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Despite the health services’ best efforts, there is significant variation in the standard of care provided to families, women and their newborns. The Maternal, Newborn and Women’s CAG has been created to bring a multidisciplinary group together across academic, healthcare and community to improve the outcomes for women, babies and their families across Australia and the world.

Together, we’re looking at education, clinical practice, service delivery, consumer engagement and research. We’re creating new evidence and translating current evidence into practice. We’re coming at maternal, newborn and women’s health from every avenue, to ensure every woman and newborn baby gets the best available care. 

As a new collaboration, the timing of birth study is our initial focus. This has significant implications for women, babies and the health system.

Activity

The Timing of Birth Study
While there are guidelines on planned caesarean section and induction of labour, there’s little clarity on how well these guidelines are put into practice. There is also unexplained variation in the frequency of planned caesarean sections and labour inductions between hospitals. This suggests that evidence-based recommendations are not always put into practice.

To improve the uptake of these recommendations, we’re conducting a study across 8 hospitals in the South East and South West Sydney region.

Through our research, we’re:

  • Comparing current practices to national and global guidelines
  • Identifying variations in care and treatment and why they take place
  • Addressing what helps or hinders hospitals from using evidence-based practice.

We’ll use these insights to co-design interventions with the participating hospitals to address evidence-practice gaps.
Lead: Dr Dominiek Coates.
 

The High-Risk Pregnancy Study
This study is co-creating models of care and service pathways for women who develop, or are at risk of developing, physical or mental health problems during pregnancy.

We aim to:

  • Map the woman’s journey from the start of pregnancy and for some before pregnancy, to 6 weeks post partum
  • Co-design and implement models of care that improve the healthcare journey and outcomes for these women and their babies
  • Evaluate what impact these pathways have on the physical and mental health of women, and their babies
  • Evaluate the impact these pathways have on women’s satisfaction, staff satisfaction and service cost
  • Look at ways we can translate our findings across services.

This is led by one of our partner organisations – the Women’s Health Initiative Translational Unit at the South Western Sydney Local Health District. The aim is to create an internationally recognised women’s health centre that maximises women’s health and wellbeing.

Leads: Professor Virginia Schmied and Professor Hannah Dahlen
 

The Blood Pressure Postpartum (BP2) Study
This study is evaluating 3 follow-up strategies for women whose pregnancies were complicated by high blood pressure, aiming to improve women’s cardiovascular health. This will include lifestyle behaviour change strategies as a focus. Follow-up will take place in the first 12 months post partum.

We are recruiting 500 women from 5 hospitals over a 12 to 18 month period. Recruitment commenced January 2019.

Lead: Dr Amanda Henry.
 

Living the embedded researcher Study
This study is mapping the role of the embedded researcher in Australian healthcare settings and describing the diversity of positions, aims, expectations, outcomes, strengths and challenges, and infrastructural supports.  We have defined an embedded researcher as someone with research qualifications who works for at least 30% of their time in a healthcare organisation and has research or research capacity building as part of their role. This study will gain insight into the enablers and challenges of the embedded research model/role from the perspective of embedded researchers. The ultimate aim is to identify key elements of context and underlying mechanisms that enable embedded researchers to achieve outcomes within a health setting. The strengths and limitations of the embedded research model is not well understood, and this study contributes to our understanding of how this model can best achieve success.

Led by Dr Dominiek Coates at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Team

Our team is made up of senior professionals from applied basic science to clinical practice and health systems and services as well as consumer representatives. Our work combines the intelligence and resources of South Western and South East Sydney Local Health Districts, The University of Technology Sydney, UNSW Sydney and Western Sydney University. Within the Universities and Health Districts, our research is conducted via a number of units with expertise in women’s health, including The National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (located in The Centre for Big Data Research in Health and School of Women’s and Children’s Health of UNSW), the Faculty of Health, The Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health at UTS, the Obstetric Medicine Research Group at St George Hospital, and the Women’s Health Initiative Translational Unit at Liverpool Hospital.

Our members are also involved in a range of state and national activities and bring this experience and knowledge to our work. This includes the NHMRC Council, NHMRC peer review process, National Pregnancy Guidelines development, membership on national data and perinatal morbidity and mortality committees, workforce planning at a state and national level, and other committees and working parties.

Vision

Together, we will improve outcomes for women, babies, and their families across Sydney and throughout Australia

Impact
Networks Support Education

Strong cross-collaboration with other Maridulu Budyari Gumal CAGs, national councils and committees will ensure our work has greater reach across the healthcare system.

We support knowledge translation, implementation science capacity and capability across our networks and agencies. To do this, we bolster the work of Local Health District clinicians, managers, clinical redesign leaders, and students in clinical research or implementation science activities.

Our clinical research internships support clinicians to build research skills and literacy. Interns build skills in translational research, implementation science and evidence-based practice. They act as research champions in maternity services, bridging the gap between evidence and practice.

Give women and babies the best care:

For more information on our work, please contact Teena Clerke, Project Officer.