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Addressing care disparities through research – Professor Shakila Thangaratinam takes the lead

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BWC) – a founding member of BHP – has announced the appointment of Professor Shakila Thangaratinam to the new post of Research and Development Lead for its Women’s Hospital, and Deputy Director of Research and Development for the Trust. Shakila is BHP’s Academic Lead for Maternal Health and is a Consultant Obstetrician as well as Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health at the University of Birmingham, where she leads the WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Women’s Health. Here, she explains what her new position will entail and her future ambitions towards improving outcomes for women in Birmingham, the region, and globally.

In my new role, I am keen to facilitate a seamless integration of academia and clinical practice, and nurture the research ambitions of our trainees, midwives, nurses and allied health professionals and Consultant colleagues across various disciplines. Women’s voices will be central to our research development and delivery, and I am particularly keen to minimise the health disparities based on gender, race and ethnicity and socio-economic status. We have a unique strength in caring for women across their life course in our Trust from their birth and childhood, to adolescence, reproductive and post-menopausal age; our research will aim to improve their health throughout this journey.

The new Research and Development Lead role has three clear objectives:

    • To undertake high quality research through improved engagement with women, their families and clinicians, and a clear, achievable, and relevant research strategy
    • To promote capacity-building in research with the tools, skills and career development which are critical to expand and sustain research activities
    • To work closely with patient and public involvement groups such as The Hildas, so that research work addresses the needs of women and families.

“By working closely with the recently established Dame Hilda Network, we hope to bring together clinicians, academics, women and policy makers working towards improving the health of women and their babies in the region, directly addressing the priorities set out by the Women’s Health Strategy nationally.

“In a digital age, we’re well placed to maximise the power of the data in clinical and academic work. We want all women who visit with us to be given the opportunity to be included in our clinical research. Participation in research itself has been shown to improve their outcomes.”

Learn more about BHP’s Maternal Health research