Organisations in Focus


Image of Carrington Health residemts

healthAbility (previously Carrington Health) is a not-for-profit community health organisation based in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne with an independent board of directors. The organisation has supported their community with a wide range of allied and oral health services since it began in 1979, now supporting more than 10,000 individuals and their families every year.

healthAbility values collaboration and works closely with other services and organisations that share their vision and intent to create real and lasting change in the community.

Specialising in education and support for people with diabetes, our team were lucky enough to speak with the team at healthAbility to get the latest update regarding their innovative Not Scared of Sugar project and accreditation experiences.

Recently the Diabetes Research Foundation awarded healthAbility a grant to conduct Not Scared of Sugar, a pilot project designed to better educate Chinese Australian’s who are missing out on diabetes education services. The current practice of Chinese diabetes education relies heavily on western evidence-based educational material that has been translated into Chinese and offers little cultural specificity and Chinese modes of education.

healthAbility has employed a Chinese bi-cultural dietitian, Tammie Choi, who is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, to work specifically on tailoring diabetes care services for the local Chinese community. Tammie also brought skills from her doctoral research where she has used qualitative research methods to explore modes of culturally appropriate diabetes education for Chinese Australians.

Not Scared of Sugar is aimed at reducing the health inequalities experienced by Chinese Australians by providing diabetes management support and knowledge.

It is hypothesised that the modified diabetes education designed to align with the Chinese learning orientation will successfully attract high attendance from Cantonese-speaking Australians, support diabetes management knowledge uptake for self-care, and empower healthy lifestyle modifications for optimal glycemic control.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To develop a Chinese diabetes education program that employs culturally tailoring strategies identified in the literature and also draws on Tammie’s previous experience with the Chinese Life! program
  • To test the clinical effectiveness and impact of this program on diabetes management and client satisfaction, and
  • To explore cultural appropriateness of the designed program using qualitative research method.

The pilot project aims to recruit 50 Cantonese-speaking Chinese Australian people aged 18 years and over who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and who are currently seeing a GP for relative treatment. This includes an overall multi-session structure targeted at groups of around 15-20 people, given in a didactic delivery format with incorporation of Chinese-specific change-promoting strategies, conducted in the prevalent community language of Cantonese, and is cost free. The program will be delivered at Carrington Health in Box Hill targeting Cantonese-speaking people with type 2 diabetes from across the diabetes spectrum. From ages 18 to 75 years of age and living within the local area.

With a clear drive to make a difference, healthAbility are firm believers in quality and safety within their organisation. Accreditation with QIP has assisted in achieving, monitoring and evaluating quality and safety. In a bid to support organisation-wide improvement and service coordination, healthAbility aim to integrate all clinical governance and quality improvement initiatives across the relevant parts of the organisation.

They operate within the Victorian Healthcare Association’s clinic governance framework and maintain comprehensive quality improvement and risk management systems. Having achieved and retained full accreditation against the QIC Standards for six consecutive cycles, and additionally attained accreditation twice against the NSQHS Standards, healthAbility has experienced the numerous benefits that accreditation provides to an organisation. They have embedded a commitment to the provision of services that are safe and of high quality, delivered by staff who are trained and credentialed. Achieving multi-accreditation with QIP has ensured a range of quality improvement initiatives throughout the organisation. healthAbility as a whole has embraced the accreditation process as a quality improvement journey to identify and implement changes, with processes having led to increased opportunities, both for the community and staff.

Having achieved such great results to date, healthAbility’s future direction is based on the core of their organisation which is to meet their clients’ needs. This will be through constant focus on innovation and progress while continuing to build on proven successes like the Not Scared of Sugar program. They are proud to have a strong focus to lead improvement in care for people with chronic health issues. healthAbility will continue their leading work with diabetes, in particular working with their Chinese community, while supporting people with mental health issues to make healthy lifestyle decisions. healthAbility clients will continue to be top of mind as they extend their services and strive to achieve results that will continue to make a real difference for people at risk and the broader community.

Our QIP team thank healthAbility for sharing their story and look forward to learning the results of the Not Scared of Sugar project. To find out more about healthAbility, visit their website at