The Molly Wardaguga Research Centre was established in April 2019 and is dedicated to the late Molly Wardaguga, Burarra Elder, Aboriginal Midwife, Senior Aboriginal Health Worker and founding member of the Malabam (now Malal’a) Health Board in Maningrida, Arnhem Land.
The vision of the Centre is to support women’s cultural and birthing aspirations, especially in remote locations through research and use this to dismantle existing structural barriers that result in health inequities.
To respond to our First Nations industry partners aspirations, we have assembled a multidisciplinary team of experts across Australia to address inequities in the first 2,000 days (pregnancy to age five), including Indigenous methodology and knowledge holders, midwifery, nursing, inter-cultural communication, participatory action research, community development and investment, digital media, public health, health economist, biostatistician, sociology, anthropology, biostatistics, epidemiology, neonatology, implementation science, medicine, health services and translational research.
Study with us!
We have scholarships available including two scholarships for First Nations candidates up to $63,854 per year.
Eligible MWRC students in Masters of Research or Doctoral (PhD) studies are enrolled through the Faculty of Health at Charles Darwin University.
The full list of MWRC Supervisors can be found on the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre site.
For all inquiries, please email email@example.com.
The Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting Study
The Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting (IBUS) study aims to evaluate models of maternity care for woman having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) babies in South East Queensland. It is a partnership project developed by three Brisbane-based organisations: The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH), the Mater Health Service (MHS), and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane Ltd, in collaborative with the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Ngarrama Indigenous Service. This was a 5-year NHMRC funded study (2015-2019), with over 600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families recruited. The study saw women birthing through the Birthing in Our Community service have a profound reduction in preterm birth, increased breastfeeding and antenatal attendance, compared to other women having First Nations babies through standard care. There is potential for RHD students (MResearch and/or PhD) to work with rich datasets using routinely collected clinical data, survey & interview data with women and staff.
Building on Our Strengths (BOOSt)
Building on Our Strengths (BOOSt) is about developing and evaluating a Birthing On Country Service for First Nations Australians, with integrated Community Hub and Birth Centre, to determine effects on maternal and infant health outcomes
BOOSt is a 5-year NH&MRC funded action research, mixed-methods study that aims to develop, implement and evaluate Birthing on Country (BOC) services with First Nations Communities.
BOOSt has two broad components:
(i) development and implementation of new maternity services models
(ii) research and evaluation (including process evaluation, and a historical (baseline) cohort comparison).
BOOSt is being conducted across two settings: urban (Brisbane, QLD) and rural (Nowra, NSW), involving a redesign of maternity care, with pre- and post-intervention data being analysed to determine the impact on our primary and secondary outcomes. The new service models are phased, aiming for integrated Community hubs and birth centres.
BOOSt will determine the:
feasibility of establishing the Birthing on Country Service, inclusive of a birth centre, at each site
acceptability of services for women, their communities and health service providers (local and referral service)
clinical and cultural safety, effectiveness and cost of services
key processes in establishing the Birthing on Country Service and creating sustainability.
Additional to the maternity records data sets obtained for this study, we recruit women having First Nations babies to complete antenatal and postnatal surveys about their maternity care experiences and other relevant aspects of their lives. Qualitative interviews will be conducted with women and families accessing the services, and with healthcare providers and stakeholders, to inform changes and recommendations for service provision and planning.
Potential Project Topics:
My Story: Birthing on Country for women in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven
Birthing on Country: Stakeholder perspectives and experiences in rural NSW
Birthing on Country: Stakeholder perspectives and experience in urban Qld site
Birthing on Country for Dads
Perinatal outcomes: baseline data analysis (2013-2020)
Discrimination: exploring the impact of everyday discrimination and/or discrimination in the healthcare context
Connecting to Culture & identity
Decolonising in practice: exploration of intellectual and emotional work
Decolonising the health system and healthcare institutions in regional NSW