Associate Professor Alison Cummins

Associate Professor Alison Cummins

Research Interests 

  • Perinatal outcomes
  • Midwifery models of care
  • Perinatal outcomes for women with anxiety and depression
  • Evaluating quality maternity care
  • Midwifery workforce
  • Midwifery student transitions to practice

Why did you get into research?

My motivation to conduct research is to make a difference to mothers, babies and midwives’ lives. I started my research journey when working as a clinician over a decade ago.  My research then was focused on preparing and transitioning new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care models. This body of research has had an impact on health services in New South Wales and Queensland. New graduates are employed in these innovative models as far afield as Broken Hill and Mackay in far North Queensland as well in large tertiary referral hospitals such as Westmead hospital and The Royal in Sydney. This was all part of my drive to scale up midwifery continuity of care models. My latest project is looking to provide these models of care to women with a history of anxiety and depression.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

Midwifery continuity of care has demonstrated benefits for mothers and babies, including reducing preterm birth by 24%, yet currently, only 10% of Australian women have access to the models of care. Preterm birth is the leading cause of death and disability in children. Most midwifery continuity of care models are available to women with a low-risk pregnancy.  My vision is to scale up midwifery continuity of care models so all women, not just those with a low-risk pregnancy, could have their own midwife throughout their childbearing journey. In particular, women who suffer from mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression would benefit immensely from the trusting relationship found in midwifery continuity of care models. I would love my research to be able to increase all women’s access to midwifery continuity of care in the future and I will keep working on this area of interest.

Biography

Allison has built a body of research around midwifery models of care and graduate transitions. Her renowned reputation for research in this specific area has led to international research opportunities attracting funding and invited keynote addresses. Her current projects are discovering the experiences of women during the COVID-19 pandemic based on model of maternity care, outcomes for women with anxiety and depression who receive midwifery continuity of care and evaluating innovative midwifery models of care known as midwifery antenatal and postnatal services (MAPS) Allison has over 30 publications including peer-reviewed high ranking journal articles, book chapters and co-edited two books.

Through internal and external service and engagement Allison has become a recognised leader in Midwifery. She is an elected Midwifery Director on the Board for the Australian College of Midwives, the peak professional body for midwives, Allison influences policy and the recognition of midwives and the profession of midwifery.

Internationally, Allison is a member of the Trans-Tasman Midwifery Education Consortium and the Quality Maternal Newborn Care Alliance. Both these groups conduct research and inform policy in an international context.

Allison is an Associate Editor of the midwifery journal “Women and Birth International” (WOMBI) that publishes relevant research on all matters that affect women and birth. WOMBI is ranked the number 1 midwifery journal in the world and the 10th for nursing and midwifery. 

Future Focus

My future focus is to be a leader in midwifery research-focused implementation and scale-up of midwifery continuity of care models throughout Australia.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Qualitative research expertise
  • Comparative cohort study experience 
  • Evaluating maternity services using the Quality Maternal Newborn Care framework
  • Delphi technique

Affiliations