OxInAHR Maternity, Children and Families Research Theme

About us

The Maternity, Children and Families  is a Research Theme within the OxInAHR Centre for Healthcare Research, and co-led by Dr Ethel Burns and Dr Sarah Bekaert.

The research theme is committed to supporting those undertaking research relating to maternity care, children, and families. This encompasses supporting Masters, Doctoral, post-Doc and established researcher interests and projects. Activities include:

  • a monthly meeting that responds to active researchers’ requests such asmethodological issues, data analysis, opportunities to present work to date, invited speakers
  • networking on behalf of the research theme members at wider events and meetings
  • joint bids across the theme for internal and external grants
  • peer and mentor support within the theme
  • regular writing days
  • an annual cross theme event (symposium, round-table, conference) to present current projects.

The research theme has two principal research streams:


Sarah Bekaert

Dr Sarah Bekaert

Senior Lecturer

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Ethel Burns

Dr Ethel Burns

Senior Lecturer in Midwifery

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Research streams


This research theme stream engages in:

  • research to optimise health and wellbeing during maternity, childbearing, and beyond 
  • activities to promote the implementation of the best available research into maternity care provision. 

The research stream is led by Dr Ethel Burns and carried out by the OxMater team.


This research theme stream engages in research around:

  • health and social care relating to children, young people and family wellbeing
  • children covering childhood, adolescence and young adulthood
  • safeguarding, child protection, child health, looked-after children, and the role of the family unit including parenting, school, and community influences on child and family wellbeing. 

The research stream is led by Dr Sarah Bekaert and carried out by the OxCaF team.

Image credit: Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash