MIFam

Mother Infant Family Network (MIFam)


Associate Professor Stacy Blythe

Associate Professor Stacy Blythe Dr Stacy Blythe

Associate Professor Stacy Blythe is a Registered Nurse and a Research Academic. She completed her Bachelor of Nursing in 2003, her Honours in 2009 and her PhD in 2013. She holds both the Dean’s Medal and the University Medal for Academic Excellence. Her research focuses on the health and well-being of children in out-of-home care and their families (biological, foster/kinship and adoptive). As a lecturer in Infant Mental Health, she is particularly interested in infants who have been prenatally exposed to harmful substances (eg. illicit drugs). In addition to her nursing, teaching and research qualifications, Stacy has post graduate certification in Developmental Trauma. Stacy has also been an authorised foster carer for 16+ years. Drawing on her skills as a nurse, knowledge as a researcher and first-hand experience as a carer, Stacy has provided training (nationally and internationally) to health care workers, social service providers, foster/kinship carers and adoptive parents in relation to working with and supporting infants, children and young people who have a history of prenatal substance exposure and/or developmental trauma. Stacy is also the Deputy Director of the Translational Research and Social Innovation (TReSI) group based at the Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research. TReSI’s mission is to conduct translational research that develops and supports implementation of social and system innovations to ensure new treatments and research knowledge actually reach the patients/populations for whom they are intended and are implemented correctly.

Stacy's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Prenatal substance use/exposure
  • Child protection and the out-of-home care system
  • Infant mental health/attachment
  • Developmental trauma

Stacy's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Mixed Methods Designs
  • Co-design Methodologies
  • Translational Research

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 2 PhD
  • 1 BAppSci(Hons)

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 PhD
  • 4 MRES
  • 2 BNHons
  • 4 BAppsSc(Hons)

Contact details

Phone: +61 404 063 538

Email: s.blythe@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @stacyleeblythe1

Associate Professor Elaine Burns
(Midwifery Supervisor)

Associate Professor Elaine BurnsImage Elain Burns

Elaine Burns is an Associate Professor of Midwifery and Director of Higher Degree Research and Honours, in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Elaine is an experienced midwifery clinician, educator and researcher. Her research is focussed on breastfeeding, midwifery practice/education and the experience of maternity care. In the topic area of breastfeeding Elaine is ranked number 6 in the SciVal list of Top 500 researchers in the Asia/Pacific. Elaine’s work is multidisciplinary and collaborative and is recognised nationally and internationally with a robust publication track record of more than 40 peer reviewed publications, and 60 conference and seminar presentations, including as invited speaker. Elaine has been awarded multiple research grants to further investigate barriers to breastfeeding and models of maternity care. Her work has been cited in broadcast and print media including more than 50,000 readers in articles written for The Conversation. Elaine is passionate about improving support during pregnancy, birth and the early transition to mothering.

Elaine's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Midwifery
  • Breastfeeding
  • Postnatal Care
  • Pregnancy Care
  • Birth
  • Women's experiences of Maternity Care
  • Migrant and refugee women's experiences
  • Peer support
  • Oral health
  • Homebirth
  • Models of care
  • Young parents
  • Education

Elaine's main methodological expertise includes:

Elaine has conducted large scale national surveys for the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data and has experience in managing large ARC funded projects including qualitative and mixed method studies. Qualitative methodologies include discourse analysis, ethnography, phenomenology.

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 3 BNHons
  • 3 MRes
  • 3 PhD

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 BNHons
  • 2 MPhil
  • 1 MRes
  • 4 PhD
  1. 2021 MPhil Jenni Doust (Primary Supervisor)
  2. 2021 MRES Louise Duursma (Primary Supervisor)
  3. 2021 PhD Hazel Keedle (Co-supervisor)
  4. 2019 PhD Shu Fei Yang (Co-Supervisor)
  5. 2018 PhD Jeni Stevens (Co-Supervisor)
  6. 2018 PhD Titaree Phanwichatkul (Co-Supervisor)
  7. 2017 MPhil Hazel Keedle (Co-Supervisor)
  8. 2017 BN Honours Class 1 Heather Sassine (Co-Supervisor)

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9685 9818

Email: e.burns@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @elainebdmidwife

Professor Hannah Dahlen
(Midwifery Supervisor)

Professor Hannah Dahlen Professor Hannah Dahlen

Professor Hannah Dahlen Hannah Dahlen AM is a Professor of Midwifery, Associate Dean Research and Higher Degree Research and Midwifery Discipline Lead in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University.

Qualifications: RN, RM, BN (Hons 1st class), MCommN, PhD, Grad Cert Midwifery (pharmacology), FACM Hannah Dahlen is the Professor of Midwifery, Associate Dean Research and Higher Degree Research and Midwifery Discipline Lead of Midwifery and in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University. She has been a midwife for 30 years.

Hannah has over 200 published journal articles and book chapters and has strong national and international research partnerships. She has received more than 20 grants since 2000, including being a CI on three NHMRC grants and an ARC Linkage grant. She has spoken at over 100 national and international conferences in the past 5 years and given invited keynote addresses at most of these.Hannah is regularly interviewed in the media and sought out for expert comment.

In 2019 Hannah was awarded a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her significant services to midwifery, nursing and medical education and research. In November 2012 Hannah was named in the Sydney Morning Herald’s list of 100 “people who change our city for the better” and named as one of the leading “science and knowledge thinkers” for 2012.

Hannah's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Midwifery
  • Normal birth
  • Birth interventions
  • Media
  • Water Birth
  • Perineal trauma
  • Incontinence
  • Epigenetics
  • Oral Health
  • Health Policy
  • Acupuncture
  • Homebirth
  • Birth Centres
  • Fear
  • Risk
  • Birth trauma
  • Human rights in childbirth
  • Models of care
  • Vaginal examination
  • Maternal death
  • Maternal complications
  • Perinatal outcomes
  • Young parents
  • Obesity
  • CALD women's outcomes
  • Birth positions
  • Birth experiences

Hannah's main methodological expertise includes:

Hannah has experience with both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She has undertaken systematic reviews (meta-analysis and meta-synthesis) , randomised controlled trials, prospective cohort studies, retrospective cohort studies, population based studies, surveys, grounded theory, narrative analysis, phenomenology, ethnography, thematic analysis, content analysis (qual and quant), and mixed methods.

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 2 BNHons
  • 2 MRES
  • 9 PhD

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 6 BN(Hons)
  • 5 M(Hons)
  • 13 PhD

Hannah has had 6 Honours completions, all First Class Honours. Two of her Honours students received the University Medal in 2011 and 2016. In total Hannah has had 24 Honours/HDR completions since 2009.

  1. 2009 - Jeni Stevens (BN Honours 1st Class) (Primary Supervisor) - Midwives’ and Doulas’ Perspectives of the Role of the Doula in Australia: A qualitative study
  2. 2010 - Heather Pearce (BN Honours 1st Class) (Co-supervisor) – Pregnancy related low back and pelvic girdle pain: Listening to Australian women
  3. 2011 - Holly Priddis (BN Honours 1st class and UWS University Medal) (Primary Supervisor) - Facilitating physiological birth positioning in two different birth settings: An ethnographic exploration into facilitators and inhibitors
  4. 2016- Hannah Olley (BN Honours 1st Class) (Co-supervisor) . Facilitating closeness between babies with congenital abnormalities
  5. 2017- Heather Sassine (BN Honours 1st Class) (Primary Supervisor) – The needs and experiences of women who choose homebirth in Australia: a national survey
  6. 2017- Jo Hunter (BN Hons). (1st Class) (Primary Supervisor) The experiences of privately practising midwives in Australia who have been reported to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency: A qualitative study
  7. 2012 - Felicity Copeland(Masters Hons) (Co-supervisor)Midwives interpretation of childbirth through photo elicitation
  8. 2012 - Susan Harvey (Masters Hons - Award for best thesis 2014) (Co-supervisor) – Judgement, hope and identity: Stories of health care mothering in the perinatal period from women receiving opioid treatment
  9. 2014 - Suha Hussein (Masters Honours – Award for best thesis 2014) (Co-supervisor) - The barriers and facilitators of introducing evidence-based practices around the use of episiotomy in Jordan.
  10. 2015 - Hazel Keedle (Masters Honours) (Primary Supervisor) - Women’s reasons for and experiences of having a homebirth following a previous caesarean section.
  11. 2018 Leonie Hewitt- (Masters Research- High Distinction) (Primary Supervisor). What attributes do Australian midwifery leaders identify as being essential to effectively manage a Midwifery Group Practice (MGP)?
  12. 2013 - Christine Catling (PhD) (Co-supervisor) - The influences on women who choose a publicly funded homebirth
  13. 2014 - Debra Betts (PhD) (Co-supervisor) – Acupuncture treatment in threatened miscarriage: A mixed methods study.
  14. 2015 - Melanie Jackson (PhD) (Primary Supervisor) - Birthing Outside the System.
  15. 2015 - Holly Priddis (PhD) (Primary Supervisor) – An evaluation of Health Services for women who have experienced severe perineal trauma: A mixed methods study.
  16. 2015 - Mike Amour (PhD) (Co-supervisor) - The effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: A mixed methods study
  17. 2015 – Kate Levett (PhD) (Co-supervisor) - The Complete Birth Study: Effectiveness of a complex antenatal education program incorporating complementary medicine techniques for pain relief in labour and birth for first time mothers: A mixed methods study
  18. 2018 - Jeni Stevens (PhD) (Primary Supervisor). Facilitators, barriers and implications of immediate skin-to-skin contact after caesarean section: An ethnographic study
  19. 2018 Alison Teate (PhD) (Primary Supervisor). From Worry to hope: An ethnography of midwife-woman interactions in the antenatal appointment.
  20. 2019 Lindsay Cole (PhD) (Co-supervisor) – Discourse Analysis on giving birth in South Australia: An ethnomethodological approach
  21. 2017 Simone Ormsby (PhD) (Co-supervisor) - Evaluation of the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for antenatal and postnatal depression
  22. 2021 Suha Hussein (PhD) (Co-supervisor) –Jordanian women’s perceptions od episiotomy and other birth interventions” an intergenerational qualitative study
  23. 2021 Elizabeth Rigg (PhD) (Primary Supervisor) – The role of unregulated birth workers in Australia from the perspective of birth workers and women
  24. 2021 Hazel Keedle (PhD) (Primary Supervisor) – The experiences of women planning a VBAC in Australia

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9685 9118

Email: h.dahlen@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter: @Hannahdahlen

Dr Rakime Elmir
(Midwifery Supervisor)

Dr Rakime ElmirRakime Elmir

Dr Rakime Elmir is a lecturer in both the nursing and midwifery directorates. Her passion is midwifery and believes in providing women the 'choice' to make informed decisions. Rakime completed her PhD in 2012 focusing on women's experiences of severe postpartum haemorrhage and emergency hysterectomy. Since completing her doctoral work, she has extended her research interests around father's experiences of traumatic birth and midwives experiences of obstetric emergencies.

Rakime's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Qualitative research
  • Birth trauma
  • High risk / complications in pregnancy and birth
  • Father's birth
  • Postnatal experiences
  • Women's health

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • Nil

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 4620 3372

Email: r.elmir@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Jann Foster

Dr Jann FosterImage of Dr Jann Foster

Dr Jann Foster main research expertise includes:

  • Neonatal
  • Infant and paediatric nursing and reflective practice: Including pain management of neonates, infants and children
  • Nutrition and feeding of neonates and infants including gastrointestinal disorders
  • Respiratory management of neonates and infants
  • The use of technology in the neonatal intensive care setting

Jann's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Historical research
  • Descriptive qualitative research
  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Surveys
  • Quantitative comparative studies
  • Systematic reviews

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 BNHons

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 4620 3667

Email: j.foster@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Lyn Francis

Dr Lyn FrancisImage of Dr Lyn Francis

Dr Lyn Francis is currently working as a Senior Lecturer at Western Sydney University in NSW Australia. Lyn has qualifications in nursing, midwifery, early childhood, health management and law. Teaching includes undergraduate and post graduate units in the areas of leadership and management, primary health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, research, law and ethics, capstone experience in healthcare and taking students on field studies. Lyn is currently co-supervising 3 PhD students and one midwifery Honours student. Lyn is currently a member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council in NSW and a member of the gender equity and diversity committee for the School of Nursing and Midwifery at WSU.

Lyn's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Lyn has experience in qualitative research, particularly narrative inquiry, and has also assisted students with quantitative and mixed methods as a co-supervisor. Lyn’s PhD focused on the experience of women leaving or ending domestic violence and social support during that process. Lyn has qualifications in nursing, midwifery, child and family health, law, and health management. Lyn has also undertaken research in the areas of gender equity in academia, supervising students on international field study trips and child and family health. Lyn is currently analysing free text comments from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health (ALSWH) regarding data related to domestic violence and social support. Lyn has experience and interest in research areas regarding gender-based violence including domestic violence, sexual health, infants in neonatal care units, ethics and law in health including consent, workplace culture in nursing and midwifery and elder abuse.

Lyns's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Narrative inquiry
  • Grounded theory
  • Mixed methodologies

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 BNHons
  • 3 PhD

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 MRES
  • 1 BNHons

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9685 9412

Email: l.francis@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @lfranci97111657

Dr Diana Jefferies

Diana Jefferies

Dr Diana Jefferies

Dr Diana Jefferies is a lecturer in the school of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University. She has twenty-five years' experience in acute clinical nursing specialising in mental health and HIV Nursing. She has academic qualifications in Arts Based research methods such as historical analysis and literary criticism. Her current research program integrates her nursing and arts-based background to examine descriptions of mental health issues in historical and literary contexts.

Diana's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • The Lived Experience of Illness
  • Mental Health
  • Patient Centred Care
  • Medical and Health Humanities
  • Womens Health

Diana's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Qualitative Research - Narrative Arts based research methods especially historical and literary analysis

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 BN (Hons)
  • 1 MRes

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 PhD
  • 1 BNHons

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9685 930
Mobile:  +61 409 125 256

Email: d.jefferies@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @DianaJefferies7

Dr Hazel Keedle
(Midwifery Supervisor)

Image Hazel Keedle

Dr Hazel Keedle

Dr Hazel Keedle is a lecturer of midwifery at Western Sydney University, Australia. Hazel has worked in midwifery group practices, an aboriginal medical service, a variety of hospital settings and as a privately practising midwife in both city and regional locations. Hazel’s passion for vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) followed her own experience of having a VBAC with her daughter in 2008 and since then has published research on women's experience of having a VBAC at home and on her PhD work exploring women’s experiences of planning a VBAC in Australia. Hazel has a developing publication track record as an early career researcher, with 12 peer reviewed publications and was awarded the ACM NSW Pat Brodie research scholarship to develop a smartphone application in her PhD research. Hazel is currently the lead researcher on Australia's largest survey on women's experiences of maternity care, the Birth Experience Study. Hazel is passionate about improving support for women during pregnancy, birth, and the early transition to mothering.

Hazel's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC)
  • Birth experience
  • Birth trauma
  • Interprofessional education
  • Child and family health nursing
  • Implementation science (scale-up of effective community-based interventions)
  • Social and service innovation (particularly integrated community service systems)

Hazel's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Mixed method studies and analysis
  • Thematic and content analysis

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 MRES (Co-supervisor)
  • 2 PhD (Co-supervisor)

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • Nil

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 8738 9387
Mobile:  +61 418 436 600

Email: h.keedle@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @hazelkeedl

Distinguished Professor Lynn Kemp

Image D/Pro Lynn Kemp

Distinguished Professor Lynn Kemp

Distinguished Professor Lynn Kemp is Director of the Translational Research and Social Innovation group in the School of Nursing and Midwifery Western Sydney University. Lynn has developed a significant program of community-based child health research that includes world and Australian-first intervention studies such as the Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-visiting (MECSH) study, the first randomised trial of sustained nurse home visiting that is embedded in universal health services, and the subsequent right@home randomised trial of sustained nurse home visiting. She is now leading an international program of translational research, studying the implementation of these effective interventions at population scale world-wide in Australia, England, South Korea and the USA.

Lynn's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Child and family health nursing Implementation science (scale-up of effective community-based interventions) Social and service innovation (particularly integrated community service systems)

Lynn's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Design and conduct of pragmatic randomized trials
  • Quantitative studies and analysis
  • Qualitative studies and analysis
  • Mixed method studies and analysis

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 5 PhD

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 15 PhD

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 8738 9387
Mobile:  +61 418 436 600

Email: lynn.kemp@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @LynnKempWSU

Dr Olayide Ogunsiji

Dr Olaydie Ogunsiji Image

Dr Olayide Ogunsiji

Dr Olayide Ogunsiji is a Registered Nurse and Senior Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University. Her research focuses on women’s health with specific focus on violence against women, migrant and refugee women’s health and health of people of African descent. Her research topics are female genital mutilation, intimate partner violence, breast and cervical cancer screening and parenting practices. Dr Ogunsiji conducts her research in partnership with industry partners, community organisations and local, national and international collaborators. She supervises Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) and Higher Degree Research students. Dr Ogunsiji has featured in ABC Radio interviews, published in high impact journals and presented in conferences. Dr Ogunsiji is a multi-award winner. She was a finalist at the 2020 Western Sydney University Research Impact Competition, was the 2020 Blacktown Woman of the Year at the New South Wales Women of the Year Award and won the Dorothy Garrigus Adams 2021 Award for Excellence in Service at the Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society International Awards..

Olayides's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Women's and Family Health
  • Migrant and Refugee Women's Health
  • African Women's Health
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Practices

Olayides's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Qualitative Research
  • Naturalistic Inquiry
  • Hermeneutic Phenomenology

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 PhD
  • 3 MRes
  • 2 BNHons

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 PhD
  • 2 BNHons
  1. 2021-Suha Hussein (PhD) (Co-supervisor): Experiences of episiotomy for Jordanian women
  2. 2018-Jacqueline Pangas (BN Honours 1st Class) ( Co-supervisor): Experiences of refugee women and families accessing health services in pregnancy and afterbirth: A meta-synthesis.
  3. 2012- Patricia Ayerakwa (BN Honours) (Co-supervisor): The role of media in West African mothers' food choices for young children.

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 4570 1897

Email: o.ogunsiji@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @OlayideOgunsiji

Dr Kim Psaila

Dr Kim Psaila

Dr Kim Psaila

Dr Kim Psaila is a Registered Nurse and Midwife and a NIDCAP qualified professional who has over twenty five years’ experience in neonatal nursing care. Kim has substantial experience in nurse education having worked predominantly in nurse/clinical education roles within surgical and perinatal Neonatal Intensive Care and Newborn Care nurseries.

Dr Psaila has contributed to and led several neonatal Cochrane protocols and systematic reviews on behalf of the Neonatal Cochrane group. Specific topics include; non-nutritive sucking for gastroesophageal reflux; continuous versus intermittent tube feeding, and pacifiers for sudden infant death syndrome. In her doctoral research she explored the continuum or care in contemporary maternity and CFH services in Australia. The study examined how continuity could be achieved during the transition of care (ToC) from maternity to CFH services.

Her research interests surround the parent-infant relationship, implementation of family centred, individualised, developmentally supportive care in the NICU, collaboration and transition of care (TOC), particularly in relation to supporting families through effective pathways and models of care.

Dr Psaila has a strong commitment to facilitating the professional growth and clinical development of all nurses and midwives, particularly in the area of supporting families.

Kim's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Research interests include the parent-infant relationship, implementation of individualised, developmentally supportive care in the NICU and SCN, and transition of care (TOC), particularly in relation to supporting families through TOC, newborn neurobehavioural assessment, stillbirth.

Kim's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Systematic reviews
  • Qualitative approaches
  • Patient journey mapping
  • Mixed methods design

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 2 PhD
  • 1 MPhil
  • 1 MR

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • Nil

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9685 9819

Email: k.psaila@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Rebecca O'Reilly

Dr Rebecca O'ReillyDr Rebecca O'Reilly

Rebecca has been a Nursing and Midwifery Academic for over 18 years following a productive career as a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife. With excellent leadership skills, Rebecca has engaged in multiple Governance roles with the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University, including Director of Academic Programs, Undergraduate (2016-2019).

With a passion for, and ability in, writing and creativity, Rebecca has pursued research in innovative and engaging strategies for Primary Based Health Care Professionals in the area of Domestic Violence enquiry and intervention, as well as adult education of Undergraduate Nursing Students. Rebecca’s research portfolio is largely based on Women’s, Children and Family Health with a key focus on Domestic and Family Violence, with her other area of research being in the education of undergraduate nurses.

Rebecca completed her PhD in 2012, has led funded and non-funded research projects, publishing and presenting findings of her research. Rebecca is also active in mentoring Undergraduate Nursing Students as well as other academics, and supervising Higher Research Degree students.

Rebecca's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Domestic and Family Violence
  • Women's, Children and Family Health and Wellbeing
  • Undergraduate Nursing Education

Rebecca's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Qualitative
  • Mixed methods research

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 PhD
  • 2 PhD (Co-supervisor)
  • 1 MHons (Co-supervisor)

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • Nil

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9685 9490

Email: re.oreilly@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @reoreilly1

Professor Virginia Schmied
(Midwifery Supervisor)

Professor Virginia Schmied Pro Virginia Schmied

Professor Virginia Schmied is Professor of Midwifery in the Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University and is the Health and Well-being Theme Champion at the university. Virginia holds a Visiting Professorship at University of Central Lancashire (UK). In her role she collaborates with other senior academics at WSU to build capacity in maternal and child health research.

Professor Schmied has a strong national and international reputation in the discipline of midwifery, and in the field of maternal and child health. She researches and supervises higher degree students in topics addressing the social and emotional health and well-being of women and men in the transition to parenthood, breastfeeding and young child feeding; perinatal mental health, particularly in vulnerable communities and researching improvements in service delivery and professional practice. She is particularly interested in how relationship-based care leads to improved health outcomes for women, children and families.

Professor Schmied has held national competitive grants from ARC and NHMRC and she has conducted consultancy work including leading the development of the national framework for universal health and development services to children and families the Australian Government. She has published over 200 refereed journal articles, book chapters and published reports and regularly presents (including as a key note speaker) at national and international conferences. Her research has been translated to policy and practice, for example through the development of health policy, models of care, teaching resources for consumers and health professionals.

In 2016 she was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s award for Excellence in High Degree Research Supervision and Training and in 2018 she led a team that was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s excellence in Learning and Teaching award for innovations in perinatal multidisciplinary learning and teaching.

Virginia's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Midwifery
  • Maternal and child health; transition to parenthood
  • Breastfeeding and young child feeding
  • Perinatal mental health
  • Vulnerable communities improvements in service delivery and professional practice

Virginia's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Qualitative research ethnography
  • Action research
  • Participatory research
  • Discourse analysis
  • Mixed methods

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 BNHons
  • 1 MHons
  • 7 PhD

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 5 BN(Hons)
  • 8 M(Hons)
  • 48 PhD
  1. 2021 - Jen Hocking (PhD) - How Do Lactation Consultants Support Women To Breastfeed?
  2. 2021 - Hazel Keedle (PhD) -  What Are The Experiences Of Women Planning A VBAC From 36 Weeks Gestation To Birth In Two Australian Hospitals With Different VBAC Rates.
  3. Madeleine Simpson (PhD) - Understanding The Development Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Following Childbirth And It's Impact On Women Who Access Residential And Day Parenting Services In NSW.
  4. Suha Hussein (PhD) - Jordanian Women's Perceptions Of Episiotomy And Other Birth Interventions: An Intergenerational Qualitative Study.
  5. Philippa Mann (Conroy) - (PhD) - Co-Bedding Of Twins In The Neonatal Period? A Mixed Methods Study Exploring Variations In Practice And Perceptions In The Hospital And Home Setting.
  6. Bridgit Philip (PhD) - Understanding Perinatal Mental Health In Indian-Born Immigrant Women And Men: A Mixed Methods Study.
  7. Louise Everitt - (PhD) - Perinatal Interprofessional Psychosocial Education for Maternity Clinicians.
  8. Hannah Skelton - (PhD) - Positioning of extremely premature infants.

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9685 9505

Mobile:  +61 430 242 140

Email: v.schmied@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter: @vschmie1

Associate Professor Athena Sheehan
(Midwifery Supervisor)

Associate Professor Athena SheehanAssociate Professor Athena Sheenan

Athena Sheehan is a Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University.

Qualifications: RN, BN, RM, MN, PhD

Athena is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University. Athena has over 40 years of experience first as a nurse and then as a midwife working in the roles of clinician, researcher, and educator. Athena teaches into the Bachelor of Midwifery and Graduate Diploma of Midwifery programs, and supervises HDR students. Athena has held positions in governance including previously being the Director of Academic Programs for Midwifery at WSU.  She has been a member of the Australian College of Midwives for over 20 years. Her research has primarily focused on midwifery, but also includes transdisciplinary research with colleagues in the fields of nursing and socio-functional linguistics. Athena has made major original and innovative contributions to the field of infant feeding and maternal health and has been recognised both nationally and internationally for her research in this area. Her research interests also include midwifery education and workforce and most recently she has been the lead researcher on the SWIMMS project, a funded project that introduced a midwifery mentoring program for B Mid students into the clinical area. She is also currently the lead researcher on the funded Bachelor of Midwifery Multiple Mini Interviews study. Athena’s research has been presented at International and National conferences where she has been an invited and keynote speaker. She publishes regularly in highly ranked nursing, midwifery, and multidisciplinary journals, and her work is regularly cited. With colleagues she has been successful in receiving 2 ARC linkage grants, she has also been successful in receiving research funding through university grants. As an educator, clinician, and researcher, she is passionate about quality outcomes that result in the provision of excellent care for childbearing women and their families.

Athena's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Midwifery
  • Breastfeeding
  • Midwifery education
  • Women's experiences of midwifery care
  • Midwifery workforce
  • Homebirth
  • Breech birth
  • Mentoring
  • Models of care
  • Antenatal education

Athena's main methodological expertise includes:

Athena has experience with a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. This includes:

  • Grounded theory
  • Discourse analysis
  • Qualitative descriptive analysis
  • Metasynthesis
  • Quasi-experimental design
  • Mixed methods
  • Experimental design

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 BN(Hons)
  • 1 M(Hons)
  • 5 PhD

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 BM(Hons) (First Class)
  • 1 M(Hons)
  • 5 PhD

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9685 9068

Email: a.sheehan@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Virginia Stulz
(Midwifery Supervisor)

Associate Professor Virginia Stulz

Associate Professor Virginia Stulz is currently working in a conjoint position between Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District and Western Sydney University. Virginia is currently Chief Investigator on one major research project in five Local Health Districts of NSW that improves birth options for women. She recently worked in NSW across four Local Health Districts on a major research project in an effort to improve and explore student midwives’ experiences. She mentors and supports midwives in the local health district with their research projects. She collaborates with other university academics across Australia and New Zealand as a member of the Trans Tasman Midwifery Education Committee (TTMEC) and is currently the Chair for the TTMEC. She is currently leading one national research project with this consortium that explores characteristics of support within new graduate programmes within Australia and has recently completed and published another study that focused on midwives’ experiences during COVID-19. In collaboration with other researchers, she has published 25 peer-reviewed journal articles over the past five years in areas of complementary therapies, midwifery education, factors affecting birth practices, gender-based violence and women’s health. Virginia is currently supervising six higher degree research students as a primary supervisor and co-supervising two students.

Virginia's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Midwifery education, factors affecting birth practices, gender-based violence and women’s health. Mixed methodologies.

Virginia's methodological expertise includes:

  • Qualitative methods

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 4 PhD
  • 1 MRES
  • 1 BNHons

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 MR
  • 2 PhD (Co-Supervisor)
  • 1 BNHons (Co-Supervisor)

Contact details

Phone: +61 (0)408 427 612

Email: v.skinner@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @Virgini51194997

Dr Christine Taylor

Dr Christine TaylorImage Christine Taylor

Dr Christine Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, WSU, and Deputy Director of The New South Wales Centre for Evidence Based Health Care that supports nurses in systematic reviews and implementation reports. Christine is a supervisor of PhD and Honours’ students and has published in child and family health and nurse education. Christine is also an experienced educator, having spent around 25 years in higher education in a variety of roles, including senior governance positions. Christine's clinical experience extends over 30 years. The first half of her clinical career was spent in adult care and covered a variety of fields, such as medical, surgical, psychiatric, and aged care. The second half of her clinical career was with neonates, infants, and children, and included high dependency and critical care units and specialist medical units.

Christine's main research interests and expertise includes:

  • Child and family health education

Christine's main methodological expertise includes:

  • Systematic reviews

Currently supervising (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 1 PhD

Students to completion (PhD), (MHons), (BNHons)

  • 7 BNHons
  • 1 PhD

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 409128880 or +61 2 9685 9029

Email: ch.taylor@westernsydney.edu.au

Twitter:  @christaylorwsu