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    Working to improve the maternity experiences and outcomes of underserved migrant women in the UK by bringing together the best evidence and experts in the field

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    Let us tell you about our research project


    One in three births in England and Wales is to a migrant woman, i.e. a woman who was born outside the UK. In the UK, underserved migrant women are more likely to die in pregnancy, and they are less likely to get good pregnancy care. In this project, underserved migrant women are refugees, asylum-seekers, migrant women with little money, and migrant women without an official visa.


    There are many reasons for poor pregnancy health amongst underserved migrant women including not having support to access the NHS, not having family nearby, not speaking English well, and experiencing racism and discrimination.
    In the UK, we don’t fully understand how to help underserved pregnant migrant women because we have not listened to them to understand what they need, and do not have good evidence for what works.


    The project will have four parts:

    1. Evidence Search: To see what has worked to improve pregnancy care for underserved migrants in the UK and in similar countries.
    2. NHS Patient Data: We will use anonymous NHS data to try to understand what makes underserved migrant women at higher risk of death or illness in pregnancy by comparing them with UK-born women giving birth at the same time.
    3. Listen: To understand what underserved migrant women, midwives, doctors, researchers, government, and charities think can improve care.
    4. Plan and Resources: Create a plan and tools for improving care for underserved pregnant migrant women, especially those women who pay for NHS care. This may include new guidance, toolkits, factsheets, a video, and social media resources.


    The project has been designed with a migrant woman who is an expert by experience (someone with lived experience of being charged for pregnancy care), and forty other experts including other underserved migrant women, midwives, doctors, charities, researchers, and government workers. A Patient and Public Involvement Panel and a Steering Group have been created; they will provide advice throughout the project and will help in creating an action plan. Factsheets, videos, social media, articles, and presentations will be created with these groups and will help to share the findings with the public and patients.


    Get to know the people involved

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    Kerrie Stevenson

    Kerrie is a public health doctor and researcher who leads the project. Originally from Northern Ireland, she saw first hand the impact of conflict on families and communities. She is passionate about improving maternity care for women fleeing war and persecution.

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    Kemi Ogunlana

    Kemi is our lead Expert by Experience and has years of experience of providing expert input into heath care projects. She is interested in research to improve the maternity care of underserved migrant women in the UK. She is a Technical Advisor at Love Welcomes and is a National health Adviser at Doctors of the World UK.

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    Katie Harron

    Katie is Professor of Statistics at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. Katie's research aims to exploit the rich data that are collected as people interact with services through data linkage, in order to improve services for women and their families.

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    Marian Knight

    Marian Knight is Professor of Maternal and Child Population Health at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit. She trained initially in obstetrics and neonatology, completing a DPhil and then training in public health. She leads the MBRRACE-UK national confidential enquiries into maternal morbidity and mortality.

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    Fiona Stevenson

    Fiona is a medical sociologist with particular expertise in qualitative methods. She strongly believes in the value of working with experts by experience to understand and tackle complex medical and social problems.

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    Rob Aldridge

    Rob is a public health doctor and academic at UCL where he undertakes research that aims to equitably improve the health of the public through the application of data science and public health research.

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    Memuna Sowe

    Memuna is a Consultant Midwife for vulnerable and marginalised women at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust and winner of the British Journal of Midwifery Midwife of the Year. She has led some very pioneering work to support asylum-seeking women in the maternity system in the UK.

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    Brenda Kelly

    Brenda is a consultant obstetrician and lead for the Oxford Rose Clinic, a specialist clinic for women and girls with FGM. She has longstanding interest in migrant women’s health and wellbeing.

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    Wendy Olayiwola

    Wendy Olayiwola has worked as a registered nurse and practicing midwife across all levels of the maternity system in England for over twenty years. She is the National Maternity Lead for Equality at NHS England and NHS Improvement and works to achieve equity in all provisions of care for Black, Asian, and mixed ethnicity women, and those living in the most deprived areas.




    All of our work is created, conducted, and reported with Experts by Experience, i.e. migrant women who have given birth in the UK.

    If you are you a refugee, asylum-seeker, or low-income migrant woman who has given birth in the UK we'd really like you to join our research team!

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    Would you or your organisation like to be involved? Drop us an email, we'd love to hear from you!

    Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, 222 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DA