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Building On Our Strengths


Developing and Evaluating a Birthing On Country Service with integrated Community Hub and Birth Centre

Birthing on Country re-enactment.

Caring 4 Mum on Country project.

Photograph: Pat Josse

Building On Our Strengths (BOOSt)

The BOOSt project has strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance, leadership and oversight. It is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded partnership project.

The aim of the project is to implement and evaluate 'Birthing on Country' in urban (Queensland) and rural (New South Wales) settings.

The objectives of the project are:


  • to determine the feasibility of establishing a Birthing on Country service, with a standalone birth centre, at each site

  • to determine the acceptability of the service for women, their communities and health service providers (local and referral service)

  • to measure the cultural and clinical safety, efficacy and cost

  • to determine the key processes in creating a sustainable Birthing on Country service and facility.

The project uses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research methodologies and Participatory Action Research to undertake a mixed methods study. The primary outcomes for the project is healthy mothers and healthy babies.

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'Disconnected from who we are': How COVID-19 is affecting Indigenous births
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Birthing on Country: Waminda site

Enabling the context for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Community Controlled Birthing on Country services


Partner Organisations

ATSICHS Brisbane Ltd

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS), Brisbane Ltd, established 40 years ago, was the first Aboriginal controlled health service in Queensland. A key partner at the Urban Site, ATSICHS Brisbane will provide a significant leadership role across all aspects of the project.

The Australian College of Midwives

The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) was founded nationally in 1984, when midwifery associations in a number of states and territories came together to create a national peak body for Australian midwives. ACM provides a unified voice for the midwifery profession, support to midwives to reach their full potential and set professional practice and education standards. ACM are contributing cash and in-kind funds through a philanthropic grant they successfully acquired. They will provide high-level strategic advice regarding midwifery issues and funding for central activities including training. They are providing a lead role in enabling licencing of the Birth Centres in NSW and QLD and in ensuring availability of an appropriate insurance product.


Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives

Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) is the sole representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives in Australia. CATSINaM’s primary function is to implement strategies to increase the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into nursing and midwifery professions. CATSINaM will provide support and advice as we develop the career pathway from certificate level through to Bachelor education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwives.


The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health

The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) leads the strategic planning, development and delivery of comprehensive primary health care services to the Indigenous population of South East Queensland (SEQ). It was established in 2009 by the four Community Controlled Health Services in SEQ to provide for the needs of Australia’s second largest Indigenous population and now runs over 19 clinics. The birth centre at the urban site will be owned and operated by IUIH and / or ATSICHS, Brisbane.


The Rhodanthe Lipsett Trust for Indigenous Midwives

Rhodanthe Lipsett’s dream is for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to have improved pregnancy and birth outcomes by having the benefit of care from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwives. The Trust is working with Government and with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at Sydney University on a demonstration project to prepare the pipeline for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwifery workforce which will commence with a Certificate III Health Services Assistant (including Maternal Infant Care skillset component). They will support all sites in the capacity building aim of the project.


​South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation (Waminda)

Waminda provides a culturally safe and holistic service, providing women and their Aboriginal families an opportunity to belong and receive quality health and well-being support. Their key focus is to provide tailored strength-based care. Waminda are leading the project at the rural site in NSW. The birth centre at the rural site will be owned and operated by Waminda.

The University of Queensland

UQ will provide leadership in research and evaluation methodology and methods and technical expertise for the establishment of this complex intervention. UQ will co-ordinate and chair the research committee meetings, provide central project management, and project officers / research assistants at each site. The research team will be responsible for ethics and governance, recruitment, data collection, data analysis, and reporting.


The University of Sydney

The University of Sydney will provide expertise including significant input from the Centre of Cultural Competence and the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

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Research Team

Chief Investigators

Prof Sue Kildea

Prof Sally Tracy

Prof Juanita Sherwood 

Emeritus Professor Lesley Barclay

Prof Sue Kruske

Prof Yvette Roe 

A/Prof Donna Hartz 

Dr Carmel Nelson

Dr Mark Tracy


Associate Investigators

Ms Kellie Wilton (ACM)

Ms Jody Currie (ATSICHS Brisbane)

Prof Roianne West (CATSINaM)

Ms Faye Worner (Waminda)

Mr Adrian Carson (IUIH)

Ms Cherisse Buzzacott (Rhodanthe Lipsett)

Research & Study Partner Team

Dr Penny Haora, Project Manager

Ms Melanie Briggs, Project Officer

Ms Liz (Elizabeth) Wilkes, Partner Investigator (My Midwives)

Ms Kristie Watego, Partner Investigator (IUIH)

A/Prof Yu Gao, Statistical Support

Dr Cameron Hurst, Statistical Advisor

Dr Sophie Hickey, Brisbane Coordinator

Ms Sarah-Jade Maidment, Research Assistant

Ms Kayla Heinemann, Research Assistant


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June 2021
Waminda evaluation workshop
February 2020
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January 2019
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January 2018

News & Media​

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