Strengthening healthcare outcomes for First Nations mums and bubs through research


A positive experience with a student midwife during the traumatic birth of her second child planted the seed for Research Midwife Emma Kendall to become a midwife herself. Now a mother of five children, Emma has been a midwife for five years and loves supporting women’s choices, giving them the information and tools to feel empowered during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period, long after they have completed their midwifery care.

On International Day of the Midwife, Mater Research celebrates all of our Mater midwives, including our 12 research midwives like Emma, who provide care and support to mums, babies and families.

This year’s theme, “Sustainable Midwifery: Caring for Tomorrow’s World”, is prioritising the health of both mum and baby to ensure a healthier future for generations to come. This focus on the future influenced Emma’s desire to work in research and help future generations of families.

“I have always been interested in research, and after working as a midwife for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in the Wide Bay and Gympie region, I wanted the opportunity to work in research while also continuing to work clinically,” Emma said.

“With a background working in Indigenous health with mums and bubs, when I saw an opportunity for a research midwife position in the Indigenous Health Research Group at Mater Research, I jumped at the opportunity to apply.”

As part of her role, Emma also works with the Indigenous Queensland Family Cohort (IQFC) study to support First Nations families during pregnancy and up to six-weeks postnatal.

“Using biological samples as well as health surveys answered by the families, data is collected to allow researchers to answer questions relating to the health of First Nations families.”

“I enjoy the continuity-of-care nature of this role, working with the women and families, following them through on their pregnancy and postnatal journey and seeing how excited they are to participate in a study that will help to strengthen healthcare outcomes for First Nations mums, bubs and families.”

“Each day is different and I enjoy the variety. I am grateful to be part of research that can hopefully go on to inform our practice as midwives and clinicians, ensuring that we are practicing evidenced-based care.”

Emma says that while the student midwife that she met all those years ago was just doing her job, “she will never know the impact she had on me, my babies and our family, or how she inspired me to completely change my career and help other families just like she helped me.”

Learn more about the Indigenous Health Research Group

Learn more about the Indigenous Queensland Family Cohort.

Featured image: Senior Indigenous Research Assistant Davina Smith and Research Midwife Emma Kendall

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