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Clinical & Population Perinatal Health Research

Group Head – Professor Jonathan Morris

 Jonathan is Head of Clinical and Population Perinatal Health Research at the Kolling Institute.  He is a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist who has an active clinical role in the management of women with high risk pregnancies, and has a special interest in supporting women who suffer the loss of a child through stillbirth. Jonathan is also an active researcher and has made significant contributions to health in the laboratory, clinical and population settings.  He has published over 180 manuscripts relating to pregnancy and its complications, has been the primary or co-supervisor of 11 PhD student completions, and is currently supervising two further PhD students and a Masters student.

Team Leaders

Maternal Health – Associate Professor Jane Ford

Child Health – Doctor Jennifer Bowen

Research Translation – Associate Professor Angela Todd

CPPHR Overview

Whilst every expectant parent looks forward to celebrating the birth of a healthy baby, some families are faced with pregnancy or newborn complications. We also know that what happens before and during pregnancy and birth can influence the course of a newborn’s life and increase his/her risks of obesity, chronic disease and other long-term adverse outcomes.

Clinical and Population Perinatal Health Research aims to inform, evaluate and improve health policy and service delivery for mothers and children, with the overall goal of ensuring a healthy start to life.

Our research activities focus on:

Improving the quality and safety of, and access to, healthcare for mothers and children

We undertake research to inform and evaluate compliance with health policies relevant to maternal and child health, as well as research about specific aspects of care that carry high risk and/or high cost, for example, maternal/infant transfers, obstetric interventions and use of blood products. We also aim to better understand what matters most to women and how health services can better support them to have positive care experiences.

Example Projects:

  • Determining the reasons for increasing rates of blood product use following birth
  • Assessing trends and predictors of induction of labour for childbirth
  • Exploring reasons for variations in birth intervention rates across hospitals in NSW
  • Gathering women’s views and satisfaction with maternity care

Ensuring a healthy start to life for all newborns

Our research activities include identifying maternal and newborn factors that might predict those children at increased risk for adverse health and educational outcomes, particularly factors that are preventable or amenable to change.

Example Projects:

  • Exploring the relationship between pregnancy factors, birth outcomes and later physical and cognitive development in childhood
  • Exploring downward shift in gestational age at birth, including the role of increasing obstetric interventions and maternal and infant outcomes

Understanding the drivers of maternal and newborn health outcomes

We conduct studies to better understand changes in maternal and newborn outcomes over time, predictors of those changes and impacts on service delivery.

Example Projects:

  • Exploring trends and risk factors for maternal morbidity
  • Assessing trends in hospital admissions for infants less than 1 year old
  • Describing the pregnancy outcomes for women with chronic diseases such as diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Investigating the role of asymptomatic candidiasis in preterm birth

Influencing health policy and health service delivery with our research

Fundamental to our work is a commitment to disseminating research findings in ways that might influence broader health policy, planning and care delivery. We have partnerships with NSW Ministry of Health and Northern Sydney Local Health District, as well as strong links with state and nationally-appointed clinicians and policy makers who facilitate research translation.

Our Team

CPPHR is a part of the Perinatal Division of the Kolling Institute and currently comprises around 25 researchers and students, including epidemiologists, data analysts, clinicians and social scientists. Our team conducts quantitative and qualitative research and has developed unique expertise in interrogating large and linked population health data sets to address key issues in perinatal health. We have a strong commitment to building capacity in population health research and our senior researchers regularly supervise PhD and research Masters students and NSW Health Biostatistics Trainees.

Our team is structured into four areas: maternal health, child health, research translation and clinical trials.

Perinatal Health Research Organisation Chart

Two committees support CPPHR’s management and operations:

  • Management Committee ensures the efficient and effective management of the CPPHR, including financial and human resource management, annual business planning and day-to-day operations. The Committee comprises the senior members of the CPPHR and the Executive Officer (secretariat)
  • Research Advisory Committee (RAC) provides strategic advice and oversight on research priorities, research translation to policy and healthcare delivery and overall academic performance. The RAC is chaired by Professor Michael Nicholl and includes representation from NSW Health, healthcare delivery and academic research.

Major Collaborations

  • NSW Ministry of Health
  • Northern Sydney Local Health District
  • NSW Centre for Health Record Linkage
  • Australian Red Cross Blood Service
  • NSW Clinical Excellence Commission
  • NSW Bureau of Health Information
  • The Sax Institute
  • Pregnancy and Newborn Services Network
  • Sydney Children’s Hospital Network
  • NSW Centre for Big Data Research in Health

Major Funding

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • Australian Research Council (ARC)
  • NSW Health (Population Health and Health Services Research Program)

Our Recent Publications


Healthy Start to Life


Maternal & Neonatal


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