Midwifery and Women's Health Research Unit

new born baby
Midwifery and Women

Professor Sally Tracy with mother and baby

The Midwifery and Women's Health Research unit is joint initiative between the University of Sydney and the Royal Hospital for Women with support from the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation.

Located within one of Australia’s leading women’s hospitals, the research unit is bringing together midwives, doctors and nurses to undertake research that will translate into everyday midwifery practice and set new trends to offer more family-friendly and women-centred care.


New research

Building on our randomised trial of midwifery group practice (M@NGO: Lancet, 2013) and our longitudinal cohort of women exposed to the Queensland Floods in 2011. This research will increase our understanding of how stress in pregnancy impacts on maternal mental health and child development. We will explore how the effects may be moderated by the type of maternity care women received. We have an established cohort exposed to the 2011 Queensland Floods, with pre-flood assessments and 6 years follow-up. We will continue assessments from 7-10 years and recruit a Sydney control group, from women who participated in our randomised trial of maternity care. The collection of biological specimens at birth and embedded randomised trial makes our cohort unique in the world.

Birth on Country

A partnership grant with University of Queensland aims to improve maternal and infant health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The establishment of Birth On Country services in Australia has been taken up nationally through the National Maternity Services Plan. Birth on Country has been described as a metaphor for the best start in life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies. Currently, few such models exist in Australia. Providing primary maternity services 'On Country' must be explored. With changes to the funding model in Australia, the introduction of the Eligible Midwife program funded through Medicare, the provision of skilled, culturally appropriate care as close to home as possible for all women must be seen as a non-negotiable national priority.


The Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) is a collaboration between leading experts in health, research and education sectors and aims to develop new and innovative ways to deliver better healthcare for communities in NSW. SPHERE’s aim is to speed up the adoption of potentially lifesaving research in medicine and science through its focus on translating research and science into real outcomes for patients and their communities. In 2016, SPHERE was gifted an Indigenous name 'Maridulu Budyari Gumal',which means “working together to promote better health and wellbeing” in the language of the Dharug people (the original inhabitants of lands comprising much of Sydney) in recognition of SPHERE’s importance to Aboriginal health in NSW.

Paediatric nursing in Australia

Associate Professor Jennifer Fraser, along with Sydney Nursing School Dean, Professor Donna Waters published Paediatric Nursing in Australia in 2015. This book explores the essential skills required for nursing students to become specialists in paediatric, child and youth health issues.

A second edition was published in 2017, along with a skills text for undergraduate students in 2018.

Sydney Nursing School research