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Birthing on Country

Centre for Research Excellence

Achieving equity in birth outcomes, health status and life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families

Photograph: Pat Josse


About the Birthing on Country Centre for Research Excellence (BoC CRE)

For the past ten years there has been little or no improvement in key maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) indicators when comparing First Nations to other Australian women. Maternal death remains 4.6 times higher, perinatal deaths 1.7 times higher with preterm birth 1.6 times higher, and unchanged in 10 years. Preterm birth is the largest contributor to child mortality ( x 2.4 times ), associated with significant childhood disability and chronic diseases in adulthood. First Nations children are 8 times more likely to be involved with government agencies for possible child apprehension, and 10 times more likely to be removed from their families than other children.

We have the following resources that will help us to achieve our goals:

1. BOC CRE $2.5M funding

2. First Nations leadership

3. Experts with years of experience in the field and strong networks

4. Committed, enthusiastic team within the BOC CRE and the Molly Centre

5. Community support

6. Strong partnerships

7. University support- In kind and financial

8. 5 years to make a difference

Our goals are to redesign MNCH and support services in multiple locations, thereby making a positive impact on Australia’s First Nations families. 

Primarily, mothers, babies, families and communities are the target group. We plan to grow the number of First Nations midwives, MNCH nurses and researchers. Djäkamirrs will be trained and employed in several sites across the NT and QLD.

Within 2-3 years we will have established exemplar redesigned maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) and support services in demonstration sites in Brisbane, QLD (urban), Nowra, NSW (regional), Alice Springs, NT (remote) and very remote (Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island, NT). We will have developed, trialled and evaluated djäkamirr programs in several sites in remote areas of the NT and north QLD.

In 5 years we will have supported the establishment and evaluation of redesigned MNCH and support services in multiple locations making a positive impact on Australia’s First Nations families; including a reduction in preterm birth (<37-weeks) and family strengthening to reduce infant removal (<12-months). Our research is underpinned by the understanding that effective interventions during pregnancy and early life must address the social and cultural determinants of health including income, employment, education and access to culturally safe health care. Our participatory action research approach will have privileged First Nations ways of seeing, knowing and doing, bringing community knowledge into the research framework. This will have formed the interface of our entire program of research.


October 2021
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December 2022
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July 2023

Birthing on Country CRE Seminar Series


Semiar Series

BoC CRE Publications

        Roe, Roe, Y., Moore, S., Ireland, S., Maypilama, EL., Bukulatjpi, ED., Bukulatjpi, DY.,

        & Kildea, S. (2020)


BoC CRE Presentations

BOC CRE Presenations
  • 06/03/2023 Sue Kildea & Yvette Roe. "Can you hear us? The time for implementing Birthing on Country is now!", PSANZ Annual Congress, Melbourne. 

  • 06/03/2023 Sue Kildea. "Birthing on Country", Nursing and Midwifery Board Conference, Melbourne.

  • 01/02/2023 Sue Kildea & Yvette Roe. "Nhulunbuy World Cafe", East Arnhem Region Mothers and Babies World Cafe, Nhulunbuy.

  • 22/11/2022 Yvette Roe. "RISE SAFELY Framework to improve the birthing outcomes for First Nations mothers and babies in Central Australia", 2022 Knowledge Intersections Symposium, Alice Springs.

  • 17/11/2022  Ireland, S, Maypilama, E.L., Guŋdjarranbuy. R., Roe. Y, Moore. S, & Kildea, S. "DJÄKAMIRR: caretakers of pregnancy and birth", National Health and Medical Research Translation Long Weekend, Canberra.

  • 16/11/2022 Sue Kildea & Yvette Roe. "Birthing on Country", Koori Maternity Services at VACCHO, Melbourne.

  • 03/11/2022 Yvette Roe. "Best Start To Life – Utilising the RISE Framework to implement Birthing Services for First Nations Families", Derrick Mackerras Memorial Lecture, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane City Hall.

  • 03/11/2022 Yvette Roe. "Birthing on Country: Using research to stand up to make change", Annual National Stillbirth Forum, Translational Research Institute, Brisbane.

  • 11/10/2022 Sue Kildea. "RISE Framework and FN Maternity Statistics", The Best Start to Life Conference, Alice Springs. 

  • 06/10/2022 Sue Kildea. "Passion, Purpose, Influence, Impact for Remote Midwifery Presentation", 39th CRANAplus Conference, Adelaide.

  • 1-5/03/2022 Yvette Roe & Sue Kildea. "First Nations ‘Birthing on Country’ Presentation", Better Together 2022 Combined 11th Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine and the 3rd International Alliance of Academies of Childhood Disability Conference, Melbourne. 

  • 25-27/10/2022 Yvette Roe. "RISE Framework and Birthing on Country moving forward", Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program Conference 2022, Brisbane.

  • 07/06/2022 Yvette Roe. "Birthing on Country: Nothing about Us without Us", 20th Annual Virtual Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program (CCHCSP) National Symposium, Toronto, Canada.

  • 11/04/2022 Ireland, S, Maypilama, E.L., Guŋdjarranbuy. R. "DJÄKAMIRR", Screening at BOC CRE CI, Brisbane.

  • 01/03/2022 Sue Kildea & Yvette Roe. Better Together Conference.

  • 28/02/2022 Ireland, S, Maypilama, E.L. "DJÄKAMIRR", Screening via Demand Films at Mt Vic Flicks, NSW

  • 09/11/2021 Ireland, S, Maypilama, E.L. "DJÄKAMIRR Story", Australian College of Midwives

  • 19/11/2021 Ireland, S, Maypilama, E.L. Roe, Y. Kildea, S. "DJÄKAMIRR doco", Inidgenous Knowledge Learning Circle University of Sachewan.

  • 26/11/2021 Ireland, S, Maypilama, E.L. "Introduction via Zoom to DJÄKAMIRR film", CDU organised by Jennider Pinkerton

  • 11/10/2021 Ireland, S, Maypilama, E.L. "Caring for Mum on Country project & djäkamirr", Guest Presentation, Jon Baines Tours.

  • 30/07/2021 Yvette Roe. "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Birthing", RANZCOG QLD/NSW State Scientific Meeting Organising Committee

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