Griffith academic acknowledged as top maternity researcher 

Professor of Midwifery and Clinical Chair Jennifer Fenwickhas beenacknowledged inThe Australian’sResearchmagazine as a research leader in pregnancy and childbirth.

Professor Fenwick said she was “both delighted and humbled by the announcement”.

Professor Fenwick said it was fantastic to see Griffith named as the leading research institution for pregnancy and childbirth as “this acknowledges the strength, breadth and expertise of theMidwifery@Griffithteam”.

She said thespecific identification of the category of “pregnancy and childbirth” is animportant aspect of the announcement.

“Maternity and midwifery research is oftencategorised under ‘nursing’ or ‘obstetrics,’ and this results in midwifery research being less visible.”

Professor Fenwick’s career as a midwifery clinician, academic and researcher has spanned nearly 40 years.

A national and international researcher

She initially built a reputation as anational and international researcherinareas such aswomen’s experiences of mothering in the nursery, women’s expectations for labour and birth (including fear of childbirth), and women’s experiences of caesarean section and vaginal birth after caesarean section.

This worksubsequentlyfocused her interest in women’s emotional wellbeing during pregnancy, birth and the early transition to motherhood, and the impact and role of relationships, language and models of care.

TodayProfessor Fenwick’s focus isvery much about translating the evidence into practice.

“I am particularly proud of the work being undertaken within Gold Coast Health to reorientate services to align with the evidence, ensuring that more women have access to continuity of midwifery-led carewithin a supportive multidisciplinary team.”

Theinaugural Professor of Midwifery and Clinical Chair rolecommenced seven years ago when ProfessorFenwick was appointed. During this period, she has published over100articles and supported four students to complete their PhD.

In addition,Professor Fenwick hassupervised16Hons/Masterstudents to completion of theirdissertation. She has also written 54 grant applicationswith17beingsuccessfulfunded ($828,683).

In her joint appointment role Professor Fenwick hasstrategically developed the organisation’s research, clinical leadership, and practice development capability (translation).

Her work aligns with the state and national agenda around continuity of midwifery care (caseload midwifery) and she has been influential inimproving quality, access and equity of maternity services within the GCHS.

As a direct result ofProfessor Fenwick’scontributionand leadership role, Gold Coast University Hospital nowhasa clear strategic plan for maternity and newborn serviceswith anincremental increase in women’saccesstocaseload midwifery.

Notably, 18% of womengiving birth at GCUH nowreceive caseload midwifery, a percentage increase of 283% in seven years. This is a direct measure of the impact of ProfessorFenwick’sevidence translationrole.

Professor Fenwick hasstrengthened leadership at multiple levels. She has promoted astrong and effective partnership between GCH and Griffith University. The strategic leadership of this role has deepened the partnership between GCHS and Griffith University.

Recently, Professor Fenwick and colleagues at Griffith establishedtheTransforming MaternityCareCollaborative.

Under the leadership of Professor Midwifery Jenny Gamble

TheCollaborativebrings together four key arms ofGriffith’s midwifery research and scholarship; Practice Translation,Workforce, Health Promotion,and Educationandfostersengagement with arange of key stakeholders including consumers, researchers,economists,educators, cliniciansandhealth servicesfrom across the globe.

Of the many thousands of universities teaching in nursing and midwifery, Griffith University is ranked 11in the world (and first in Queensland) following the release ofthe2018 Shanghai Ranking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.