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Alone Together

Understanding the experiences of older people from culturally and linguistic diverse community backgrounds during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everybody, but we know that its impact has been worse for older people who live independently. We also know that if you come from other countries or if English is your second language your social networks can sometimes be further away and physical distancing and lockdowns can make you feel isolated.

As part of the Alone Together project we are inviting older people from culturally and linguistic diverse communities to talk with one of our research team. We would like to know how COVID-19 has impacted your everyday life; how you are coping with these changes; and what type of services have been useful.

These conversations will help us to understand how to provide better support to older people from these communities in the future.

Find out more

Participant Information

Research team: Dr Ruth De Souza (RMIT University); Distinguished Professor Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University); Ms Maria Dimopoulos (Special Adviser, Multicultural Communities, Department of Justice & Community Safety); Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath (NARI); Ms Deidre Ellem (Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Consumer –Collaborative Pairs Program); Dr Barbara Barbosa Neves (Monash University); Ms Kate Renzenbrink (Bendigo Health and Clinical Reference Lead for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and Collaborative Pairs Program; Dr Jenny Waycott (University of Melbourne); Dr Juan Sanin (RMIT University).

Get involved

If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.



Ruth De Souza
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Art

Personal website

Dr Ruth De Souza (FACN) is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at RMIT, based in the School of Art and DCP Research Platform. She is a nurse, academic and a community-engaged researcher in gender, race, health and digital technologies. Ruth’s Fellowship will engage health professionals in finding new ways to understand, co-design and implement sustainable cultural safety initiatives in a range of health contexts in response to health inequities.

Prior to moving to Australia in 2013, Ruth worked at AUT University where she taught in the School of Nursing, led the Bachelor of Health Promotion, and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian and Migrant Health Research. Since her arrival in Australia, Ruth has undertaken a wide range of roles, including leading an undergraduate nursing program at Monash University’s Berwick campus; spearheading a unique community-engaged joint research appointment with North Richmond Community Health exploring how wearables and other digital technologies are perceived by people from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds and co-ordinating an interdisciplinary Data Systems and Society Research Network across the University of Melbourne. Ruth has also investigated the applicability of cultural safety in Australia, working closely with The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), presenting at their National Professional Development Conferences and delivering training on cultural safety. She has also undertaken a two-year cultural safety project with cohealth (a not-for-profit community health organisation) and Our Watch who work for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children.