Examining the unmet oral health care needs of older immigrants from culturally and linguistically diverse populations (The EURECA project)


  • Dr Della Maneze
  • Dr Christine Metusela
  • Prof Yenna Salamonson
  • Prof Judy Mullan
  • Dr Cynthia Valderrama
  • Prof Ajesh George 


UOW: University of Wollongong 

CHRISP: Centre for Health Research Illawara Shoalhaven Population 

WSU: Western Sydney University

Project Overview

Health systems providing oral healthcare services vary widely among different countries which can be challenging for immigrant populations in understanding, navigating and accessing health services. In 2019, the population of international immigrants worldwide was 272 million, an increase of almost 20% since 2010. Similar to other Western countries, Australia has become a truly multicultural country with 27% of its population born overseas. In recent times, Australia observed an increasing trend towards migration of people over 65 years and globally, ageing of the migrant populations added to the increasing concern for the overall health of older people, especially oral health wherein the link with overall health is well recognised. 

The prevalence of oral health problems and diseases rise steadily across the lifespan and addressing these issues in the older people has become an urgent priority. These challenges are further compounded by language and sociocultural barriers experienced by many migrants especially those who belong to the older age group. Older immigrants’ perception of oral health needs and preference for care are steeped in cultural beliefs, practices and values that can be a challenge to oral healthcare workers in the destination country. In addition, psychosocial factors such as socioeconomic difficulties, poor social support, lack of access to transport and personal resources, and health factors such as physical and mental co-morbidities heighten the disadvantages experienced by older immigrants. These factors contribute to their disproportionate vulnerability compared to the general population which behove the health services to explore effective health interventions and strategies to promote oral health among older immigrant populations. 

Aims & Objectives

Few studies have looked at a holistic framework to promote oral health of older immigrants. Broadly, this research aims to examine the factors affecting oral healthcare and oral healthcare utilisation of older immigrant populations and identify gaps in service delivery. More specifically, this study aims to:  

  • Examine and explore oral healthcare awareness (literacy), cultural beliefs and traditional practices of older immigrants impacting on oral health 
  • Synthesise evidence on: factors impacting on oral healthcare utilisation of this population group and examine interventions that have been implemented through the lens of implementation science.  
  • Evaluate current oral healthcare utilisation of older immigrant populations and identify areas of need. 
  • Develop a framework to inform an intervention to increase oral health literacy and self-efficacy of older immigrants through a co-design process. 

Proposed Plan 


Project type

Phase 1

Systematic review and Retrospective oral health service review

Phase 2

Survey and qualitative study

Phase 3

Intervention development through a co-design process

Phase 4

Pilot Implementation and evaluation

Research Output

To see the various outputs from the program, please navigate to the pages below:

Publications Presentations Awards Training resources Oral health promotion resources

Alignment with ACIOH’s themes


People-centred strategies:

Ageing Population

Evaluating oral health literacy of older immigrants