Vision: Reproductive freedom, safety, and justice for every person.
Mission: To promote reproductive justice through inclusive, participatory research and transform policy, practice, and experience of care through knowledge transfer.
Our guiding principles are to center priorities of communities that have been historically under-represented and/or excluded from health services research. We engage in projects that inform and expand cultural safety and unconditional positive regard for all service users, support patient autonomy, and uphold freedom from mistreatment, prejudice and discrimination, as human rights. Our staff, community partners, and research collaborators include people with racialized and non-dominant identities who guide us as we seek to live, and work, in accordance with our vision, mission and shared values.
The Birth Place Lab (BPL) in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia is located on the traditional and unceded lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-waututh Nations. Our lab facilitates community-based participatory research, and knowledge translation around equitable access to high quality perinatal services. We are focused on four domains of collective action: (1) person-centred measurement of equity, quality, and safety; (2) designing and implementing accountability tools and systems; (3) improving health professional education on anti-oppression, anti-racism, and cultural safety; and (4) expanding representation in the perinatal research and clinical workforce. All of our projects aim to reduce or eliminate systems that reinforce marginalization, and to amplify the voices of service users.
The BPL team includes researchers with expertise in instrument development and measurement; reproductive justice; midwifery workforce research; human rights law; and arts-based research methods. The team developed and validated three new quality measures: the Mistreatment in Childbirth (MIST) index, Mother’s Autonomy in Decision Making (MADM) scale, the Mothers on Respect (MOR) index, that are now being applied across more than 60 countries to evaluate quality of care at the institutional, system, and country levels.
The Birth Place Lab also supports transdisciplinary teams of researchers as they collaborate on both quantitative and qualitative research projects assessing experience of care, provider attitudes, interprofessional collaboration, and access to physiologic birth across birth settings. Transdisciplinary research projects to date include the national, CIHR-funded Canadian Birth Place Study; and the Access and Integration Maternity care Mapping (AIMM) Study that examined associations between integration of midwives into health systems and maternal-newborn outcomes. Participatory studies include the Giving Voice to Mothers Study that established significant differences by race, type of provider, and place of birth in experiences of mistreatment during childbirth in the US, and Changing Childbirth in BC. In collaboration with a Community Steering Council, and a national multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and researchers, the BPL team is currently leading the RESPCCT study to examine respectful maternity care across Canada.
Many of the initial BPL projects were generated by the Home Birth Summits (2011, 2013, 2014) which convened 150 national leaders to discuss improved integration of maternity care services for women and families who choose to deliver at home or in a birth center in the United States. Summit delegates represented diverse stakeholder perspectives and included consumers, family medicine, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, pediatricians, researchers, ethicists, educators, policy makers, legislators, health systems, payor and liability experts. Outcomes to date include the development and dissemination of Best Practice Guidelines for Transfer from Home to Hospital; development of interprofessional course on person-centered decision-making, Dialogue and Decisions; and a scale to measure provider attitudes towards place of birth (PAPHB-m). The Summit outcomes were considered so significant and timely that the Summit proceedings and outcomes were read into the United States Congressional Record by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (November 2011). Details available at: www.homebirthsummit.org.