Profile

Dr Catherine

Dr Catherine Chamberlain

NHMRC Early Career Fellow

Senior Research Fellow

College of Science, Health and Engineering

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Department of Public Health

Franklin Street, Melbourne (City)

Research centres

Judith Lumley Centre

Qualifications

PhD, MSc(PHP), MPH, GCIRL, GCHSM, BaSc, Registered Midwife

Role

Research fellow

Membership of professional associations

AustralAsian Epidemiological Association, Cochrane Statistical Methods group

Area of study

Public Health

Brief profile

Catherine Chamberlain is an NHMRC Early Career and Senior Research Fellow (2015-2018), which received the 2015 NHMRC ‘Rising Star’ award. A descendant of the Trawlwoolway People (Tasmania), her postdoctoral research program aims to improve Indigenous health equity by developing strengths-based family-focussed strategies in pregnancy, birth and early childhood.

She has over 25 years’ experience in reproductive and child health, including program and hospital service management, policy implementation, guideline development, evidence-based practice and research.   Her mixed method research experience includes qualitative research, epidemiological research, research translation and evidence synthesis.

She is an associate editor for ‘Research for All: Universities and Society’ a new journal which explores the ways which researchers work with communities and regularly reviews for more than a dozen journals. She is currently a steering group member for the Victorian Aboriginal maternal and child health initiative, working group member developing core competencies and training to support ‘Birthing on Country, NHMRC grant review panel member and ‘SIDS and KIDS scientific committee member. 

Research specialisation

- Health Services and policy reform

- Indigenous health

- Perinatal and Child Health

Recent publications

  1. Strobel NA, Arabena K, East CE, Schultz EM, Kelaher M, Edmond KM, Eades SJ, Chamberlain C. Care co-ordination interventions to improve outcomes during pregnancy and early childhood (up to 5 years):Protocol. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD012761. 
  2. Chamberlain C, Perlen S, Brennan S, Rychetnik L, Thomas D, Maddox R, Alam N, Banks E, Wilson A, Eades A. Evidence for a comprehensive approach to Aboriginal tobacco control to maintain the decline in smoking: an overview of reviews among Indigenous peoples. BMC Systematic Reviews. 2017. 6;135. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504765/. 
  3. Campbell S, Roux N, Preece C, Rafter E, Davis B, Mein J, Boyle J, Chamberlain C. Paths to improving care of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women following gestational diabetes. Primary Health Care Research and Development. 2017. 1-14: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1463423617000305.
  4. Chamberlain C, Wilson A, Amir L, O’Dea K, Campbell S, Leonard D, Ritte R, Mulcahy M, Eades S, Wolfe R. Low rates of predominant breastfeeding in hospital after gestational diabetes, particularly among Indigenous women in Australia. Aust NZ J Public Health. 2017, doi:10.1111/173-6405.12629.
  5. Chamberlain C, O’Mara-Eves A, Porter J, Coleman T, Perlen S, Thomas J, McKenzie J. Psychosocial interventions for supporting women to stop smoking in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017. Issue 2.
  6. McCalman J, Heyeres M, Campbell S, Bainbridge R, Chamberlain C, Strobel N, Ruben A. Family-centred interventions by primary healthcare services for Indigenous early childhood wellbeing in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States: A systematic scoping review. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2017. 17:71
  7. Graham S, O’Connor CC, Morgan S, Chamberlain C, Hocking J. Prevalence of HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sexual Health. 2017. http://www.publish.csiro.au/SH/SH16013
  8. McCalman J, Campbell SK, Chamberlain C, Strobel NA, Bainbridge RG, Wenitong M, Ruben A, Edmond KM, Marriott R, Tsey K, Keith K, Shields L.  Family-centred interventions for Indigenous early childhood well-being by primary healthcare services (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016. CD012463
  9. Chamberlain C, Marriott R, Campbell S. Why we need to support Aboriginal women’s choice to give birth on country. The Conversation. Online June 15 2016. Available at: https://theconversation.com/why-we-need-to-support-aboriginal-womens-choice-to-give-birth-on-country-53804
  10. Chamberlain C, MacLean S, Bawden G, Kelaher M, Munro-Harrison E, Boyle J, Freeman K. An ‘equity’ domain could strengthen the utility of a framework for assessing care coordination for Australian Aboriginal families. International Journal of Care Coordination. Published online 11/7/2016. doi:10.1177/2053434516657497
  11. Chamberlain C, Oldenburg B, Wilson A, Eades S, Oats J, Wolfe R. Type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes: greater than fourfold risk among Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australian women. Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews. 2016;32(2): 217-27
  12. Diouf I, Gubhaju L, Chamberlain C, Joshy G, McNamara B, Oats JN, Eades S. Trends in maternal and newborn health characteristics and obstetric interventions among Aboriginal mothers in Western Australia from 1986 to 2009. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and gynaecology. 2016;56(3):245-51
  13. Chamberlain C, Fergie D, Sinclair A, Asmar C. Traditional midwifery or ‘wise women’ models of leadership: Learning from Indigenous cultures. Leadership. 2016;12(3):346–363
  14. Coleman T, Chamberlain C, Davey MA, Cooper SE, Leonardi-Bee J.  Pharmacological interventions for promoting smoking cessation during pregnancy.  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.  2015:12; Art. No.: CD010078. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010078.pub2.
  15. Welch V, Boyer Y, Chamberlain C. Can Cochrane Reviews inform decisions to improve Indigenous people’s health? [editorial].Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015;(8):10.1002/14651858.ED000103
  16. Eades S, Chamberlain C. Seeking a comprehensive approach to tobacco control for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [editorial]. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2015;202(10):511-512
  17. Chamberlain C, Fredericks B, McLean A, Oldenburg B, Mein J, Wolfe R. Associations with low rates of postpartum glucose screening after gestational diabetes among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian women. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 2015;39(1):69-76.
  18. Chamberlain C, McLean A, Oats J, Oldenburg B, Eades S, Sinha A, Wolfe R. Low rates of postpartum glucose screening among Indigenous and non-Indigenous women in Australia with gestational diabetes. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2015;19(3):651-63.
  19. Chamberlain C, Joshy G, Hang Li, Oats JN, Eades S, Banks E. The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) among Indigenous women in Australia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews. 2015;31(3):234-47.

Older publications

  1. Chamberlain C, Banks E, Joshy G, Diouf I, Oats JN, Gubhaju L, Eades S. Prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) among Indigenous women and comparison with non-Indigenous Australian women: 1990-2009. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  2014;54(5):433-40. 
  2. Chamberlain C, Fredericks B,  Davis B,  Mein J,  Smith C,  Eades S, Oldenburg B. Postpartum care for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus across urban, rural and remote locations: a protocol for a cohort linkage study. SpringerPlus. 2013. 2:576; doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-576
  3. Chamberlain C, Fredericks B, McLean A, Davis B, Eades S, Stewart K, Reid C. 2013. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) case ascertainment in far north Queensland, Australia, 2004 to 2010: Midwives perinatal data most accurate source. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 2013. 37(6); 556-561.
  4. Chamberlain C, O'Mara-Eves A, Oliver S, Caird JR, Perlen SM, Eades SJ, Thomas J. Psychosocial interventions for supporting women to stop smoking in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD001055. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001055.pub4
  5. Chamberlain C, McNamara B, Williams ED, Yore D, Oldenburg B, Oats J, Eades S. Diabetes in pregnancy among indigenous women in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States: A systematic review of the evidence for screening in early pregnancy. Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews 2013: 29(4):241-56.
  6. Coleman T, Chamberlain C, Davey MA, Cooper SE, Leonardi-Bee J.  Efficacy of NRT in pregnancy (first comment on 2011-SR-10061R2). British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2013. 120(3); 373–74.
  7. McNamara B, Gubhaju L, Chamberlain C, Stanley F, Eades S.  Early life influences on cardio-metabolic disease risk in aboriginal populations – what is the evidence? A systematic review of longitudinal and case-control studies. International Journal of Epidemiology.  2012: 41(6):1661-82.
  8. Coleman T, Chamberlain C, Davey MA, Cooper SE, Leonardi-Bee J.  Pharmacological interventions for promoting smoking cessation during pregnancy.  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.  2012. Issue 9. Art no: CD001055.
  9. Li HOldenburg BChamberlain CO'Neil AXue BJolley DHall RDong ZGuo Y.  Diabetes prevalence and determinants in adults in China mainland from 2000 to 2010: A systematic review. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 2012. 98(2):226-35
  10. Chamberlain C, Yore D, Li H, Williams E, Oldenburg B, Oats J, McNamara B, Eades S. Diabetes in pregnancy among indigenous women in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States: a method for systematic review of studies with different designs. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2011:11;104.
  11. Coleman T, Chamberlain C, Cooper S Leonardi-Bee J. Efficacy and safety of nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation in pregnancy: systematic review and meta-analysis. Addiction. 2011;106(1):52-61   FOR111716
  12. McDonald S, Turner T, Chamberlain C, Lumbiganon P, Thinkhamrop J, Festin MR, Ho JJ, Mohammad H, Henderson-Smart DJ, Short J, Crowther CA, Martis R, Green S and For the SEA-ORCHID Study Group.  Building capacity for evidence generation, synthesis and implementation to improve the care of mothers and babies in South East Asia: methods and design of the SEA-ORCHID Project using a logical framework approach. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2010:10:61  FOR 111709
  13. Lumley J, Chamberlain C, Oliver S,  Dowswell T, Oakley L, Watson L. Interventions for promoting smoking cessation during pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001055. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001055.pub2. FOR 111716
  14. Lumley J, Oliver S, Chamberlain C, Oakley L, Interventions for promoting smoking cessation during pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001055. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001055.pub2. FOR 111716
  15. Halliday J, Chamberlain C, Di Natale R, Fong L, Lester R.  Investigation of a birth defect cluster. Birth Defects Research (Part A). 2004. 70:6;422.  FOR 111706

Research projects

Project 1: Healing the past by nurturing the future: Perinatal support for Indigenous parents who have experienced complex trauma

This project aims to develop perinatal (pregnancy to two years after birth) strategies for identifying and supporting Indigenous parents who have experienced complex trauma in their own childhoods.

Background:

Complex trauma can have profound and ongoing impacts on development and physical, social and emotional wellbeing. The long-lasting relational effects may be triggered during parenthood, causing emotional distress and impeding the capacity of parents to nurture their children, leading to intergenerational transmission of trauma. Conversely, growing evidence shows that the transition to parenthood offers a unique life-course opportunity for healing and preventing intergenerational transmission, even after severe trauma.  

Yet, despite these opportunities for healing, particularly during frequent scheduled contacts with health care providers; and the risk of triggering due to the intimate nature of perinatal care  - there are currently no systematic perinatal strategies for identifying and supporting parents who have experienced complex trauma themselves.  

This project will begin to address this critical gap.  

How will the project be conducted?

We will use a community-based participatory action research approach to:

  1. Map relevant services and community-based key stakeholders.
  2. Co-design protocols to ensure a culturally and emotionally safe project environment.
  3. Conduct systematic reviews of evidence to inform the co-design processes.
  4. Facilitate co-design workshops in Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory with key stakeholders to develop screening and support strategies.
  5. Develop, validate and field test a screening tool for use with Indigenous parents.
  6. Conduct safe and engaging research with families to understand parents’ experiences of complex trauma, generate ideas about potentially helpful support strategies, and discuss acceptability of proposed strategies.
  7. Discuss the feasibility of the proposed screening and support strategies with service providers.
Who is involved in the project?

This project is funded by the Lowitja Institute and the National Health and Medical Research Council (#1141593). In addition to many years’ experience working for communities, the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal team have extensive expertise in psychology, psychiatry, perinatal care, parenting, Aboriginal health and all types of research (see attached). The peak body (or nominated community-controlled organisation) in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria are invited to be partners in this project. Community-based key stakeholders (from all jurisdictions) identified through service mapping will be invited to participate in the co-design workshops.

Project 2. Strategies to reduce cardio-metabolic risk among Aboriginal mothers

This NHMRC Early Career fellowship includes:

  • Analysis of breastfeeding among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women following gestational diabetes.
  • Qualitative research of barriers and facilitators to postpartum care among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Strait Islander women following gestational diabetes.
  • Analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) data to explore social determinant and social and emotional wellbeing factors associated with 'diabetes or sugar problems' in pregnancy.
  • A Cochrane generic protocol for breastfeeding systematic reviews, to improve uniformity of outcome reporting
  • Update of Cochrane Systematic Reviews on Psychosocial and Pharmacological interventions for supporting women to stop smoking in pregnancy
  • Development of a framework for a 'Comprehensive Approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tobacco Control'
  • An overview of reviews to assess the quality of evidence 'Comprehensive Approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tobacco Control' framework domains

Project 3: ​Improving service coordination for Aboriginal families 

This research translation project, funded by the Improving Services for Aboriginal Children CRE, included scoping services available to support Aboriginal families in SouthEast Melbourne and conducting qualitative research with service providers to identify barriers and enablers to care coordination for Aboriginal families.

We are also conducting Cochrane systematic reviews of:

  • Interventions to improve care coordination among services with multiple funding bodies, for families with children less than five years.
  • Family-centred care for Indigenous families.