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About the Specialty

The NHS Research Scotland Reproductive Health and Childbirth Specialty Advisory Group consists of local champions from each Health Board and representatives from Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH), Midwifery, Nursing and Trainees.

This group is designed to share key information regarding research in Scotland in Reproductive Health and Childbirth:

  • Disseminating this locally and advising the Clinical Lead and Champion Support Manager of any local barriers to research
  • Sharing good practice across various Health Boards

The lead midwife, lead nurse and trainee representative will represent the Specialty in relevant NIHR meetings as needed. Patient representatives from each sub-specialty within Reproductive Health will also attend, providing feedback on study design and research generally from the patient perspective.

The group aims to meet remotely 4 times a year.

For more information regarding the group, please contact:

Reproductive Health and Childbirth Local Champions

Health Board Champion
NHS Ayrshire & Arran Dr Wael Agur and Dr Santanu Acharya
NHS Borders To be confirmed
NHS Dumfries and Galloway To be confirmed
NHS Fife To be confirmed
NHS Forth Valley To be confirmed
NHS Grampian Dr Mairead Black and Dr Lucky Saraswat
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde To be confirmed
NHS Highland Dr Aiky Goh
NHS Lanarkshire Dr Ellie Jarvie
NHS Lothian To be confirmed
NHS Orkney To be confirmed
NHS Shetland Dr Sreebala Sripada
NHS Tayside Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva
NHS Western Isles To be confirmed

If you are interested in finding out more or becoming a local champion, please contact either the Champion Support Manager or Clinical Lead.

Reproductive Health and Childbirth Patient and Public Involvement Group

Research area Representative
Fertility Sharon Martin
Urogynaecology To be confirmed
Maternity To be confirmed
Menopause To be confirmed
Miscarriage To be confirmed
Endometriosis Joanne Woodward 

If you are interested in finding out more or becoming a part of the PPI group, please contact either the Champion Support Manager or Clinical Lead.

Scottish Preconception Health Research Network

Building on, and complementing the UK Preconception Partnership, The Scottish Preconception Health Research Network is a multidisciplinary network for those who are doing research in preconception health across Scotland. The network aims to build a collaborative community of researchers and clinicians to support each other, enhance collaborations, share resources and ensure that preconception health research is aligned with Scottish populations needs and policy.

The network meet remotely once every two months for an informal discussion and network update. If you are interested in getting involved, or would like more information, please email

Meet the Members

Dr Sinéad Currie (, Lecturer and Health Psychologist, University of Stirling. My research focuses on the health and wellbeing of women and their families before, during and after pregnancy. My area of expertise is health behaviour change and the psychological and social determinants of behaviour. I have expertise quantitative and qualitative research methods as well as co-production of research and interventions.

Emma Brough (, 2nd year PhD student at Abertay University, Dundee. I am a Registered Associate Nutritionist. My research project is how people in Scotland prepare themselves for a pregnancy and what preconception interventions can be utilised in this area. My background is in nutrition and food insecurity, particularly in Dundee/ Tayside. My interests are in mother and infant nutrition and public health.

Dr Louise Marryat (, Baxter Fellow, University of Dundee. My research focuses on trajectories of child and maternal health, and how adversities experienced during pregnancy and across the life course affect these. At present, I am undertaking work on the impact of opioid use in pregnancy on child and maternal outcomes. I primarily use birth cohort studies and administrative data in my research, and I have a keen interest in public engagement work.

Professor Rebecca Reynolds (, Dean International, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Professor of Metabolic Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Honorary Consultant Physician in Diabetes & Endocrinology, NHS Lothian and Deputy Head of the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Edinburgh. My research focus is a life-course approach to prevention of non-communicable diseases. I have a) used healthcare-record data-linkage and cohort studies to document the consequences of a mother’s health in pregnancy on the health of next and future generations; b) identified underpinning mechanisms through experimental medicine studies embedded within clinical practice; and c) tested novel interventions to improve pregnancy outcomes in clinical trials.

Dr Zhong Eric Chen (, Public Health Researcher based in NHS Lothian and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh with an interest in sexual and gender health. I am also a certified fitness instructor with an interest in fall prevention and inclusive physical activity for all in the community. I am a Steering Group Member of the Scotland’s Collation for Healthier Pregnancies, Better Lives project. My interest in preconception care is sparked by my PhD which looked at fertility decision-making in Scotland.

Professor Abha Maheshwari (, full time NHS clinician with a strong research interest, based in Grampian. In addition to being the director of Aberdeen Fertility Centre, I am also Clinical lead for Strategic Fertility Network for Scotland. Having obtained personal fellowship for Safety and efficacy of Assisted conception from the Chief Scientist Office, I am now clinical lead for the Reproductive Health and Childbirth for NHS Research Scotland. Working in the area of fertility gives a unique opportunity to optimise preconception care. Getting it right for first time as prevention is better than cure. I am designing and implementing a preconception tool in a dedicated preconception clinic for anyone who is thinking about conception so we can identify any issues well in advance, advise and intervene if required. This also allows to modify fertility treatment as well as plan antenatal and postnatal care to minimise risks. This is to optimise not just short term, but long-term health of mother and baby born.

Shivali Lakhani, (, 1st year PhD student at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. I am a pharmacist with experience in many areas including, Community Pharmacy, Hospital Pharmacy, Medicines Optimisation, Academia and Research. My research project is looking at preconception interventions for implementation by community pharmacy teams. My interests are services and interventions that can be delivered by community pharmacies in women’s health, children’s health and sexual health.

Professor Vivien Swanson (, health psychologist with research interests in maternal and infant health behaviour. Much of my work has focused on identifying behavioural determinants of breastfeeding and infant nutrition in different contexts – including in young people, new mothers and families with young children – and in different cultural environments in the UK and beyond. I was previously health psychology lead at NHS Education for Scotland and am interested in development of training for health and social care professionals in behavioural and communication skills.

Dr Aileen Grant (, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic Practice at Robert Gordon University. I am a medical sociologist, and much of my work focuses on the prevention of long-term conditions through addressing preconception health and the determinants of health. I am primarily a qualitative and mixed methods researcher with expertise in the coproduction, design, evaluation and implementation of health interventions.