Theme Lead: Prof Sara Kenyon, University of Birmingham
Meet the Team:
|University of Birmingham||Birmingham Women's & Children's NHS Foundation Trust||University of Birmingham Matched Funding||University of Warwick|
Ms Jennifer Knight
Dr Gareth Owen
I am a Professor of Evidence Based Maternity Care and lead the Maternity Theme of the ARC WM. I am funded for 30% on the ARC and the other staff are funded full time. We have two other researchers (Dr Beck Taylor and Ms Fiona Cross-Sudworth) and one vacancy, which we are hoping to appoint to in the autumn- COVID 19 has halted progress with this. Ms Jennifer Knight is our administrator. Dr Gareth Owen is part of our team and works into it from the organisational theme (providing implementation science expertise).
The ARC WM is funded by the NIHR to facilitate researchers working closely with clinical practice to support evaluation of service innovations and implementation of improvements- we are all passionate about improving care for mothers and babies.
I am a midwife by background and, as well as leading the Maternity theme of ARC WM, I am the Chief Investigator for the HTA-funded High or Low Dose Syntocinon Trial (HOLDS) and iHOLDS trials. These are multi-centre, pragmatic, randomised, double blind controlled trials which will recruit women from 30 Maternity units to evaluate the effect on Caesarian Section rate of high dose regimen versus standard dose regimen oxytocin for women having their first child at term (37-42 weeks gestation) when it is used for delay and induction of labour.
I am a member of the 'MBRRACE-UK' collaboration appointed by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) to continue the national programme of work investigating maternal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths, including the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (CEMD). I am also part of the collaboration developing and implementing the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool to standardise review of perinatal death. I am an NIHR Advocate for career development in Midwifery and is Deputy Chair of the HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship Scheme Panel. I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Midwives.
I am a doctor by background and have worked in a wide range of hospital and community clinical areas. I then specialised in public health medicine, training in the East and West Midlands, undertaking a Master’s in Public Health, and deciding to move from public health practice to academic research around 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve completed a PhD looking at how community health workers improve health, and have become an honorary consultant in public health at Public Health England and Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine. I also had my two children during this time which galvanised my long-standing interest in maternity and women’s and children’s health.
I joined Sara’s Maternity Theme as a Clinical Research Fellow on the West Midlands CLAHRC (ARC’s predecessor) in 2014, and continue this role in the ARC. I use both qualitative and quantitative methods in my work, with the focus being finding the right methods to answer the questions that are important to women, babies and families. Highlights from the past few years include exploring how new maternity service models and policies work in practice (e.g. home birth, continuity of carer), developing rapid methods to get research findings to practice more quickly, and working with colleagues to use local and national routine data to better understand health and care patterns for women and babies. I’m currently leading our theme’s work exploring how we might improve pathways for babies suspected of having jaundice in the community.
Having completed my RGN, RM and BSc in Midwifery in Cardiff, I have had a variety of midwifery roles. These include hospital and community midwifery as well as project management at the West Midlands Perinatal Institute where I led a team developing an on-line standardised Trusts’ in-house review of perinatal deaths. This achieved a Highly Commended Health Service Journal award (Patient Safety category). During this time I completed an MSc in Women’s Health and was also an active member of the Perinatal Mortality Review Task and Finish Group (chaired by Tracey Johnston), which developed into the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool used in Trusts across the UK.
I returned to clinical practice in 2013 and later became homebirth team leader at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital when I also became a midwife panel member for MBRRACE perinatal death reviews. In 2017 I obtained a role at the University of Birmingham working initially on an evaluation of the implementation of Better Births recommendations by local maternity services and then in the Female Genital Mutilation (Sister) study. My current role is research fellow for ARC (West Midlands) and am now working on a variety of maternity research projects.