Engaging with families to improve pregnancy outcomes, identify unmet needs and prioritize research initiatives

McMaster University


Pregnancy is generally regarded as a time of great joy and hope. While this may be true for most pregnancies, it is not true for all. Some pregnancies end in complications that have lasting negative impact on the physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing of those who experienced the pregnancy and their families. While they negative impacts may be related to issues beyond physical illness, healthcare systems worldwide continue to prioritize initiatives aimed at reducing pregnancy-associated death and severe morbidity (serious life-threatening events). These are important but they constitute a small proportion of what affects the health and wellness of families experiencing pregnancy.

There is a need to understand from families what pregnancy-associated issues can result in a diminished sense of wellness, to understand what aspects of pregnancy care they would like to see changed, to understand what pregnancy related issues need to be prioritized to improve outcomes that families see as important to them.

Through this multi-stage project, we hope to engage people with lived experience of pregnancy, their family members and support persons to share their insights and perspectives; to work with clinician-researchers and assist and advise on determining pregnant patient-important outcomes, to identify unmet pregnancy related needs, and to prioritize research initiatives to ensure that future research conducted is patient-centred and results in improvement in care outcomes that matter to families.

Roles and Responsibilities

This project is looking to recruit up to 8 patient and community members with lived experience of pregnancy from across Canada, to join a Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER) cohort beginning September 2022. PaCER is a one-year, part-time online experiential based learning program offered through University of Calgary, Continuing Education. The program is delivered in 3 courses that include understanding  health research methodology, designing a patient led research project, and carrying out the project.

More about PaCER can be found here: https://pacerinnovates.ca/


Student tuition fees for the PaCER program will be sponsored by the research team. Learners will need to have access to a computer and be able to make a 1-year time commitment that includes 160 course hours. More about PaCER please contact: ingrid.nielssen@ucalgary.ca

For more information or to apply, please connect with:
Rohan D’Souza
Rizwana Ashraf

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University of Calgary Foothills Campus
3330 Hospital Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1


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1702, 8215 112 St NW
Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8

Land Acknowledgment

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit operates on and acknowledges the lands that are the traditional and ancestral territory of many peoples, presently subject to Treaties 6, 7, and 8. Namely: the Blackfoot Confederacy – Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika – the Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Stoney Nakoda, and the Tsuu T’ina Nation and the Métis People of Alberta. This includes the Métis Settlements and the Métis Nation of Alberta. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We make this acknowledgment as a reaffirmation of our shared commitment towards reconciliation, and as part of AbSPORU’s mandate towards fostering health system transformation.