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Debra Bick

debraProfessor of Clinical Trials in Maternal Health

Who I am and my role at WMS

I am Professor of Clinical Trials in Maternal Health, and commenced my post in February 2019. My role is to lead on a new maternity research theme within Warwick Clinical Trials Unit and provide support to develop and support research alongside colleagues at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwick (UHCW). My research programme focuses on the impact of pregnancy and birth on maternal and infant physical and psychological health, the interest in this area increasing due to evidence of impact on health over the life-course. I currently lead/collaborate on several multi-centre clinical trials and studies which aim to inform if and how interventions during the perinatal period can lead to better outcomes for women, their infants and families, and for the NHS. My research interests include support for postnatal weight management, the management of women who have more medically complex pregnancies, breastfeeding interventions, the role of the multi-disciplinary team in medically complex pregnancies and systems and organisation of maternity services. In addition to my primary research, I have published systematic reviews on a range of relevant topics. I am Editor in Chief of the journal ‘Midwifery', Chair of the RCOG intrapartum care clinical studies group, and a member of several national NIHR, NHSE, NMPA advisory groups and panels.

What attracted me to join WMS

WMS were keen to develop maternity research in the Clinical Trials Unit, to reflect and support the very successful reproductive health work stream which runs across WMS and University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwick. The CTU had already successfully secured funding for multi-centre trials in obstetric and maternity care, and from a strategic perspective, were keen to build on this success. I had completed my masters and PhD work in Birmingham, and was keen to move back to the Midlands after spending the last 10 years commuting to King’s College London where I was a Professor in the Department of Women and Children’s Health. This was an ideal opportunity for me to move nearer to home to work in a high profile clinical trials unit, providing access to all of the methodological expertise and programme support I need to run large trials, as well as provide links to clinical colleagues working in primary and secondary care services, to support my research programme.

My experiences at WMS so far

Everyone from academic to support staff have been very welcoming. I have already made contact with colleagues across WMS who are keen to collaborate and share their ideas and plans for maternity research and have already attended staff development days, for example to advise on supervision of medical student projects. It’s been great to find out how many other colleagues within WMS are interested in this area, so I feel very enthusiastic about the potential to increase and build a maternity care research theme which attracts national and international funding and profile. The links I’m developing with clinical teams at UHCW, in midwifery and obstetrics, is informing areas for future research which in addition to highlighting priority clinical questions, will provide an excellent insight into issues relevant to research implementation. I am also very excited about the potential to develop initiatives to be considered for inclusion in programmes for Coventry’s City of Culture in 2021.