Mercy Health

The partnership between Mercy Health and La Trobe University develops world-class, evidence-based services to improve health and safety, the patient experience and patient wellbeing.

The partnership is supported by experts that translate research findings at the clinical interface, education that connects clinical professionals with tertiary students and academics, and an overarching commitment to provide compassionate healthcare.

The vision and values of the partnership are to provide leadership in clinical nursing and midwifery; to lead in person-centred, evidence-based clinical care; and to be an attractive workplace with supportive, compassionate, educated and skilled staff.

About Mercy Health

Mercy Health offers acute and subacute hospital care, aged care, mental health programs, specialist women’s healthcare, early parenting services, palliative care, home and community care, and staff training and development. World-class research is undertaken across a range of clinical areas to improve the way we deliver care and support for people in need.

Mercy Health hospitals are fully accredited by National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, a mandatory set of standards established by the Australian Government for all public and private hospitals. Hospitals are measured against criteria including patient-centred care, medication management, clinical handover, infection prevention and staff education.

It also contributes to the following state and national healthcare initiatives:

  • Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare The Commission coordinates national improvements in healthcare safety and quality.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Established by the Australian Government, this major national agency provides information and statistics on Australia's health status.
  • Safer Care Victoria Victoria’s healthcare quality and safety improvement specialist body advises all levels of government on healthcare safety, improvement and innovation.
  • Women's Healthcare Australasia Mercy Health is part of this non-profit community of more than 120 women's hospitals and maternity units throughout Australia. It supports maternity hospitals and healthcare services to achieve excellence in clinical care of women and newborns.


The partnership between Mercy Health and La Trobe University aims to create an evidence base for health service provision.

By incorporating consumers and healthcare professionals into research programs, the partnership is relevant and responsive, improving the patient experience and patient outcomes.

The research program encompasses:

  • Evidence-based, person-centred care
  • Exploring the impacts of the rising rates of induction of labour
  • Developing shared decision making for induction of labour
  • Exploring risk factors for perineal injury in childbirth
  • Exploring risk factors for post-partum haemorrhage
  • Evaluating the long COVID peer support group


Clinical education prepares students to become work-ready graduates. Mercy Health works closely with La Trobe University to ensure that students receive quality professional learning experiences that complement critical teaching content, integrate theory with application, and ensure students gain essential working knowledge of current industry practice.

Professor Christine East coordinates the Master of Midwifery and the Professional Doctorate of Midwifery.

  • Flenady V, Gardener G, Ellwood D, Coory M, Weller M, Karrilow KA, Middleton PF, Wojcieszek AM, Groom KM, Boyle FM, East CE, Lawford HLS, Callandar E, Said J, Walker SP, Mohamed K, Andrews C, Gordon A, Norman JE, Crowther C.  My Baby’s Movements: a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised controlled trial of a fetal movement awareness intervention to reduce stillbirths. BJOG 2022. 129(1): 29-41.  Read the paper
  • Mesbah M, Khlif M, Layeghy S, East C, Dong S, Brodtmann A, Colditz P, Boashash B.  Automatic fetal movement recognition from multi-channel accelerometry data. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine. 2021:210: 06377. Read the paper
  • Riggs E, … East CE, et al. Group Pregnancy Care for refugee background women: a co-designed, multi-method evaluation protocol applying a community engagement framework and an interrupted time series design. BMJ Open 2021. 11(7):e048271. Read the paper
  • Snow G, Melvin G, Boyle J, Gibson-Helm M, East CE, McBride J, Gray K. Perinatal psychosocial assessment of women of refugee background. Women and Birth 2021. 34(3): e302-8. Read the paper
  • East CE, Davey M-A, Kamlin CO, Davis PG, Sheehan PM, Kane SC, Brennecke SP, on behalf of The Flamingo Study Group. The addition of fetal scalp blood lactate measurement as an adjunct to cardiotocography to reduce caesarean sections during labour: The Flamingo randomised controlled trial, Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol. 2021. 61(5): 684-692. Read the paper
  • Blazek EV, East CE, Jauncey-Cooke J, Bogossian F, Grant CA, Hough J.  Lung recruitment manoeuvres for reducing respiratory morbidity in mechanically ventilated neonates. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2021, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD009969. Read the paper
  • Yelland J, Mensah F, Riggs E, McDonald E, Szwarc J, Dawson W, Vanpraag D, Casey S, East C, Biro MA, Teale G, Willey S and Brown SJ (2020) Evaluation of Systems Reform in Public Hospitals, Victoria, Australia, to Improve Access to Antenatal Care for Women of Refugee Background: An Interrupted Time Series Design, PLOS Medicine, doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003089. Read the paper
  • East CE,  Dorward EDF, Whale RE and Liu J (2020) Local cooling for relieving pain from perineal trauma sustained during childbirth, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2020:i-100. Read the paper
  • Yelland J, Mensah F, Riggs E, McDonald E, Szwarc J et al. (2020) Evaluation of systems reform in public hospitals, Victoria, Australia, to improve access to antenatal care for women of refugee background: an interrupted time series design, PLoS Medicine, 17:1-20. Read the paper
  • Willey SM, Gibson-Helm ME, Finch TL, East CE, Khan NN et al. (2020) Implementing innovative evidence-based perinatal mental health screening for women of refugee background, Women and Birth, 33:e245-e255. Read the paper
  • Snow G, Melvin GA, Boyle JA, Gibson-Helm M, East CE et al. (2020) Perinatal psychosocial assessment of women of refugee background, Women and Birth,1-7. Read the paper
  • Nunan D, Lindblad A, Widyahening IS, Bernardo WM, Chi CC et al. (2020) Ten papers for teachers of evidence-based medicine and health care: Sicily workshop 2019, BMJ Evidence Based Medicine. Read the paper
  • Frawley N, East C and Brennecke S (2020) Women's experiences of preeclampsia: a prospective survey of preeclamptic women at a single tertiary centre, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 40:65-69. Read the paper
  • East C, Biro M, Fredericks S and Lau R (2019) Support During Pregnancy for Women at Increased Risk of Low Birthweight Babies, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000198.pub3. Read the paper