Our network members include:
Dr Mel Cooper, University of Bradford/ Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research
I am a Reader in Maternity and Migrant health. I am particularly interested in the interaction between migrant women and health services in terms of access, experiences and outcomes and how interventions can be developed to support this interaction. https://www.bradford.ac.uk/staff/mcooper2
Marie-Clare Balaam, University of Central Lancashire
I am a researcher and PhD candidate at UCLan. My research interests are related to aspects of maternity care for migrant and marginalised women in the UK and Europe, particularly access to care and issues of social support.
Verónica Blanco Gutiérrez, University of Bristol
I am a midwife and PhD candidate in Digital Health and Care at the University of Bristol. I am fascinated about the digitalisation of maternity services to improve care and health outcomes and its impact on women from underrepresented groups. I am also passionate about the intersection between health inequalities, social determinants of health and maternity care.
Dr Sara Borrelli, University of Nottingham
I am a midwife with experience in clinical practice, education and research. I currently work as Associate professor and am a member of the Maternal Health and Wellbeing Research Group (School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham). One of my research interests is maternity care and non-statutory support provided to mothers survivors of modern slavery during the perinatal period
Alix Bukkfalvi-Cadotte, Swansea University Medical School
I am an ESRC-funded PhD student at Swansea University. My research focusses on the maternity care experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in Wales.
Dr Joanne Cairns, Hull York Medical School, University of Hull
I am undertaking a five year Career Development Fellowship funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research. I am working in the TRANSFORM project (https://hyms.ac.uk/research/transform) which aims to tackle cancer inequalities in Yorkshire with various projects. Specifically, my research falls into the early detection and diagnosis strand focusing on inequalities in cervical screening uptake among seldom heard women.
Catherine Collins, Northumbria University
I am a midwifery lecturer and PhD student at Northumbria University. My research interests include maternity care experiences and support needs of refugee and asylum seeking women. My PhD project is investigating the support needs and maternity service provision for women who have been trafficked into the UK.
Kirsty Crossley, Born in Bradford, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
I am the Programme Co-Ordinator focusing on studies during pregnancy and the early years at Born in Bradford. Some of the projects I work on include the Born in Bradford’s Better Start (BiBBS) cohort study that will recruit up to 5000 babies in the Better Start Bradford areas over seven years. My background is psychology and my research interests include but are not limited to: pregnancy, early years, service provision, mental health and wellbeing research
Dr Josie Dickerson, Born in Bradford, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
I am the director for the Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub and the Bradford Inequalities Research Unit, two research programmes that focus on reducing health inequalities during pregnancy and the early years to give children the best start in life. A key part of this work is the Born in Bradford’s Better Start birth cohort (N=5000), the world’s first experimental birth cohort, that allows us to evaluate the impact of interventions to reduce health inequalities. The impact of recent migration and ethnicity are key elements of this work.
Heba Farajallah, University of Aberdeen
I am a midwife and a PhD student at the university of Aberdeen. My PhD looks at maternity care experiences of refugee and asylum seeking women in Scotland. I have worked in Gaza strip- Palestine as a midwife and worked with Palestinian refugee women by background.
Júlia Fernandez, University of Edinburgh
I am a PhD student in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, currently conducting ethnographic research on reproductive experiences among undocumented migrant and asylum-seeking women in London. My project aims to capture the complex everyday experiences of mothers within the asylum and immigration system, seeking to understand how the conditions of transiency, insecurity and temporality intersect with the experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering. I am also a volunteer doula supporting asylum seeking women and have a social care background working with migrant women experiencing gender-based violence.
Amanda Firth, University of Huddersfield
I am a PhD student investigating maternity service improvement for refugee and asylum seeking with symptoms of perinatal depression.
Nicola Hancock, Better Start, Bradford Institute for Health Research
I have extensive experience in the early years sector and since joining the Better Start, Bradford core team, I continue to deliver antenatal education classes and parenting programmes to vulnerable (including migrant) women. I also work on on the language projects. I am also a volunteer doula with experience of supporting women who are seeking asylum.
Syka Iqbal, University of Bradford
I am a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. My research focusses on health inequalities in ethnic minorities, specifically in order gain a better understanding of how local services need to be changed and developed, including knowledge of ethnic diversity and capacity of both statutory and community sector to enable them to tackle the issue together. I am also a member of the Jewish-Muslim Women’s network Nisha Nisam and the Muslims Women’s Council for Britain where I have helped facilitate the first Muslim Women’s Think-Tank in Britain.
Ella Johnson, Doctors of the World (DOTW)
I am currently the interim Associate Director of Research at DOTW UK. I have been at DOTW for over 4 years in both policy and advocacy and services roles, as the mobile clinic co-ordinator. I have recently completed a 2yr secondment at the Greater London Authority working across the Mayor’s Health and Social Integration teams in a migrant health role, working alongside regional NHS leads to improve Primary Care registration for patients without documents and in a co-ordination role to remove barriers to health services for Londoners in the asylum process and other newly arrived communities. I have a background in asylum support, working with women seeking asylum and with refugee status in Liverpool, and I am a Churchill Memorial Fellow (2019) with an interest in maternal health access policy in Europe.
Dr Yamma Khalid Aria, University of York
I am a medical doctor driven by a strong commitment to enhancing the well-being of minority groups, particularly in the realm of mental health. After earning an MBBS degree, I pursued further education and obtained a master’s degree in public health (MPH) from the University of York. Driven by a desire to make a lasting impact in the field of mental health, I embarked on a journey to delve deeper into the complexities surrounding mental health among migrants. Currently, I am pursuing a Ph.D. where my research focuses on the perinatal mental health of forced migrants.
Dr Elizabeth Kiilu, University of Bradford
I am Health Systems consultant and Public Health specialist with over 10 years of experience in Health Systems Strengthening and Public Health interventions. I am currently a Lecturer in Public Health. My research areas of expertise includes health inequalities particularly among Black, Asian, and minority ethnic women, including vulnerable groups such as migrants and asylum seekers. I am also keen on maternal and child health outcomes among vulnerable populations and their health behaviours.
Katherine Letley, University of East Anglia/ City of Sanctuary
I am a midwife, Clinical Educator at the University of East Anglia and Maternity Consultant for City of Sanctuary UK. I have a Masters in International Development and begin my PhD in October 2022 at City University of London titled: “A combined methods research project examining the relationship between refugee women on the UK Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and NHS midwives”. I am particularly interested in how groups form opinions and stereotypes of one another and how this influences care outcomes.
Li Li, University of East Anglia
I am a CHASE-funded PhD student investigating the effective use of interpreting modalities, i.e., face-to-face, telephone or video-mediated interpreting, in maternity settings. As a Mandarin Chinese-English interpreter and translator, I am a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). In addition, I am on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI). Previously, I have taught subjects including English, EAP, Chinese, MA Conference Interpreting and Translation at universities in China and the UK.
Dr Gwyneth Lonergan, Northumbria University
I am a lecturer in Sociology with a long standing interest in reproductive justice, as an activist and as a researcher, particularly as it pertains to migrant womens’ experiences. I am interested in how racialised, gendered, and neoliberal discourses around belonging and citizenship are experienced materially by individuals, especially as this related to biological and social reproduction. I am also interested in how migrants organise to resist their exclusion and marginalisation. Prior to my current post, I was a Wellcome fellow in Social Science and Bioethics at Lancaster University, researching migrant women’s experiences of maternity care in the north of England. My PhD thesis, at the University of Manchester, looked at the impact of local geographies on migrant women’s activism in Manchester and Sheffield.
Dr Lucy Lowe, University of Edinburgh
I am a senior lecturer in social and medical anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. My research examines how practices and ideologies of gender, motherhood, and reproduction are centred in processes of migration and asylum, and explores the relationship between reproductive and migrant (in)justice.
Rose McCarthy, NCT, Leeds
I am an NCT Expert Practitioner and run a specialist antenatal class for migrant women. I work with researchers to place Experts by Experience at the centre of research projects so that the reality that asylum seekers and refugees experience is used to influence policy and practice.
Majel McGranahan, University of Warwick
I am a Public Health Doctor in the West Midlands and an MRC Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Warwick. I have recently started a three-year MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship/PhD based at the University of Warwick (and also University College London); I will be undertaking a mixed-methods study to explore barriers and facilitators to improving pre-conception health and contraceptive access among migrant women.
Pip McKnight, University of Birmingham
I am a midwife by background, currently Research and Impact Fellow in the Institute for Research into Superdiversity at University of Birmingham, working on the reach and influence of the SEREDA project on forced migration and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). I am also an ESRC-funded PhD student researching the pregnancy care experiences of forced migrant survivors of SGBV in the UK and part time Teaching Fellow in Midwifery at Coventry University.
Andy Mprah, University of Bradford,
I am a Public Health Practitioner with 7 plus years cumulative experience. I am currently a PhD Candidate working on Migrant father’s experience of maternity in the UK. I am currently in phase 2 of this project hoping to engage forced migrant fathers, voluntary sector officers, council officers and third year midwifery students in two nominal group technique exercises. I hope this will bring to light real world interventions to address the barriers identified.
Tahira Mumtaz, University of Bradford
I am PhD student working on a project ‘Developing a cultural intervention to address barriers to accessing maternity care for migrant women’
Irantzu Pérez Arribas, Sister Circle
I am Head of Programmes at Sister Circle, a women’s health charity based in East London working to reduce health inequalities. We take a holistic approach to supporting women in challenging circumstances to empower themselves for a better health journey through emotional, practical, and advocacy support. Our programmes/areas of expertise include: pregnancy and birth (Maternity Mates); Female Genital Cutting (Her Health); trauma, pregnancy loss, traumatic birth experiences (Healing Conversations).
Prof Hora Soltani, Sheffield Hallam University
I am the lead for Maternal and Infant Health within Health and Social Care Research theme. Our research is interdisciplinary, maternity user led and is applied projects. The overall purpose of this theme is to reduce health inequalities for mothers and their families with a focus on promotion of healthy lifestyle particularly in vulnerable at risk group of women. This includes migrant women.
Dr Tomasina Stacey, Kings College, London
I am a Senior lecturer in Health Services Research in Midwifery and Maternity Care. My research focuses on perinatal outcomes, the quality and safety of maternity care and the reduction of health inequalities. Migrant women are an important part of this, experiencing high levels of health inequalities.
Dr Kerrie Stevenson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
I am an NHS Public Health Doctor and researcher based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Migrant Health Advocacy Lead at the Faculty of Public Health. My research focuses on improving access to healthcare amongst underserved migrant groups, particularly the migrant perinatal population in the UK. I have worked in the Middle East (Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen) and in Europe (Greece, UK), and have collaborated with several NGOs and local Ministries of Health
Rebecca Thomas, West Yorkshire Maternal Mental Health Service
I am currently setting up a service to support women and birthing parents with reproductive trauma. This includes creating an ‘Inclusion Toolkit’ to ensure our service is shaped to break down barriers to access and improve engagement. Previously I was a Specialist Midwife for 5 years working to improve equity of care in maternity. I have specific interest in Trauma Informed Care and improving access to maternity and perinatal mental health. I am involved in the development and evaluation of the Mid Yorkshire Maternity Befriender service to support migrant women during their maternity journey.
I work as and Art and Health facilitator, providing free to access creative journalling groups in collaboration with Maternal Journal, The Art House Wakefield and The University of Sheffield ‘Re-emerge’ project. We also work to target diverse communities that may usually encounter barriers to accessing groups.
Gill Thornton, Bradford Institute for Health Research
I am Head of Programme at Better Start Bradford with the ambition of creating lasting change for Bradford families in future generations. I previously worked in the voluntary sector focusing on community empowerment and have also worked as an NCT antenatal teacher, parenting teacher and have been involved in Health Service user groups for over 30 years.
Dr Nazmy Villarroel-Williams, University of Sheffield
I am a NIHR post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Sociological Studies. I have previously worked in Ireland on Ethnic Minority Health co-creating knowledge (EMH-IC) project, at the University of Edinburgh on an international collaborative research project entitled: ‘Counting a Diverse Nation: Disaggregating Data on Race and Ethnicity to Advance a Culture of Health’. I have collaborated with diverse NGOs (e.g. Doctors of the world, Save the children, Doras Luimní) in different countries (e.g. Croatia, UK, Spain, Ireland,) since 2006.