Photo by Jessica Sexton

I first immersed myself in public health when I studied health psychology in my undergraduate psychology degree. The top-down view of the psychological, behavioural, social, and structural determinants of health and healthcare captivated me like nothing else.

I completed my Honours thesis in reproductive decision-making, studying young people’s knowledge of how age affects fertility and the effectiveness of IVF (by the way, their knowledge is fairly poor — but we showed it can be improved). I then worked at The University of Queensland’s Centre for Mothers and Babies, funded by the State Government, co-developing a range of resources to support women to make decisions about their care in pregnancy, labour, and birth.

I moved into clinical epidemiology in 2012, working in perinatal health with focus on stillbirth. I’ve collaborated with the world experts in this space, and we’ve made enormous progress to ensure stillbirth is squarely on the global health agenda. A big milestone was the highly-influential 2016 Lancet series on ‘Ending Preventable Stillbirths’, in which I co-authored two articles and drafted the series executive summary. This series continues to impact policy at national and international levels including in Australia where, through a national Senate Inquiry, it helped shape Federal policy recommendations around stillbirth prevention and care.

My PhD looked at a complex challenge many ‘still parents’ face: the next pregnancy. It showed striking gaps in care-provision and in research in this area.

I’ve collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), The US Agency for International Development (USAID), and many professional associations and academic institutions. I’ve worked closely with the International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA) in a research and advocacy capacity.

I am the lead author on six international scientific studies in perinatal health and evidence-based medicine, and co-author on 25+ other national and international research projects across psychology and maternal and newborn health.

I am also hugely passionate about taking science to those to whom it matters most. As well as my scientific journal publications, I have co-authored reports to WHO and State Government, and articles in The Conversation AU, and written plain-language research summaries, blogs, podcast scripts, and website, app, and social media content. I’ve spoken at national and international conferences, meetings, and fora.

To see/read my work in the health and science communication space, visit media, or check out my podcast Sister Doctor Squared.

I am now an honorary research fellow at The University of Queensland. I work as an independent consultant, partnering with universities and organisations to improve maternal and perinatal health outcomes using high-quality evidence, and to communicate that evidence to decision-makers and stakeholders. Visit consulting for more information.

I live on Turrbul and Jagera country in Brisbane/Meeanjin, Australia, with my partner, and a very sweet Russian Blue.