Professor Sally Tracy
RGON RM, BNurs, AdvDipMid, MA, DMid
M02A - 88 Mallett Street - Building A
The University of Sydney
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Midwifery and Women's Health
Sally Tracy is Professor of midwifery research at the University of Sydney and conjoint Professor at the School of Women’s and Children’s Health at the Faculty of Medicine, UNSW. Educated in midwifery in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, Professor Tracy has extensive experience in community and high-risk care, in New Zealand and Australia. She was awarded the world’s first professional doctorate in midwifery and has published widely on the epidemiology of obstetric intervention in labour and birth, preterm birth, and the outcomes of birth centre care using large population data sets, and more recently on the outcomes of caseload midwifery and the safety of stand-alone maternity units. As head of the University of Sydney Midwifery & Women’s Health Research Unit at the Royal Hospital for Women her research activity is embedded in the clinical environment ensuring an optimum level of translation of research findings into practice. Professor Tracy co-edited and co-authored the first midwifery textbook written specifically for midwives practicing in Australia and New Zealand, Midwifery: Preparation for Practice. She led the development of the ACM National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral which are endorsed by RANZCOG and recommended for use in all states and territories in Australia. In 2011, Professor Tracy co-founded the Australian Centre for Perinatal Science (ACPS), a formal collaboration of expert scientists and clinicians in perinatal health.
She was one of 15 clinicians across Australia appointed to the Clinical Advisory Committee of the newly established national Independent Hospital Pricing Authority in 2009. Professor Tracy has been awarded the Women’s Hospitals Australasia Medal for services to women’s health.
“Underpinning my research is the desire to make information and evidence available to all women regarding maternity and midwifery care services, to help them make informed decisions” says Professor Tracy. In line with this, her predominant research interests include:
· Health services research in midwifery
· Policy issues relating to the level and timing of intervention during labour and birth
· Guidelines for consultation and referral in relation to the scope of midwifery practice
· Innovative models of maternity care
· Physiological markers of the progress of labour
· Epidemiological research into maternity care using large linked-population databases.
Professor Tracy has a strong track record in research leadership as lead researcher on three large NHMRC project grants. In the M@NGO study reported in The Lancet, Sally Tracy and colleagues sought to answer whether continuity of midwifery carer for women at all levels of risk, from booking to postnatal discharge in the community, might reduce interventions in childbirth, reduce costs, and increase women’s satisfaction. The study found that caseload care was associated with reduced interventions in birth and reduced costs. Her current NHMRC-funded projects include: (a) a prospective cohort study of free-standing primary-level midwifery-led maternity units in Australia and New Zealand; and (b) the Amniotic Fluid Lactate study that aims to ascertain the role of amniotic fluid lactate in the diagnosis of labour dystocia.
She is currently a Chief Investigator on an ARC-Linkage Grant; an NMHRC Partnership Grant to develop a model for Birth on Country; and a chief investigator on the Queensland Flood study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). She is committed to improving maternity care and services for Aboriginal women through her advisory role on the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Sydney. She was involved in the NHMRC funded ‘One plus One’ study identifying the needs of and improving maternity and postnatal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the Top End, NT in the year prior to and after birth. The maternity services established remain operational today.
Teaching and supervision
Current research topics
Primary Supervisor PhD (A Monk) The Evaluation of Primary Maternity Units in Australia (Completed no revisions required )
Primary Supervisor PhD (C Grigg) Decision making in Maternity Care: Why women give birth in primary maternity units in New Zealand
Primary Supervisor PhD (D Hartz) A randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery care (Completed no revisions required)
Primary Supervisor PhD (B Hall) Is lactic acid concentration in amniotic fluid a new predictor of labour dystocia?
UNSW Secondary Supervisor PhD (P Laws) Birth centres in Australia (Completed no revisions required)
Primary Supervisor MPhil (T Martin) “Mimi Ngiya – Nans Story”.
Curriculum development and teaching
In 2008 Professor Tracy joined a small consortium led by Professor Jill White, University of Sydney, to design a three-year midwifery curriculum for Vietnam, funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In the next stage of this curriculum development a four year course was developed. She was a member of the Curriculum Advisory Board, Faculty of Nursing Midwifery and Health UTS, Sydney to develop the new Bachelor of Midwifery Curriculum proposal, 2000-2004, and an external advisor for the UTS Professional Doctorates in Nursing and Midwifery. She is the external curriculum adviser for the Christchurch and Otago Polytechnics (New Zealand) four year Bachelor of Midwifery programs. Currently, she is the Pacific representative on the ICM Taskforce on Global Standards for Midwifery Education.
International research-related achievements
2008-2012; 2012-2014 The University of Sydney, UNFPA and the Ministry of Health in Vietnam have worked together over the past six years to develop an evidence-based four year curriculum for midwives in Vietnam. This work included writing a 150,000 word reference text with an emphasis on practice in resource scarce environments which was translated into Vietnamese to accompany the curriculum. In 2014 the team completed the 2nd edition of this textbook.
Clinical redesign and reorganisation of the maternity service to offer caseload midwifery care at the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney (under randomised controlled trial conditions.)
Implementation and continuing support through evaluation of the first free standing midwifery unit at Ryde hospital, NSW.
Co-director of the Australian Centre for Perinatal Science (ACPS), a formal collaboration of scientists and clinicians in the perinatal field engaged in research at a national and international level in the field of perinatal medicine.
Providing advice and professional expertise to DOHA in relation to maternity services reform and access to Medicare for midwives.
Midwifery consultation with the Ngemba Elders (Stone People) of Bourke in redesigning the maternity service in a rural and remote setting
Professional expertise in midwifery and obstetrics as a member of the clinical advisory committee of IHPA
Chair, third revision of the National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral
Member Clinical Advisory Committee, Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (Appointed by the Federal Minister for Health)
Member ICM Taskforce on Global Standards for Midwifery Education 2009 continuing
Member NHMRC review panel for Project Grants 2009 continuing
Member Royal Hospital for Women, Clinical Council 2009 continuing
Editorial board; New Zealand College of Midwives Journal
Associate Editor; BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Member, International Scientific Research Committee, ICM 2007 continuing
Awards and honours
Women's Hospitals Australasia Medal of Distinction for services to women's health
2003 Awarded the world’s first Doctorate in Midwifery, UTS, Sydney
2002 UTS Vice Chancellor's Travel Fund Award to travel to an International Conference to present original research at Oslo, June 2002
2000 The UTS Vice Chancellor's Travel Fund Award to travel to an International Conference to present research findings at Oxford University, July 2000
2014 Poche Foundation Grant to fund a Poche Post-doctoral Fellow in Midwifery. Total $100,000 for three years.
2013 NHMRC 1044962 Project Grant. (CIA) Tracy SK, Rawlinson WR, Bisits A, Tracy MB, Shand A, Ledger W, Welsh AW. The Amniotic Fluid Lactate Study. Total $657,429.73
2013 Research Grant from the Foundation of the Royal Hospital for Women. Total $90,000.00
2012 Tracy SK Bridging Support Grant, University Sydney (Near miss grant following NHMRC 2011 round) $40,000.00
2011 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) 246887. King S, Austin M-P, Kildea S, (AI) Tracy SK et al The effects of the Queensland floods on pregnant women, their pregnancies and their children's early development (QF2011) (Study addition to M@NGO RCT). Total $CAD 493,794.00
2009 ARC Linkage Project Grant (LP 0990427). The Royal Hospital for Women as Industry Partner (Tracy SK) with the Department of Organisation and Management at the Australian School of Business, UNSW to study employees' wellbeing and emotion management strategies
2008 NHMRC 571901 Project Grant. (CIA) Tracy SK, Foureur M, Barclay L, Tracy MB, Kensington M, Welsh A. Evaluation of Midwifery Units (EMU): a prospective cohort study of primary level (free standing) midwifery led units. Total $660,125.00
2007 NHMRC 510207 Project Grant. (CIA) Tracy SK, Chapman M, Peek M, Tracy MB, Homer C, Kildea S. A randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery care. Total $572,000.00
2007 NHMRC 476200 A Healthy Start to Life for All Australians Strategic Award. Barclay L, Kildea S, Kruske S, Norris G, McGregor C, Curry J, (CIG) Tracy SK, 1+1=A Healthy Start to LifeTotal $528,000.00. In addition the NT Government provided $45,000 from the Research and Innovation Board (that was conditional on receiving the Healthy Start funding), with an overall total of $573,000.00
2007 Kildea S, Govan A, Witten H, Tracy SK. Northern Territory Research and Innovation Board Funding Round 4 of Research and Innovation Grants (NTRIB's) Homebirth point of service client data and analysis system. Total $14,000.00
2007 Tracy SK, UNSW Faculty of Medicine, Goldstar Award Total $40,000.00
2007 NHMRC Project Grant 457515 Levy M, Sullivan ES, (AI) Tracy SK Mothers and Gestation in Custody (MAGIC): Does imprisonment during pregnancy effect mother and baby outcomes? Total $299,000.00
2006 Bryant J, Sullivan EA, Tracy SK Phase 2. "Caesarean Pathway Model": An across-method investigation of Caesarean delivery in Australia, University of NSW, Faculty Research Grants Program. Total $20,000.00
2005 Bryant J, Sullivan EA, Tracy SK Phase 1. "Caesarean Pathway Model": An across-method investigation of Caesarean delivery in Australia, University of NSW, Faculty Research Grants Program. Total $20,000.00
2004 Barclay L, Goodman D, Tracy SK.Improving birth outcomes in China: consequences and potentials of policy, state and professional interactions. ARC/UTS grant Total $370,000.00
2003 Tracy SK (Named team investigator) Health Evaluation Research & Outcomes Network (HERON) funded by NHMRC Capacity Building Grant in Population Health Research
2000 Chamberlain M Tracy SK.The NSW Aboriginal Health Strategy FundingNSW Health. Total $180,000.00
Midwifery; Epidemiology; Population health; Health service research
- Malabar Research Project; Tracy S; Royal Hospital for Women Randwick/Royal Hospital for Women Foundation.
- Indigenous birthing in an urban setting: The IBUS study; Passey M, Tracy S; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Partnership Projects.
- Midwifery Research Fellow Application; Tracy S; Royal Hospital for Women Randwick/Royal Hospital for Women Foundation.
- Is lactic acid concentration in amniotic fluid a new predictor of labour dystocia; Tracy S, Tracy M, Shand A, Bisits A, Rawlinson W, Ledger W, Welsh A; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
- Post Doctoral Fellowship Fund; Tracy S; Foundation of the Royal Hospital for Women/RHW Foundation Grants.
- The Amniotic Fluid lactate Pilot Study; Tracy S; University of Sydney/Bridging Support.
- Lactate Study Pilot; Tracy S, Welsh A, Shand A, Tracy M; DVC Research/Bridging Support Grant.
- QF2011: The effects of the Queensland floods on pregnant women, their pregnancies and their children’s early development; Tracy S, King S, Austin M, Kildea S, Brunet A; Canadian Institutes of Health Research/International Opportunities Program Development Grant.
- Evaluating Midwifery Led Units (EMU): a prospective cohort study of primary level (free standing) midwifery led units; Tracy S, Foureur M, Barclay L, Tracy M, Kensington M, Welsh A; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
- The Heart of Health Care: Advancing Emotional Welllbeing, Engagement and Performance in Hospitals; Tracy S, Crisp J, Johnston A, Groth M; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Linkage Projects (LP).
- A randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery care; Kildea S, Tracy S, Chapman M, Peek M, Tracy M, Homer C, Kildea S; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
- Investigating the association between incarceration while pregnant and maternal and infant outcomes; Levy M, Sullivan E, Tracy S, Sullivan E; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
- 1+1=A Healthy Start to Life; Tracy S, Barclay L, Kruske S, Curry J, Kildea S, Norris G, McGregor C; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/A Healthy Start to Life for All Australians.
- Mothers and Gestation in Custody (MAGIC): Does imprisonment during pregnancy effect mother and baby outcomes?; Sullivan E, Levy M, Tracy S; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
- Bridging Grant Scheme; Tracy S; University of New South Wales/Gold Star Award.
- Homebirth point of service client data and analysis system; Tracy S, Kildea S, Govan A, Witten H; Northern Territory Research and Innovation Board/Research Support.
- SK Phase 2. ‘Caesarean Pathway Model’: An across-method investigation of Caesarean delivery in Australia; Tracy S, Bryant J, Sullivan E; University of New South Wales/Faculty Research Grant.
- SK Phase 1. ‘Caesarean Pathway Model’: An across-method investigation of Caesarean delivery in Australia; Tracy S, Bryant J, Sullivan E; University of New South Wales/Faculty Research Grant.
- Health Evaluation Research & Outcomes Network (HERON); Armstrong B, Kricker A, Roberts C, Simpson J, Tracy S, Jorm L, Sullivan E, Harris M; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Strategic Awards: Capacity Building Grants in Population Health Research.
- NSW Aboriginal Health Strategy Funding; Chamberlain M, Tracy S; NSW Health/NSW Health Aboriginal Strategy Funding.