Professor Keelin O’Donoghue, Lead of the Pregnancy Loss Research Group, together with the Irish Hospice Foundation as civic society partner, has been awarded an Irish Research Council New Foundations Award 2021 to enhance the translation of pregnancy loss research into policy and practice through a project titled PLATFORM: Pregnancy Loss knowledge trAnslaTion FOR iMpact.
The project will bring researchers, key civil society partners and other knowledge users – including parent advocates – together to identify barriers and facilitators to knowledge translation, and develop activities and outputs in an effort to address the decades-long lack of progress in implementing change at policy and practice levels. PLATFORM will contribute to enhancing Irish public and policymaker awareness of pregnancy loss, provision of more effective services/supports within the health care system, community sector, and beyond, and influencing policymaking and healthcare funding. The project was developed in part following input from parent advocates on public and patient involvement group for an ongoing research project (RE:CURRENT); they voiced the need for parents to hear about pregnancy loss research that is being undertaken, as often they feel that it is a neglected area.
Announcing the New Foundations 2021 recipients, Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown, said: “In addition to the 55 projects announced today that will collaborate with civic society partners, we are also delighted to renew our ongoing partnerships with government departments and agencies. This form of collaboration provides excellent opportunities for researchers to contribute to evidence-based policymaking, resulting in better outcomes for society and citizens in the face of many national and global challenges”.
The project is funded under Strand 1a: Enhancing Civic Society within a national context, which supports small, discrete collaborative projects between researchers and civic society groups in the community and voluntary sector.
Professor O’ Donoghue is a Consultant Obstetrician and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Sub-Specialist at Cork University Maternity Hospital and is actively engaged in impactful research, teaching and clinical practice. She leads the multi-disciplinary Pregnancy Loss Research Group, which comprises over 30 members, at all career stages.
The Irish Hospice Foundation, the national charity that addresses dying, death and bereavement in Ireland, by promoting awareness and developing programmes in education, research and bereavement services.
The Pregnancy Loss Research Group and the Irish Hospice Foundation have collaborated on several improvement projects to-date, including the implementation of the National Standards for Bereavement Care Following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death. One of the implementation activities involved the development of a national website (www.pregnancyandinfantloss.ie), a repository of information for bereaved parents and healthcare staff about pregnancy and infant loss. They have also worked together on national education programmes for hospital staff.