, leadership courses for Indigenous students, Aboriginal artworks in teaching spaces, student support and academic mentoring.

Vanessa Lee

Vanessa Lee is a Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney. She is a descendant of the Wik and Meriam Nations and had led the integration of Indigenous content into the Health Sciences curriculum. Nationally, Vanessa advocates for Indigenous people as the first Vice President (Indigenous Health) of the National Public Health Association of Australia. She is a representative on the National Advisory Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Information and Data, and provides advice and advocates for improving the quality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander information. Vanessa’s overarching goal is to improve the efficacy and linkages of services for Indigenous Australians in an effort to close the gap.