Maternal Health and Wellbeing
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Lead researchers

Professor Helen Spiby, Professor of Midwifery

Helen is a midwife and internationally recognised health services researcher with longstanding research interests in preparation for and care during labour

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Helen is committed to involving users of maternity services at all stages of the research process and, with colleagues, has established a local service user group for maternity research. Another of Helen’s key interests is to build research capacity in midwifery, including supporting midwives with early career research awards right through to Masters and doctoral supervision.  

Helen has experience of working across agencies including the NHS, third sector, Sure Start and children’s centres in research and evidence-based practice initiatives, as well as working with groups representing childbearing women. She previously served as a member of the NICE Guidelines Advisory Committee on its inception in 2000 and as chair for the NICE Guideline Review Panel for maternal and infant guidelines. She is also currently a member of the NCT Research Advisory Group.  

Helen is a member of the International Confederation of Midwives Research Advisory Group and holds honorary appointments as Senior Midwife in Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and an Honorary Chair at the University of Queensland.

Email: helen.spiby@nottingham.ac.uk

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Dr Denis Walsh, Associate Professor in Midwifery

Denis was born and brought up in Queensland, Australia but trained as a midwife in Leicester, UK and has worked in a variety of midwifery environments over the past 25 years. 

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Denis' PhD was on the Birth Centre model and he lectures on evidence and skills for normal birth internationally. He is widely published on midwifery issues and normal birth and authored the best-selling book Evidence & Skills for Normal Labour and Birth. His current research explores why fewer women use midwifery units.

Email: denis.walsh@nottingham.ac.uk

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Dr Jane Morrell, Associate Professor in Health Research

Jane graduated with a BSc in Nursing, qualified as a health visitor, gained her MPhil at The University of Nottingham and achieved her PhD at the University of Sheffield. 

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Jane was principal investigator (PI) for Health Technology Assessment (HTA) commissioned and funded randomised controlled trials and economic evaluations of postnatal social support and the PoNDER trial, published in the British Medical Journal and as HTA monographs. 

Jane supervises PhDs relating to perinatal mental health and is also involved in the implementation of the PoNDER trial health visitor training.

Email: jane.morrell@nottingham.ac.uk

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Professor Gina Higginbottom MBE, Mary Seacole Professor of Ethnicity and Community Health 

Gina is an alumna of the Nottingham School of Nursing and completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield. Her clinical career as a nurse, midwife and health visitor spans 22 years and she is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards.

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Gina’s research portfolio focuses on ethnic minority populations and immigrant health. She particularly specialises in the broad issue of social exclusion and equity in healthcare, lay understandings of health and illness, chronic disease management in primary care, self-care strategies, the cultural congruence of health care services, access and utilisation of healthcare services, and ethnic and cultural diversity in care giving.  

A second and major theme in her research portfolio is international migration and maternity, including parenting issues, early parenthood and postnatal depression in different ethnic minority groups, and experiences of diverse ethnocultural groups during access to maternal healthcare services.

Gina’s most recent book, co-edited with Pranee Liamputtong, is Participatory Qualitative Research Methodologies in Health

Email: gina.higginbottom@nottingham.ac.uk

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Other researchers in the group 

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Dr Julie McGarry, Associate Professor and Academic Lead for Adult Community Team

Julie is an established researcher in the field of gender-based violence and domestic violence and abuse, with a focus towards survivors’ experience of abuse and the development of effective healthcare professionals’ responses. 

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Julie has led on a number of locally and nationally funded research initiatives, including working within the UK to develop domestic violence services for older women and exploring novel approaches to domestic violence identification and management within healthcare contexts. Her current research focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of specialist domestic violence support workers.

Email: julie.mcgarry@nottingham.ac.uk

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Dr Pippa Hemingway, Assistant Professor in Nursing Children and Young People

Pippa’s research interests focus on parental emergency department attendance for common childhood illnesses. Her expertise lies in predictive work with parents of emergency department attenders and an equitable group using primary and/or urgent care services. 

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Currently, Pippa's work surrounds parental decision making to predict parents seeking care at emergency departments. The findings of her work have informed national policy and guidance and has helped develop parent-centred services within the emergency care environment.

Email: pippa.hemingway@nottingham.ac.uk

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Dr Alison Edgley, Associate Professor of Social Sciences in Health 

Alison’s background is in social and political theory. Her current research is a qualitative study exploring the meanings and experiences of working mothers. Alongside this, she has an interest in mental health and ‘recovery’. 

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Alison has completed a number of collaborations involving teaching sociology and philosophy to nurses, Sure Start, air quality, quality of life with cancer and neonate nursing and medicine administration.

Email: alison.edgley@nottingham.ac.uk

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Dr Catrin Evans, Associate Professor/Director of Internationalisation 

Catrin is a registered nurse and has worked in the HIV/AIDS field since 1990. She also has a background in social anthropology and public health, and spent 1993-2003 working as a researcher and public health consultant in South and South East Asia. 

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Catrin’s research expertise lies primarily in qualitative research and evaluation methodologies, particularly ethnography, case study design and systematic review. Her teaching and research interests lie in two main areas: HIV/AIDS, with a particular focus on community-based approaches to HIV prevention and testing; and international health, particularly on the internationalisation of healthcare higher education.

Email: catrin.evans@nottingham.ac.uk

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Dr Bernie Divall, Research Fellow in Maternity Care

Bernie completed her PhD at the University of Warwick Business School, in which she explored narratives of identity in midwifery clinical leadership.  

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Prior to this Bernie worked as a clinical midwife in Nottingham and Lincoln, having trained at the University of Hertfordshire. Her current research explores birth plans and the views and experiences of midwives.

Email: bernadette.divall@nottingham.ac.uk

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Anita Hughes, Research Fellow

Anita has expertise in statistics and psychology and is currently involved in a research project exploring women’s expectations and experiences of membrane rupture

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Dr Julie Roberts, Research Fellow in Maternity Care

Julie studied at Aston University (BSc Psychology and Social Studies) before completing her MA and PhD in Women's Studies at the University of York. 

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Julie has previously worked at the University of Wolverhampton and the University of Warwick. Her key research interest has been in public representations of obstetric ultrasound and ultrasound images, and women's experiences of ultrasound in pregnancy. She is currently leading a research project that looks at the roles and experiences of men during the first phase of their partner’s labour.

Email: julie.roberts@nottingham.ac.uk

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Sara de Benedictis, Research Fellow

Sara is a research fellow at The University of Nottingham working on the Wellcome Trust funded project, Televising Childbirth. Sara recently completed her ESRC funded PhD at King's College London. 

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Sara’s research interests include the maternal, class, austerity and media.

Email: Sara.DeBenedictis@nottingham.ac.uk

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Dawn Coleby, Senior Research Fellow

Upon completion of her PhD in 2004, Dawn worked on a variety of public health projects at the University of Leicester. In June 2014 she accepted the position of Research Fellow at the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit, and worked on the development of tools to improve the selection of NHS sites for clinical trials.

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Dawn is now a Senior Research Fellow within the Division of Midwifery at The University of Nottingham, and her research interests are:

  • mixed methods research
  • midwifery-led units
  • recognition of stroke symptoms

Dawn has also co-authored a number of journal articles and is an active reviewer for the BJGP.

Email: dawn.coleby@nottingham.ac.uk

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Dr Celia Grigg, Research Fellow

Celia is a midwife and recently completed her PhD on a midwifery-led unit birthplace study in New Zealand. She now works as a Research Fellow on the Midwifery Units project. Her research interests include mixed methods research, birthplace, maternity system organisation, continuity of care and women’s experience of birth/maternity care.

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Celia has published journal articles, written a midwifery textbook chapter (antenatal care) and is a reviewer for four midwifery journals.

Email: celia.grigg@nottingham.ac.uk

 

Dr Phoebe Pallotti, Associate Professor 

Phoebe is a midwife and a medical anthropologist with experience in national and international maternity and public health research. 

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Maternal Health and Wellbeing Research Group

The University of Nottingham
School of Health Sciences
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA


telephone: +44 (0)115 823 0820
email: helen.spiby@nottingham.ac.uk