Keynote Speakers

Professor Michael Turner

MJATurnerProfessor Turner trained in obstetrics and gynaecology in Dublin and London, and was appointed as a consultant in 1990.  From 1992 to 1998 he served as Master of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital which is one of Europe’s leading hospitals for women’s healthcare. In 2006 he was appointed the UCD Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Coombe. He is also Director of the UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, one of the university’s dedicated research centres, which focuses on health services implementation science and on modifiable clinical risk factors for pregnancy such as maternal obesity, gestational diabetes mellitus, aberrant fetal growth, inadequate nutrition, infection and smoking.  Since 2010 he has served as the country’s first National Lead for the Health Services Executive Clinical Programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Professor Jane Dahlstrom

Jane DahlstromMBBS (Hons), PhD, FPAC, FRCPA, FFOP, FFSc, Grad Cert Ed Stud (Higher Education), SFHEA

Jane is Sub Dean of Canberra Hospital Campus at the Australian National University Medical School and also Professor of Anatomical Pathology. She is a Senior Staff Specialist at ACT Pathology, The Canberra Hospital where she is responsible for the perinatal service. She is current president of the International Pediatric Pathology Association (IPPA) and chair of the education committee for the International Academy of Pathology (IAP). Jane is a member of the International Stillbirth Alliance Scientific Committee. She enjoys teaching, and is an active researcher with particular interests in perinatal and placental pathology.

Professor Stephen Liben

Stephen LibenDr. Stephen Liben is director of Programs in  Pediatric Palliative Care at The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre, and Professor of Pediatrics in the faculty of Medicine of McGill University in Montreal Canada. He is also a member of the McGill Centre for Whole Person Care and is engaged in teaching and learning towards a more mindful medical practice.

Professor Elizabeth Draper

Professor Liz Draper 1

Professor Elizabeth Draper is a Perinatal & Paediatric Epidemiologist from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Leicester. Her research interests encompass perinatal and infant mortality, neonatal & paediatric intensive care and congenital anomalies with a particular emphasis on the national and international standardisation of data collection. Current roles include joint perinatal lead for MBRRACE-UK, principal investigator for PICANet, UK lead for the EU funded EPICE  study and lead for the data harmonisation work package for the Horizon 2020 RECAP preterm project.

Professor Stephen Kennedy

Professor of Reproductive Medicine, University of Oxford

Co-Director, Oxford Maternal & Perinatal Health Institute Green Templeton College

Stephen graduated, in 1978, from Keble College, Oxford, in Experimental Psychology.  He qualified in medicine at Guy’s Hospital in 1984, and then trained at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford; Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital, London, and the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading.

He held the posts of Research Fellow (1986-89), Clinical Lecturer (1992-94), and Senior Fellow in Reproductive Medicine (1994-99) in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology before being appointed to the post of Clinical Reader in 1999 and Professor of Reproductive Medicine in 2011.  He has been Head of Department since 2005.  He was Clinical Director, Women’s Services (2011-13) in the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and has been Divisional Director, Children’s & Women’s Services since 2014.

He jointly leads INTERGROWTH-21st, a large-scale, multicentre project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, involving over 60,000 mothers and babies and health institutions in 11 geographically diverse countries, that aims to assess fetal and newborn growth under optimal and various sub-optimal conditions (e.g. malaria, HIV and malnutrition), as well as the influence of these factors on the epigenome.

The key message of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project is that healthy, well-educated, well-nourished women who live in a healthy environment and receive adequate health care, have babies that grow in a similar way in the womb and achieve a similar size at birth irrespective of their ethnicity/race.

Professor Soo Downe

Soo is a midwife and  Professor of Midwifery Studies at UCLan. She is the Chair of EU COST Action ‘BIRTH’ (IS1405)  including 31 countries and over 120 scientists. She is a member of the Global Respectful Maternity Care Council of the White Ribbon Alliance, of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organisation Board,  and she was  a member of the Steering Group for the Lancet Midwifery Series (2014), and of the Lancet Stillbirth Series Advisory Group (2016). She is a member of the NHS England Better Births National Stakeholder Group. She was awarded the OBE for services to Midwifery in 2011.

Dr Keelin O’Donoghue

Keelin O’Donoghue MB BCh BAO PhD FRCOG

Keelin O’Donoghue is an honours medical graduate of University College Dublin (1995) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (2012). She received her PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the University of London in 2005, following studies at Imperial College London in 2001-4. She was awarded CSCST by the Irish Committee on Higher Training in 2006. She completed RCOG sub-speciality training in Maternal and Fetal Medicine at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital London, and was awarded RCOG sub-specialist accreditation in 2007. Keelin took up a post as Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Cork University Maternity Hospital and University College Cork in 2007. She both established and leads the multiple pregnancy, fetal medicine and pregnancy loss services at CUMH, and is part of the Perinatal Medicine team.  From 2009-2014, Keelin was Obstetric Lead on the Division of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology at CUMH and was Clinical Director for Women and Children at Cork University Hospital from 2013-2014.

Keelin’s work has resulted in >90 peer-reviewed original papers and >200 published conference proceedings. She established the first Irish Masters programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which commenced in 2008, and now runs successfully with a full annual intake. She remains the Director of this programme along with a leading role in postgraduate education at CUMH, while maintaining a teaching role on the medical undergraduate programme and has also developed an ABA-certified midwifery-based teaching programme in third trimester obstetric ultrasound. She is a national trainer for the RCPI in Basic and Higher specialist training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Keelin is a member of the National Working Party for the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Clinical Programme, the Clinical Advisory Group of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Speciality Training Committee of the RCPI, the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Perinatal Mortality Group and the HSE Bereavement Care Standards Development Group.

Keelin’s research interests include prenatal diagnosis and screening, miscarriage, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, perinatal palliative care, complicated multiple pregnancy, and qualitative research in Clinical Obstetrics. She heads the multi-disciplinary pregnancy loss research group at CUMH, combining supervising a large group of doctoral and masters students with collaborative clinical research in this area.  She was a co-applicant on the Irish Fetal and Neonatal (INFANT) Clinical Trial Network, funded by the Health Research Board in 2015, having worked with the Perinatal Ireland research consortium since 2010. Keelin joined the INFANT centre at UCC as an SFI-funded Principal Investigator in June 2016.

Professor Alex Heazell

Prof Alexander HeazellDr Alexander Heazell is a Professor of Obstetrics and Clinical Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester, UK. Since completing his PhD in 2008 on the role of placental dysfunction in preeclampsia, his research has focused on stillbirth; his research portfolio includes a profile of basic science, clinical and qualitative research studies to give a better understanding leading to prevention of stillbirth and improving care for parents after stillbirth. He has received over £1.8M of grant income and has published over 120 research papers and received national and international awards for his work on stillbirth and placental dysfunction, and for improving care. He is leading the evaluation of the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle in collaboration with NHS England. He led the recent Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership and was one of the team for the 2016 Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirth Series. He is currently the Chair of the International Stillbirth Alliance.

Ms Susannah Hopkins Leisher

Susannah Hopkins Leisher spent over 20 years working on global poverty alleviation, including ten years based in Vietnam, where she was for five years the Vietnam country representative for Oxfam Hong Kong, as well as consulting for a wide range of organizations. Subsequently she spent five years as director and then vice-president for programs of Trickle Up, an NGO that works to move women out of extreme poverty in India, West Africa and Central America. Ms. Leisher holds an MA in international economics and social change & development from Johns Hopkins University and an MSc in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Currently, she is a doctoral student in epidemiology at Columbia University. Her focus is stillbirth, and perinatal mortality generally. Her current research focuses on classification of causes for stillbirth and neonatal death, the association between socio-economic deprivation and stillbirth, and under-reporting of the perinatal mortality burden of Zika virus. Ms. Leisher is a member of the board of the International Stillbirth Alliance and honorary fellow of the Mater Research Institute of the University of Queensland; she co-chairs the Stillbirth Advocacy Working Group. She lives in New Jersey, USA, with her husband and three sons, and is also the mother of Wilder Daniel, stillborn July 13, 1999.

Breakout Session 1 Speakers

Impact of Stillbirth on Healthcare Professionals: resilience and self-care

Professor Mary Higgins

Mary HigginsMary Higgins is a consultant obstetrician gynaecologist in the National Maternity Hospital. She trained in Ireland and in Canada. She also works as an associate professor in University College Dublin, and has published extensively in the areas of diabetes, education and the second victim phenomenon


Dr Daniel Nuzum

Daniel Nuzum is a healthcare chaplain and practical theologian specialising in perinatal and palliative care ministry at Cork University Maternity Hospital and Marymount University Hospital and Hospice, Ireland. Daniel received his PhD from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College Cork in 2016 where his thesis was ‘The spiritual and professional impact of stillbirth’. Daniel is an active member of the Pregnancy Loss Research Group at University College Cork. Daniel was a member of the HSE Bereavement Care Standards Development Group and is a member of the HSE Maternal Death Guideline Development Group.

Daniel is the Co-Chair of the Spirituality Interest Group of the Irish Association of Palliative Care and an Associate Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor.

Daniel’s research interests are in the area of ministry following stillbirth and neonatal bereavement, spirituality in specialist palliative care and practical theology. Daniel has published in the area of the impact of stillbirth on obstetricians and chaplains, the place of faith for obstetricians, the spiritual and theological dimensions of stillbirth for maternity healthcare chaplains and communication with bereaved parents following stillbirth. Daniel has presented his research at national and international level. Daniel was awarded best oral presentation for stillbirth research at the ISA International Conference 2012.


Mr Bryan Nolan

Bryan NolanBryan Nolan works with the Irish Hospice Foundation as a Communications and Development Coordinator.

For almost twenty years Bryan worked in pastoral care in both the Rotunda and Beaumont Hospitals where he helped patients and their families to face challenges, deal with difficulties and come to terms with trauma, dying, death and bereavement

He is especially interested in the areas of staff support, education and the place of spirituality in helping people at end of life.

In the past, Bryan was closely involved with the acute hospital network in Dublin North East where his role included developing capacity within these hospitals to take on the IHF’s national quality standards for care at end of life.  In recent years, Bryan has trained over 3,000 healthcare staff in residential care settings (nursing homes and community hospitals) in communications and end-of-life care.


Risk Factors for Stillbirth

Professor Jane Warland

Jane WarlandDr Jane Warland is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and midwifery at the University of South Australia (UniSA). She worked as a midwife from 1988-2007. She gained her PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2007 and has been an academic staff member in the School of Nursing and Midwifery since early 2008. She teaches undergraduate midwifery students a range of topics including, perinatal mental health, grief and loss, research methods and complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Jane has particular expertise in teaching stillbirth awareness, prevention and management. Jane’s own program of research is STELLAR (stillbirth, teaching, epidemiology, loss, learning, awareness and risks).


Prof Louise Kenny

Louise is the Director of INFANT, Professor of Obstetrics at University College Cork and a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital, where she specialises in the management of high risk pregnancy. Louise graduated in Medicine with Honours from the University of Liverpool, UK, in 1993. After completing her clinical and doctoral training in the UK, Louise moved to Ireland in 2006 where she has built up a large and successful research group, now housed within INFANT. Full bio at http://www.infantcentre.ie/who-we-are/our-team/principal-investigators/prof-louise-kenny


Professor Molly Byrne,

Molly ByrneNational University of Ireland, Galway

Director of the Health Behaviour Change Research Group

Molly Byrne is a Professor of Health Psychology at the School of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She holds a Health Research Board Research Leadership Award (2014-2019) and directs the Health Behaviour Change Research Group. Molly’s research seeks to improve population health by applying behavioural science to developing and evaluating behaviour change interventions, targeting the public, patients and health professionals. All her research is done within multidisciplinary teams and engages key stakeholders in the research process, with the aim of increasing implementation of research into practice and maximising impact.

See more at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/hbcrg/.


Bereavement Care

Professor Joan Lalor

Joan LalorProf Joan Lalor is an Associate Professor of Midwifery in Trinity College Dublin whose research is focussed in complex pregnancy care and fetal abnormality/perinatal palliative care in particular. Joan has  an International reputation as a leading researcher and scholar in this field which has placed her at the forefront generating evidence for practice and policy development in this challenging area. http://people.tcd.ie/Profile?Username=lalorj1


Ms Orla O’Connell

RGN RM BA(Hons) MA

Orla currently works as a clinical midwife specialist in the area of bereavement in the maternity services, where she has gained extensive experience in all areas of pregnancy and infant loss.  Having completed nurse training in Cork and midwifery training in London, where she worked as a community midwife, she went on to study counselling and psychotherapy in the Cork Institute of Technology.

Orla’s MA research focused on the experiences of women who choose to continue pregnancies, which are diagnosed with anencephaly. As a member of The Pregnancy Loss Research Group in University Collage Cork she has presented on aspects of this work, which highlight the value of perinatal palliative care, both nationally and overseas.  Orla has also presented and published abstracts on care at the time of stillbirth and miscarriage and on the impact of intra-partum death on midwives.


Dr Mary Devins

Mary DevinsConsultant Paediatrician s.i. Paediatric Palliative Medicine based in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital and The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital Dublin

Dr Devins completed her undergraduate training in Medicine at NUI Galway.

She then gained her CCST (certificate of completion of specialist training) in General Paediatrics in Ireland with supplementary specialist training in Paediatric Palliative Medicine in the UK, under the supervision of Dr Richard Hain in Cardiff, Wales.

Dr Devins worked for a period of time as a Senior Doctor in an Adult Hospice in Swansea, Wales and as a Consultant Physician in Paediatric Palliative Care at The IWK Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada before returning to take up her current post in May 2011.

Dr Devins is married with one daughter.


Breakout Session 2 Speakers

Intrapartum Death – Audit and Inquiry

Professor Alan Cameron

Alan CameronMD FRCOG FRCP (Glas)

Alan Cameron has been a consultant obstetrician in Glasgow for 25 years. He undertook his subspeciality training in Maternal Fetal Medicine in the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After this he was appointed  Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Glasgow. He has retained an active research profile and he was rewarded with an Honorary Professorship from the University of Glasgow in 2007. His main research interests are in prenatal diagnosis and fetal therapy. He was Scottish Members  representative  on RCOG Council from 1996-2002 and  was President of the British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society from 2005-08. As a former chair of the RCR/RCOG standing joint committee he helped develop the current RCOG Ultrasound training modules. In 2008 he was elected as the Scottish Fellows representative on RCOG Council and was reelected in 2011. He chaired the Scottish Committee of the RCOG from 2009-13. He is the RCOG representative on the National Screening Committee and is involved in various projects with the Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme. He was the local President when the European Board of Obstetrics  and Gynaecology took place in Glasgow in 2014.

From 2013 -16 he was Vice President for clinical quality at the RCOG. He is the co principal investigator of the flagship RCOG project ‘Each baby Counts’ and is the senior clinical adviser to the Lindsay Stewart Centre for audit and clinical informatics at the RCOG.


Professor Richard Greene

Richard GreeneProfessor Richard Greene, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, gained much of his clinical experience in the Coombe Womens’ Hospital, Dublin. In July 1999, he took up a position as Fellow in Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, USA. On his return to Ireland in 2001, he joined UCC as Senior Lecturer/Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology: and took up his current posts as Director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre (NPEC) and Professor of Clinical Obstetrics, UCC, in 2007. Prof. Greene was instrumental in commissioning and establishing the new maternity services at CUMH and continues to maintain a senior management position within the service. His research interests include maternal-fetal medicine, epidemiology, health services research incorporating risk management, quality of service and translational research.

As Director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, Richard has developed the mission to collaborate with Irish maternity services to translate clinical audit data and epidemiological evidence into improved maternity care for families in Ireland. The NPEC is now a clinical audit centre of excellence, it has a national focus, working in collaboration with all 19 of lrelands’ maternity units: it audits and reviews the practice of the Irish maternity services with a view to deriving learning and making recommendations based on that learning. The NPEC also investigates pertinent research topics in maternal and perinatal health. His future interests lie in the NPEC as a national service with the aim to improve clinical services for Irish patients. Towards this goal, Richard has been instrumental in the development of a single national chart for obstetrics; and is centrally involved in the Maternal Newborn Clinical Management System (MN_CMS) project. Richard is Clinical Lead – Obstetrics for the project.

Prof. Greene is also committed to advancing the UCC Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology goal to become a major research unit in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at a molecular and clinical level. Prof. Greene’s clinical practice is undertaken at the Cork University Maternity Hospital and at Cork Obstetrics and Gynaecology Associates.


Dr Myra Cullinane

Myra CullinaneFRCPI, MRCPI, BAO, DCH, B.L.

Dr. Myra Cullinane was educated at Trinity College Dublin and the Honourable Society of the Kings Inns. She is a Medical Doctor and Barrister at Law. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and a Member of the Faculty of Legal and Forensic Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians UK.

She holds the position of Dublin District Coroner, the largest coronial jurisdiction in the State, having transferred from the Cork City District in 2016. This is a busy and varied coronial practice covering an urban population of 1.4 million. There are major tertiary referral hospitals, maternity hospitals, psychiatric facilities and prisons in the district.

She is the outgoing President of the Coroners Society of Ireland and is currently a council member of the Society.

She lectures widely on aspects of medical and coronial law to legal and healthcare professionals.

Her current research interests include substance abuse related deaths, deaths in custody and end of life planning for the elderly in long term care facilities. She contributes to on going projects in conjunction with the National Research Board and the National Suicide Research Foundation.


Pregnancy after Loss

Professor Alex Heazell

Prof Alexander HeazellDr Alexander Heazell is a Professor of Obstetrics and Clinical Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester, UK. Since completing his PhD in 2008 on the role of placental dysfunction in preeclampsia, his research has focused on stillbirth; his research portfolio includes a profile of basic science, clinical and qualitative research studies to give a better understanding leading to prevention of stillbirth and improving care for parents after stillbirth. He has received over £1.8M of grant income and has published over 120 research papers and received national and international awards for his work on stillbirth and placental dysfunction, and for improving care. He is leading the evaluation of the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle in collaboration with NHS England. He led the recent Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership and was one of the team for the 2016 Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirth Series. He is currently the Chair of the International Stillbirth Alliance.


Ms Aleena Wojcieszek

Aleena WAleena is a Research Associate at the Mater Research Institute – The University of Queensland, Australia, and has a background in health psychology and clinical perinatal epidemiology. Her research is focused on generating and synthesising evidence to improve mothers’ and babies’ health and prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes including stillbirth. Aleena works with the International Stillbirth Alliance and is a member of its Scientific Advisory Committee Executive. She is an Associate Investigator on Australia’s Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Stillbirth and co-leads the subsequent pregnancy stream of this work. She is currently completing her PhD on informing clinical practice for care in subsequent pregnancies following a stillbirth.


Dr Joann O’Leary

Joann oLeary

Joann has a PhD, MPH, MS, IMH-E® (IV) has a background in preschool special education, 18 years in a High-Risk perinatal center and was a Fulbright Specialist at University College Cork, Ireland in 2016. Her research focus is how perinatal loss and the pregnancy that follows impact parents, children and other family members. She has published numerous articles on this topic as well as two book chapters and co-authored  Meeting the Needs of Parents Pregnant and Parenting After Perinatal Loss in 2016.


Investigation of Stillbirth

Dr Brendan Fitzgerald

Dr. Brendan Fitzgerald is a consultant histopathologist at Cork University Hospital. Obtaining an honours medical degree from University College Cork he subsequently obtained an MSc in pathology from Universtiy College Dublin and a post-graduate diploma in medical informatics from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. Brendan pursued his histopathology training within the Irish National Histopathology Training Program, obtaining his FRCPath in 2007 and completing the training program in 2009.

Between 2008 and 2011 Brendan undertook subspecialty fellowship training in perinatal pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto, Canada before being appointed as the first consultant pathologist to have a subspecialty interest in perinatal pathology at Cork University Hospital. In 2016 he became a Fellow of the Faculty of Pathology of Ireland.

Brendan’s areas of interest include anomalous placental development in pregnancy loss, multifactorial causation in stillbirth and correlation of specific placental pathologies with antenatal markers of abnormal placentation.


Professor Fran Boyle

Fran BoyleFran Boyle is a social scientist with qualifications in psychology and public health. Fran is co-lead for the Care after Stillbirth program at the Australian Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth at the Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland. She is passionate about improving care for women and families after stillbirth and perinatal death.


Professor Fergal Malone

Fergal MaloneProf Fergal Malone is the Master / CEO of the Rotunda Hospital Dublin, and the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He obtained his primary medical degree from UCD in 1991 and his MD from UCD in 1998. Prof Malone completed his obstetrics and gynaecology residency training, together with a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at Tufts University / New England Medical Center in Boston. He has been a consultant obstetrician since 1998 in Boston, New York and Dublin.