ARCH staff at the Women’s

ARCH Director - The Women's

Professor Della Forster is Director of the Women's ARCH, Director of the Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Unit at the Women’s, and a leading international researcher in maternal and infant care. Professor Forster has a joint appointment as the Professor of Midwifery and Maternity Services Research with the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University and the Women’s, and extensive experience as a clinical midwife. She has broad experience in a range of methodologies and large projects including randomised controlled trials, descriptive studies, cohort studies, focus groups and evaluation projects. She specialises in maternity care, perinatal mental health and breastfeeding.

Research group

Professor Lisa Amir is a medical practitioner with a long-standing interest in women's health. Having qualified as a lactation consultant in 1989, Professor Amir continues to work in breastfeeding medicine at the Women's and as a private practitioner. Her research is based at the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University. She is Editor-in-Chief of the online journal, International Breastfeeding Journal.

Professor Helen McLachlan’s research is based at the Judith Lumley Centre. She is Discipline Lead for Midwifery in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University. Professor McLachlan has a background as a nurse and midwife. She was the lead investigator on the COSMOS randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery (the first trial of its kind in Australia and only the third anywhere) and is currently leading a major National Health and Medical Research Council-funded partnership project exploring the implementation of a caseload model for Aboriginal women at four health services in Victoria, Australia.

Dr Touran Shafiei has a clinical and research background in midwifery. Her research interests include maternal health, maternity care and immigrant women’s health. Dr Shafiei was the Trial coordinator of the evaluation of the Growing Together Parenting Kit for new families in Victoria, and is now coordinating a large National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant exploring a peer support intervention to prevent depression and anxiety in new mothers (the DAISY project).

Dr Michelle Newton is a Senior Lecturer in Midwifery and Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University. Her research is based at the Judith Lumley Centre. She has experience in clinical midwifery, hospital and university-based midwifery education, and in midwifery curriculum design. Dr Newton has expertise in the implementation and evaluation of midwifery-led models of care and in primary healthcare initiatives.

Dr Meabh Cullinane has a background in microbiology and is currently involved in an evaluation of a maternity and neonatal emergencies education program delivered to maternity and newborn care clinicians at rural and regional maternity service providers across Victoria. This three-year evaluation is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Her research is based at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University.

Research staff

Fiona McLardie-Hore has worked as a midwife in a range of clinical areas for over 25 years. She is the Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Unit Research Coordinator and is the Project Coordinator of the National Health and Medical Research Council-funded Baggarrook Yurrongi project – Implementing continuity of midwife care to improve the outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies across four hospitals in Victoria. She was the Project Coordinator on the Ringing Up about Breastfeeding study, a randomised controlled trial exploring early telephone peer support for breastfeeding. She is a PhD candidate with her work based on outcomes of this trial.

Anita Moorhead is the Clinical Midwife Consultant: Lactation at the Women's. She was the Project Coordinator of the DAME Trial, a multi-site, two arm randomised controlled trial of antenatal expression of colostrum in late pregnancy for women with diabetes in pregnancy. She is a PhD candidate at La Trobe University and is exploring the views and experiences of antenatal expressing for women who participated in the trial. She has co-authored several peer reviewed papers and was part of the team responsible for writing Breastfeeding in Victoria: A Report.

Rebecca Hyde is a clinical midwife specialist at the Women’s and joined the Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Team in July 2015. She joined La Trobe University as a Lecturer in July 2017. She is joint project coordinator of the EXPert study (Exploring nurses’ and midwives’ perceptions of ‘expertise’ and what it is like to work at the Women’s) and the GEM Care study (Group Education and Midwifery Care), a feasibility pilot randomised controlled trial exploring group pregnancy care. She is the Project Coordinator for the Your Views Matter study, exploring families’ experiences of care in the Newborn Intensive Care, and is completing a PhD on that study.

Robyn Matthews has worked as a midwife since 2007. She is joint Project Coordinator of the EXPert study (Exploring nurses’ and midwives’ perceptions of ‘expertise’ and what it is like to work at The Women’s) and the GEM Care study (Group Education and Midwifery Care), a feasibility pilot randomised controlled trial exploring group pregnancy care. She is the Site Coordinator for the My Baby’s Movements study, an app to assist with women’s knowledge and understanding of fetal movements. She also works a clinical midwife specialist and is completing a PhD exploring the midwifery workforce.

Pam McCalman is a registered midwife at the Women’s. She is a Balardong Noongar woman who was born in Melbourne. She has a specific interest in improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and newborns, and has experience working alongside Aboriginal families from very early in her career. She has a passion for embedding cultural safety into maternity care. Ms McCalman is currently working alongside a team of researchers on a National Health and Medical Research Council-funded Partnership Project called Woman’s Journey: Baggarrook Yurrongi, Nurragh Manma Buliana. She is also completing a PhD through the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University, focusing on a component of the overarching Woman’s Journey project.

Dr Maggie Flood is a nurse and midwife whose research interests include postpartum haemorrhage, breastfeeding, refugee and asylum seeker women’s health, and women’s experience of pregnancy, birth and postnatal care. She has been a Researcher Officer at the Women’s and the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University since 2000. Dr Flood’s PhD, completed in 2018, was a state-wide validation study of births in 2011 in the Victorian Perinatal Data Collection, and analysed data for more than 760,000 births from this collection to investigate the incidence, trends and risk factors for primary postpartum haemorrhage.

Higher degree students

Jessica Bee is undertaking a professional doctorate at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University. Her research focuses on women’s experience of volunteering in the DAISY study to prevent postnatal depression in new mothers

Bree Bulle is a consultant midwife and Director for the Regional Maternal and Perinatal Mortality and Morbidity Committee, and is enrolled in the professional doctorate program at La Trobe University. She is exploring the critical factors in co-designing a sustainable model for external mortality and morbidity review with participants from rural and regional maternity services in Victoria.

Sara Couch is a PhD candidate at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, and is exploring perinatal mental health issues.

Dave Curtin is nurse at the Women’s undertaking a professional doctorate at La Trobe University. His research examines nurses' experiences of burnout and turnover in a tertiary hospital.

Heather Grimes is a PhD candidate at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, whose research focuses on RUBY – Ringing up about breastfeeding early – a randomised controlled trial.

Sarah Hay is a PhD candidate at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, who is evaluating a parenting kit for families in Victoria in a cluster randomised controlled trial.

Sherri Huckstep is the first Chief Experience Officer at the Women’s enrolled in the professional doctorate program at La Trobe University. She is exploring how the implementation of a patient portal impacts patients’ perceptions of shared decision making in the tertiary Women’s Hospital.

Rebecca Hyde is a midwife at the Women’s and a PhD candidate at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University. Her research project is entitled ‘Your Views Matter: Exploring the experiences, satisfaction and needs of parents of infants in Newborn Intensive and Special Care at the Royal Women’s Hospital.’

Renee Kam is undertaking a Master of Applied Science at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University. Her research focuses on whether visual markers for breast hypoplasia or nipple variations relate to lower exclusive breastfeeding rates at one month postpartum.

Ranmali Rodrigo is a PhD candidate at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, investigating optimal methods to express, store and transport breast milk from home to hospital in two settings: a developed and a developing country.

Charlie Smithson is a PhD candidate at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, who is exploring the care we provide to women with disabilities.

Tanisha Springall is a midwife at the Women’s and is undertaking a Master of Applied Science at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University. Her research focuses on exploring breastfeeding among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, a sub-study of the Women's Journey National Health and Medical Research Council Partnership grant.

Stefanie Zugna is a PhD candidate at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, investigating cultural safety in rural and regional maternity services across Victoria. She also works as a clinical midwife specialist in team midwifery at the Women’s.

Contact

For enquiries please contact:

Professor Della Forster
Professor, Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Unit, the Women’s and Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University
Gratten Street and Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia
College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Victoria, 3086, Australia
E: d.forster@latrobe.edu.au or della.forster@thewomens.org.au

Fiona McLardie-Hore
Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Unit Research Coordinator
The Women’s
Gratten Street and Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia
E: fiona.mclardiehore@thewomens.org.au