Researcher biography

Professor Sue Kildea is the Director of the Midwifery Research Unit (MRU) and a joint appointment with the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at the University of Queensland, Mater Research and Mater Health. The MRU has a strong focus on translational research, health services research, redesigning health services for vulnerable families and promoting normal birth and breastfeeding, within the Mothers, Babies and Women's Health research theme. The MRU comprise of six post-Doctoral researchers and a team of higher degree research students and research assistants. Sue is a registered nurse and midwife with a strong clinical background, particularly in rural and remote Australia. She is a strong believer in returning birthing services to rural and remote areas, the primary care setting and Aboriginal control of Health Services. She is recognised internationally for her pioneering work in rural and remote health, Indigenous health and midwifery receiving a Human Rights Reconciliation award in 2004 and the Aurora Award for Outstanding Contribution to Remote Area Health in 2012. Sue is currently conducting collaborative projects across Australia, Canada, Sweden and the UK with multidisciplinary teams. She receives funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council and other organisations, such as the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the National Institute of Health in America. She is leading large multisite randomised control trials (one international) and two longitudinal cohort studies: one examining stress in pregnancy the Queensland Floods in 2011 and the second following a cohort or Urban Indigenous women and their infants who are accessing new models of care aiming to close the gap in maternal and infant health outcomes. She has been a technical advisor for the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other organisations in Indonesia, Mongolia, Geneva, Jordan, Viet Nam, Canada and Japan and is regularly invited to conduct plenary addresses, to contribute to national policy development. Sue has been invited to lead several projects towards the development of Birthing on Country Service Models on behalf of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council. "I landed in the research arena by mistake and couldn't be happier. One of my career objectives has been to increase the capacity of health services and the health workforce to maximise their effectiveness to make a difference to the lives of marginalised and vulnerable families, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families or those in remote areas. Research is a powerful tool that can assist to redirect the power into the hands of those who are directly impacted by health services. It can be used to work in partnership with families, clinicians and communities to strive for a socially just world. The midwifery philosophy that promotes normal pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding underlies much of my work".

Photo: by Anjanette Webb