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UK Research centres
Sands is a parent-led charity. Our aim is to use the parent perspective on baby loss to work collaboratively with experts in the field of stillbirth and neonatal death research and to promote good practice arising from their work.
We have excellent links with research organisations and individuals in the UK and internationally. Here is a list of some of the centres in the UK where research is being undertaken.
The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (pictured above) based in Oxford, are running several projects relating to maternal, fetal and neonatal wellbeing. Sands works wherever we can with the NPEU to help inform their work by providing the parent perspective. Currently they are running two projects which parents may be interested to participate in: the SAMMI study and the UKNeS programme.
The International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA), is an international coalition of organisations dedicated to understanding the causes and prevention of stillbirth. Its mission is to raise awareness, educate on recommended precautionary practices and facilitate research on stillbirth. ISA serves as a centralised resource for sharing information and connecting organisations and individuals. ISA runsan international conference once a year. For information on recent conferences go to: ISA 2008 - Norway; ISA 2007 - Birmingham; ISA 2006 - Japan.
The Perinatal Institute was set up in April 2000 with a remit is to address the high rate of perinatal mortality and morbidity in the West Midlands region, and to aid improvements in perinatal care. The Institute's aim is to attack adverse outcome in all three categories of 'avoidability':
- Audit and targeted research to determine why perinatal mortality is high in the West Midlands, and whether the causes are avoidable - e.g. prematurity and its link to neonatal mortality;
- Collaborative projects to assess the feasibility of service developments - e.g. to improve the poor detection rates in fetal growth restriction, which are linked to potentially avoidable stillbirths;
- Dissemination of evidence and improvement in training - to reduce deaths which are known to be avoidable, e.g. intrapartum fetal compromise resulting from insufficient training.
Cambridge University Maternal Health Research Department is lead by Professor Gordon Smith, head of Obsetetrics and Gynaecology at the university. He has written several papers on stillbirth. His most recent research project is ‘the pregnancy outcome prediction study’ which aims to find a screening method (such as a blood test) for pregnancy complications such as intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR), pre-eclampsia and stillbirth. Professor Smith is also the chair of the Sands-funded Clinical Study Group into Stillbirth. http://www.obgyn.cam.ac.uk/about.html
Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, Manchester is Europe’s biggest centre into pregnancy complications. It is run by Professor Colin Sibley and their main areas of interest are pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction (and its relationship to placental function), pre-term labour, smoking and diet in pregnancy, and diabetes. Sands is funding several projects run by Dr Alexander Heazell at Manchester into support for seeking post mortem as well as placental function in pregnancy. www.medicine.manchester.ac.uk/maternalfetal/research
Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health Research, Edinburgh is partly funded by Tommy’s and run by Professor Jane Norman. Their main areas of interest are pre-term labour, pre-eclampsia and obesity in pregnancy. www.tommys.org/Page.aspx?pid=367
Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health Research, London is partly funded by Tommy’s and run by Lucilla Poston. Their main area of interest is pre-eclampsia. www.tommys.org/Page.aspx?pid=365
Centre for Better Births, Liverpool is a collaboration between Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust and the university. It aims to be operational in the near future, depending on funding, and will be a focus for the work of existing clinicians and researchers from Liverpool University’s Department of Physiology headed by Professor Susan Wray. Their primary interest is understanding the uterus during pregnancy and the contractility of the womb during labour. www.betterbirths.org/
Cochraine Collaboration provides information on evidence-based research by reviewing that research. Cochraine Reviews, which are available from their library, investigates the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in a healthcare setting. They also assess the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a given condition in a specific patient group and setting. Each review addresses a clearly formulated question on a health issue and attempts to answer it given the evidence that exists. www.cochrane.org/
The King’s Fund aims to improve health service through both original research projects, analysis and public debate. Based on this research it then suggests health policy changes and programmes for improvement. www.kingsfund.org.uk