Associate Professor Anna Ziersch has always been in a hurry to help end discrimination.
“Even as a child I got really upset about people discriminating against others and how distressing it was for people to experience prejudice,” she said.
Associate Professor Ziersch has examined at the impact of marginalisation on groups from various social, economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In a current study, she is looking at the discrimination faced by people people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds with HIV.
She is also looking at the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers settling in Australia, working in partnership with organisations operating in the housing and health industries.
“Based on their race and ethnicity, some refugees are facing discrimination when trying to enter the housing market, being told a rental house is off the market, only to find it still on the market weeks later,” Associate Professor Ziersch.
“This can have a huge impact on their first experiences settling here.
“What is already a stressful experience becomes even more so when these kinds of things happen.
“Experiencing discrimination and the associated stress it causes can have a direct physiological impact, with heightened adrenalin and other stress chemicals overloading the body. It can also mean that people begin to avoid places where they may experience discrimination, which can also be harmful to their opportunities and wellbeing.”
While acknowledging that there is still a long way to go on these issues, Associate Professor Ziersch is nonetheless determined to play a leading role in tackling the issue and has already seen her work incorporated by policy-makers across the globe.