At the end of last year, Science & Sensibility shared news that applications were being accepted for two research grants funded by Lamaze International. The grants are to be given for the purpose of studying the impact and value of evidence-based childbirth education on birth outcomes, patient satisfaction and/or cost of care, and to foster research skills among novice researchers.
The new research grant program, developed by the Lamaze Research Working Group, and lead by chair Jennifer Vanderlaan, PhD, MPH, CNM, is still accepting applications before the February 15th deadline. The two selected projects will be funded up to $5000 each. I was curious to learn more so I asked Dr. Vanderlaan some questions about the research grants:
Sharon Muza: Why did Lamaze feel that this was an important item to fund?
Jennifer Vanderlaan: You may have heard the term ‘value-based healthcare.’ This term refers to the prioritization of practices that improve measurable patient outcomes. Lamaze has been a leader in advocating for birth practices that improve outcomes such as breast/chestfeeding initiation, reducing primary cesarean, and preventing premature birth. But value-based healthcare means, practices without evidence of direct impact on outcomes can be dropped. Right now, there is little research demonstrating the direct impact of childbirth education on birth outcomes.
Demonstrating that childbirth education can impact outcomes requires research focused on childbirth education. Lamaze has chosen to be a leader in advocating for this research to ensure childbirth education is included in value-based healthcare packages.
SM: What is Lamaze hoping to achieve with these potential research projects?
JV: Lamaze is a leader in promoting evidence-based healthcare. This isn’t limited to the decisions families and their healthcare providers must make during labor. With rapidly changing technology, Lamaze educators need evidence about the effectiveness of methods of conducting childbirth education. Families need evidence to make decisions about what childbirth education meets their needs. And with value-based healthcare, insurers and hospital systems use evidence to determine if childbirth education should be offered as part of antenatal care.
These research projects will help to build the body of evidence about childbirth education. This evidence will help ensure quality childbirth education is available and accessible to families.
SM: How can educators who are not researchers get involved?
JV: Lamaze educators are experts at childbirth education. This makes them valuable partners to the researchers who are experts in the process of conducting research projects. In addition, Lamaze educators can help researchers connect with the families who are interested in participating in a research project.
Reach out to the researchers in your area to offer your expertise and collaborate on a project. The easiest place to find researchers is at universities. Check the faculty listings at any local schools of nursing, public health, or medicine to find out who is interested in reproductive health or maternal child health. Some large hospital systems have in-house researchers who would be happy to help staff conduct research projects. Lamaze educators who are unable to find a local research partner can contact Lamaze to be connected to researchers working in the Research Initiative.
The proposals selected for funding will be announced at the Lamaze International Annual Meeting on April 12, 2019 in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Learn more and submit your application before February 15.