2021 Midwifery Research Symposium

Join us for the AOM’s 2021 Midwifery Research Symposium showcasing midwifery-led research initiatives!

This year’s online format will be hosted daily from March 22-26, 2021 and will include keynote presentations, panel discussions and workshops for midwives.

PRE-REGISTRATION is required! Register here for full access to the week-long event and attend as many presentations as you like! Scroll below to review a complete program agenda as well as presentation descriptions and available speaker bios.

Program Agenda

DATE

SESSION

SPEAKER

Monday, March 22
12:00-1:00 PM 

OPENING KEYNOTE Restricted Access. Who Cares?
Dr. Karline Wilson-Mitchell, Ryerson University
Tuesday, March 23
12:00-1:00 PM 

 

 

ONTARIO RESEARCH SHOWCASE

 

 

 

 

LIGHTNING ROUNDS

You're in this weird limbo: Midwifery clients' experiences of receiving care for early pregnancy loss in Ontario 
Angela Freeman


Understanding the perinatal care experiences and needs of people with disabilities in Ontario
Lesley Tarasoff, Kate Welsh, Laurie Proulx


Internalization of midwifery profession values and midwives' intention to stay or leave
Farimah Hakem Zadeh 


Evaluation of Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Training for Midwives 
Bronte Johnson


Measuring the Attitudes of Ontario Midwives' towards Sexual and Gender Minority People: Results from a Cross-Sectional Survey Study
Jen Goldberg

 

**Correct Time**
Wednesday, March 24
3:00 - 4:00 PM

SPOTLIGHT SPEAKER Midwives Matter: The potential impact of midwives in preventing and reducing maternal and neonatal mortality and stillbirths.
Dr. Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute
Thursday, March 25
12:00-1:00 PM 
WORKSHOP

Capacity Building for Midwifery-Led Research
Dr. Liz Darling, McMaster University
Dr. Beth Murray-Davis, McMaster University
Dr. Kristy Bourret, Laurentian University

Friday, March 26
12:00-1:00 PM 
PANEL DISCUSSION

Reflecting on Equity and Ethics in the Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ellen Blais, Association of Ontario Midwives
Dr. Soo Downe, University of Central Lancashire
Dr. Ross Upshur, University of Toronto
Dr. Saraswathi Vedam, University of British Columbia 

Speaker Bios & Lecture Descriptions

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Karline Mitchell-Wilson

Monday, March 22, 2021 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Restricted Access. Who Cares?
Dr. Karline Wilson-Mitchell, Ryerson University

When have people been taken out of the picture? To some, mind, thought and will were and are all that identify a person as a person. In some paradigms, one's ancestors, children, and childbearing members of the community, are not necessarily considered persons. Their needs, desires, and hopes therefore “don’t matter”. For them, resources, privileges, rights, and access must be earned. For others people mean something. It's the tension existing between randomness or precarity vs. determinism in the universe. To determinists, places are not to be owned any more than people should be owned. They argue that places and people are not random but full of intrinsic value and purpose. Consequently, places hold memories of suffering, and resilience and hope. Places are the object of our movements and migration, for a better life. This presentation will involve the telling of migration stories. It will be edgy, intended to help us to reflect, and to learn from the past, and the present. It is a herstory of Canadian midwives of colour. Listen at your own risk. Discretion is advised.


Dr. Karline Wilson-Mitchell RM, DNP, FACNM has practiced midwifery in the US and Canada since 1992 (including clinics, birth centres and hospitals in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Northern Quebec [Puvirnituq], and Ontario).  She has taught in the MEP at Ryerson University since 2008.  She is a member of the ACNM (Midwives of Color Committee).  Her doctoral studies placed a heavy emphasis on midwifery education.  And her capstone project focused on perceptions of Jamaican midwives of barriers to delivery of respectful maternity care.  Some of the findings of this research inform her current philosophy of teaching and equity research.  Karline’s interest in international health and health policy stems from years of working with international clients and student in nursing and midwifery.

Karline has worked with Tanzanian and Zambian midwives and participated in volunteer work in Jamaica, Tanzania and Burundi.  She has published articles on strategies for infusing diversity, equity and inclusion into clinical learning as well as employing an intellectual partnership model for teaching.  Under the auspices of CAMGlobal Karline has worked with the South Sudanese midwives to develop a tutor’s manual to deliver their newly developed three-year midwifery diploma curriculum among students who have experienced the aftermath of civil unrest and war.  Areas of research include: perinatal outcomes of refugee and migrant women and; Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (Integration Trajectories of Immigrant Families); Rights for Children and Youth Partnership: Strengthening Collaboration in the Americas. 

Ontario Midwifery Showcase Speakers

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm

You're in this weird limbo: Midwifery clients' experiences of receiving care for early pregnancy loss in Ontario 
Angela Freeman

This exploratory qualitative study examined the experiences of Ontario midwifery clients accessing and receiving healthcare in cases of early pregnancy loss (EPL). The overall objective of this study was to understand how client experiences can be improved.


Understanding the perinatal care experiences and needs of people with disabilities in Ontario
Lesley Tarasoff, Kate Welsh, Laurie Proulx

Pregnancy is not uncommon in women with disabilities; in 2017, one in eight pregnancies in Ontario was to a woman with a disability. Yet, a growing body of research indicates that they are at elevated risk for experiencing complications during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period. What are pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care experiences and needs of people* with disabilities in Ontario?


Internalization of midwifery profession values and midwives' intention to stay or leave
Farimah Hakem Zadeh 

An examination of the differences in the associations of internalization of the midwifery profession values and satisfaction with the nature of the job with midwives' intention to stay and intention to leave.


Evaluation of Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Training for Midwives 
Bronte Johnson

In 2018, the College of Midwives of Ontario expanded the scope of practice for registered midwives to include performing point of care ultrasound (POCUS) which can aid assessment and diagnosis during obstetrical examination. This project evaluated learner knowledge and skill acquisition following an innovative POCUS curriculum developed for midwives.   


Measuring the Attitudes of Ontario Midwives' towards Sexual and Gender Minority People: Results from a Cross-Sectional Survey Study
Jen Goldberg

This study explores Ontario midwives’ attitudes towards sexual and gender minority people (SGM). Understanding how attitudes are shaped can help inform the process to build the capacity of midwives to provide quality, inclusive and safe care to all SGM, which could play an important role in reducing health disparities of SGM and improve their health outcomes.

Spotlight Speaker: Dr. Caroline Homer

Wednesday, March 23, 2021 | 3:00pm - 4:00pm 

Midwives Matter -  the Potential impact of midwives in preventing and reducing maternal and neonatal mortality and stillbirths.
Dr. Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia

In 2020, UNFPA, WHO and the International Confederation of Midwives launched a new study on the impact of midwives. The study showed that midwives who are educated and regulated to global standards play a vital role in reducing maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. Universal coverage of midwife-delivered interventions could avert approximately 65% of maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. This amounts to 4.3 million deaths averted per year by 2035: 280,000 maternal deaths, 2.1 million newborn deaths and 2.0 million stillbirths. Not investing in midwife-delivered interventions will cost lives: even a small decrease in coverage rates (2% every 5 years) would result in 552,000 more maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths than if the 88 countries maintained current rates of coverage of these interventions. This paper will discuss the study and the findings and place this work within the global context of other activities and initiatives including the upcoming State of the World’s Midwifery Report due to be released in May 2021.


Speaker Bio: Caroline Homer AO (RM MScMed(Clin Epi) PhD FAAHMS) is a midwife, health services researcher, educator and international development advisor based in Australia. She has more than 30 years of experience as a midwife in practice, maternal and perinatal health research, midwifery education and international development and has worked on the State of the World’s Midwifery analyses for the past 7 years. Caroline has more than 280 peer reviewed publications and has recently been appointed by the WHO’s Director General as the Inaugural Chair, WHO's Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts (STAGE) for Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health, and Nutrition (2020-2022).

Workshop: Capacity Building for Midwifery-led Research 

Thursday, March 25, 2021 | 12:00PM - 1:00PM

Capacity Building for Midwifery-Led Research
Dr. Liz Darling, Dr. Beth Murray-Davis, Dr. Kirsty Bourret

Reflecting on the last 4 years of the AOM research grant program, three leading Ontario midwife researchers will discuss the challenges and successes of starting a research project.

Participants will be divided into three separate break-out rooms to have a focused discussion on one of the following topics followed by an all-group report back session focusing on key highlights from break-out discussions. 

  • Room A: Writing successful grant applications
  • Room B: Developing a supportive mentorship relationship
  • Room C: Sharing research findings in innovative ways 

Dr. Liz Darling is a Registered Midwife and the Assistant Dean of Midwifery at McMaster University. She holds a CIHR Early Career Investigator Award in Maternal, Reproductive, Child and Youth Health that supports a mixed methods research program investigating the impact of funding expanded midwifery care models in Ontario. Her research focuses on maternal-newborn health services, with particular areas of interest including midwifery services, health disparities, access to care, health policy, and perinatal health surveillance.

Dr. Beth Murray-Davis is an Associate Professor in the Midwifery Education Program and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Scientific Director of the McMaster Midwifery Research Centre. Her qualifications include a BA in Sociology (Guelph), a BHSc in Midwifery (McMaster), a MA in Health Profession Education (University of Toronto), and a PhD in Primary Health Care (University of Sheffield). She is a co-PI for a CIHR Clinician Investigator Team Grant examining Non-Communicable Diseases in Obstetrics. Her current research interests include pregnant peoples experiences of healthy nutrition and exercise during pregnancy and postpartum, fetal movement awareness, midwifery experiences of caring for complicated pregnancies, client and health care provider experiences of alternative models of practice for midwives, and client decision making about place of birth. Dr. Murray-Davis has worked as a midwife with the Community Midwives of Hamilton since 2003. 

Panel Discussion: Reflecting on Equity and Ethics in Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Friday, March 26, 2021 | 12:00pm - 1:00PM

Reflecting on Equity and Ethics in the Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ellen Blais, Dr. Soo Downe, Dr. Ross Upshur, Dr. Saraswathi Vedam

Four panelists will engage in a timely reflection on the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications they had on health equity and ethics. Specific topics under discussion include:

  • addressing moral injury for midwives due to service and practice adaptations
  • upholding the rights of birthing parent during a pandemic
  • addressing health equity in the Ontario pregnancy care reponse
  • the ethical duty to care during a pandemic 

Ellen Kanika Tsi Tsa Blais is from the Oneida Nation of the Thames. She currently works as the Director, Indigenous Midwifery at the Association of Ontario Midwives where her work focuses on the call from Indigenous communities to "Being Birth Home!" Under her leadership, Ontario now has over 9 Indigenous midwifery programs core funded by the Ministry of Health to serve Indigenous communities, in remote, rural and urban locations.  Ellen is a former National Co-Chair for the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and is currently a member of the core leadership and the Chair of the Government Relations committee of NACM. Ellen is also the co-founder of Seventh Generation Midwives of Toronto, a midwifery practice with an Indigenous focus, and is a board member of the Toronto Birth Centre.  As an Indigenous midwife and adoptee, Ellen believes in the reclamation, resurgence and revitalization of Indigenous midwifery including birth practices and ceremony as integral to the health of Indigenous communities and nations. 

Soo Downe spent 15 years working as a clinical and research midwife. In .2001 she joined UCLan  where she is now the Professor of Midwifery Studies. Her main research focus is the nature of, and cultures around, normal birth. She has been a member of the Technical Working Group of the World Health Organization antenatal, intrapartum, postpartum, and optimising caesarean section guidelines. She has published over 120 peer reviewed papers, and has undertaken research using a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods. She is a member of the NHS England Better Births national Stakeholder group. She was the founder of the International Normal Birth Research Conference Series.

Dr. Ross Upshur is currently the Dalla Lana Chair in Clinical Public Health and Head of the Division of Clinical Public Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Scientific Director, Bridgepoint Collaboratory for Research and Innovation and Associate Director of the Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health.  At the University of Toronto, he is a Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Department of Family and Community Medicine, affiliate member of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Member of the Centre for Environment and Adjunct Senior Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. He is a Staff Physician at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, Sinai Health. In 2015, he was named one of the Top 20 Pioneers in Family Medicine Research in Canada by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and was a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair from 2005-2015. He is an elected Fellow of the Hastings Center and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. During COVID-19 he has served as the co-Chair of the WHO Ethics and COVID-19 Working group and is a member of the WHO ACTA Ethics and Governance Working Group. Additionally he has served on the Ontario COVID-19 Bioethics Table and the COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Sub-Group.

Saraswathi Vedam is Lead Investigator at the Birth Place Lab and professor of midwifery at University of British Columbia. Over 35 years, Dr. Vedam has coordinated several transdisciplinary and community-led research projects across North America that led to the development of new quality measures: the Mothers’ Autonomy in Decision Making (MADM) scale, the Mothers on Respect (MORi) index and the Mistreatment in Childbirth (MIST) index. These measures have been applied in 23 countries. Her lab explores experiences of respect, discrimination, and mistreatment in perinatal services among people with historically oppressed identities, circumstances and backgrounds. She was also PI for the Access and Integration Maternity care Mapping (AIMM) Study where a multi-disciplinary team examined the impact of integration of midwives on maternal-newborn outcomes. She is currently PI for RESPCCT, a national participatory action study to examine experience of childbearing care across Canada, with a focus on amplifying voices of communities that are seldom heard.