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Membership of ROAM is open to all interested researchers who wish to make a contribution to the work of the collaboration. A request to be added to the ROAM mailing list, outlining your interest and potential contribution to the collaboration, should be directed to: Professor Elie Azria at​

Steering Committee

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Elie Azria, MD, PhD is currently leading the collaboration

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Université Paris Cité, head of the maternity unit at Groupe Hospitalier Paris Saint Joseph in Paris, and researcher in epidemiology. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of social inequalities in maternal and perinatal health and identifying relevant interventions to reduce their extent, as well as to promote access to care for women in the most disadvantaged social situations, particularly migrant women.


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Birgitta Essén, MD, PhD, Professor

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University

Her research focus on maternal mortality and female genital cutting. Since the last 30 years she has had a  collaboration with anthropologists where they have translate theoretical knowledge of anthropology–as social, religious & cultural aspects of reproductive phenomena among different ethnic groups–and then made results applicable in health promotions or in reproductive and maternity care.


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Mika Gissler, Research Professor

THL National Institute for Health and Welfare

My main research focus has been in utilization of routinely collected health and welfare registers. These include the Medical Birth Register, Hospital Discharge and Outpatient Register, Prescription Register and Cause-of-Death Registers. The main research interests include migrant health, especially studies on perinatal and maternal health, childhood and adolescent health, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, and use of health care services.


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Lisa Merry, PhD

Faculty of Nursing, University of Montreal

My program of research aims to produce knowledge towards optimizing the well-being of migrant families with children by conducting studies to 1) gain a better understanding on transnational ties and their impact on families; and 2) generate evidence for health and social care practices and policies that are adapted to the transnational contexts of migrant families with children.


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Marcelo L. Urquia, PhD

Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, University of Manitoba

Immigrant and refugee health, gender and health, social determinants of health, maternal and child health, reproductive and perinatal epidemiology, and international health. He is also interested in applying and developing innovative approaches to the use of large administrative databases for health research, such as family-based designs.



Sara Fredsted Villadsen, PhD

University of Copenhagen

My research aims to reduce social and ethnic disparities in reproductive health by interventional research, including implementation and effectiveness evaluations. I’m PI of the Danish national MAMAACT trial, which aims to improve the communication between pregnant women and midwives and to ensure optimal response to warning signs in pregnancy, and thus reduce ethnic inequity in maternal and child health.


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Jennifer Zeitlin, DSc. MA
Obstetrical, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Research Team, Inserm

My research focuses on assessing the impact of the organization of care on the health and development of babies born very preterm (<32 weeks of gestational age) in France and other European countries and on the effects of the restructuring of obstetric and pediatric health services on access to care for pregnant women and newborns. I also lead a project to develop perinatal health surveillance for the evaluation of health systems and policy in Europe. 


Current ROAM members

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Sophie Alexander, PhD

Professor of Public Health, Université libre de Bruxelles, Ecole de Santé Publique

Sophie studied medicine, then graduated in Ob-Gyn at ULB.  She later enjoyed a year in Oxford which led her after she came back to gain a master’s in public health at ULB.  Her Ph D was on international comparisons of the approach to obstetrical risk. Since then, and always in the field of reproductive health she has enjoyed a mixed activity, as clinician, as scientist and as counsellor for government.  An enthusiastic Europhile, she has had the privilege of participating in various European and international projects.  The topics of international health, both in LMICs and in migration, as well as assessment and management of maternal conditions has been of concern to her since many years.  This has led her more recently to an interest in female genital cutting, and particularly the difficulty for clinicians of receiving countries, to provide appropriate caring attention and avoid judgmental excess.



Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen, MD, PhD

Professor of Epidemiology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen and her research group is working with maternal and child health, mainly using epidemiologic approaches, but also some health services research. The group finds special interest in the fetal, childhood and long-term health effects of exposures in pregnancy, particularly working conditions, social factors (including maternal and paternal age), infections and health behavior during pregnancy, reproductive immunology, and reproductive conditions among ethnic minorities in Denmark. Furthermore, the group takes an interest in development of epidemiologic methods, register-based research and in birth cohort studies.



Siddartha Aradhya, PhD

Researcher and docent, Stockholm University, Sweden

I am a researcher and Associate Professor (Docent) in Sociology at the Demography Unit in the Department of Sociology at Stockholm University. My primary research aims at understanding health and socioeconomic inequalities in migrant populations with a specific focus on maternal and child health. I have a particular interest in intergenerational transmissions of inequality and the children of migrants born in the host society (the second generation). I am currently the PI of a grant funded by the Swedish Research Council understanding unemployment and poverty dynamics among the second generation in Sweden.


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Marie Claire Balaam, PhD

Marie-Clare is a research associate in the Research in Childbirth and Health Unit (REACH) at UCLan. She has worked as a lecturer and researcher in History, Women’s Studies and Midwifery, and has expertise in qualitative methodologies and feminist research. Her current research focuses on maternity care and social support for marginalised women with a particular focus on migrant women’s experiences of maternity care and childbirth in the UK and Europe. She is currently undertaking research on social support for asylum seeking and refugee women in the perinatal period and is the co-lead of the interdisciplinary project, Materiality, Memory, Motherhood and Migration which explores the use of participatory and creative approaches in research with migrant women. She has recently completed work on continuity of carer in maternity care, the efficacy of health advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees, obstetric violence, and maternity care during COVID-19. She is co-founder of the Maternity Stream Research Network, which focuses on the maternity experiences of migrant women, she is a member of IMISCOE and The Centre for Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX). 


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Laura Batinelli, PhD

Laura is a clinical academic midwife currently working in the Midwifery Department and in the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research (CMCHR) at City, University of London, UK. She has been at City since 2017. She is currently teaching full time being mainly involved in the undergraduate programme but also contributing to the Global Maternal Health MSc and the Enhanced Midwifery Practice MSc. She is the Practice Education Lead (PEL) and the research seminars coordinator. She completed her PhD and the focus of her research project was how to implement midwifery units in medicalised maternity settings. She used Participatory Action Research and Implementation Science in a mixed-method study aimed at observing the implementation process of a new alongside midwifery unit in a European context such as Italy. She is particularly interested in what is required on an organisational, professional and cultural level to implement this evidence-based model of care in high income countries.
Laura is still working clinically in a London NHS hospital being mainly involved in intrapartum care both in the high-risk setting and in the alongside midwifery unit.


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Theresa Bengough, PhD

Austrian Public Health Institute, Austria

Theresa is a social scientist and public health expert with a background in clinical epidemiology. She is an experienced qualitative researcher, both at the primary research and systematic review level. She has conducted research on the contextual sensitivity of prevention and support programmes in early childhood and contributed to the identification of contextual factors that impact on maternity care models. Much of her current work at the Austrian Public Health Institute focusses on improving health and health care of childbearing women and their families and reducing health inequities. Contributing to the implementation of a digital screening programme for pregnant women and children, it is of importance to her to make use of participatory methods to create a successful as well as meaningful screening and response programme and thereby increasing participation rates, especially of socially vulnerable mothers and families. 


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Chiara Dello Lacono, PhD

Chiara (ORCID ID: is a postdoctoral researcher in Social Sciences at the University of Salamanca, Spain. Chiara completed her PhD in Social Sciences with European Mention (2023) at the University of Salamanca where she carried out a thesis on the birth weight of the newborns of native and immigrant mothers in Spain, conducted within the framework of the research project “Demographic convergences and divergences between natives and immigrants in Spain” (DEMODATA) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s in public services and social policies from the University of Molise, Italy. Chiara has been a visiting scholar at the Department of Public Health at the University of Stockholm (Sweden) and the Interface Demography at the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium. Her research interests include the demographic dynamics of both native and immigrant populations, the study of women's perinatal and reproductive health, and the identification of potential influencing factors. Chiara has published her research in high-impact journals such as BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, the European Journal of Public Health, and the Journal of Biosocial Science.


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Lise Eriksson, MSocSc, MTh, PhD

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Sweden, and Åbo Akademi University, Finland
With a background in Sociology, Lise’s fields of expertise are medical sociology, sociology of religion, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, and migration. Her research in the MigraMed research program (Swedish Research Council) focuses on migration and health inequities, social norms, and reproductive health, particularly in relation to doula support for migrant women, perceived discrimination in healthcare, and healthcare providers’ values in Sweden. Her previous postdoctoral research (Research Council of Finland) included discourse analysis of political debates on surrogacy and reproductive technologies in Finland and Norway, and interviews with Finnish surrogate mothers and intended parents.


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Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, PhD

Professor of Public Health, Université libre de Bruxelles, Ecole de Santé Publique

Dr. Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist, is the inaugural Executive Director of the Collaborative in Health Equity at UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Memorial Health. She is also a Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Population & Quantitative Health Sciences. Her research focuses on investigating strategies to advance sexual and reproductive health equity for women of color, including migrant women, with the aim of improving health care access and utilization, sexual and reproductive health education, counseling, community engagement, as well as enhance health care provider cultural competency. 
From 2008 – 2023, she spearheaded a unique patient-centered medical home for migrant families at a public safety net teaching hospital and helped facilitate the care for over 16,000 migrant families hailing from 68 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, and the Middle East and speaking over 71 languages. She has also led a federally funded effort to improve health care services, community engagement and provider cultural competency on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), gender-based violence, and has provided consultative expertise to the CDC and WHO on refugee women’s health and FGM/C.


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Sol P. Juarez, PhD

Associate Professor in Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University
My research focuses on health inequalities with a special focus on the presence of the “healthy migrant paradox” in Europe. I examine inequalities in reproductive health considering life-course and intergenerational perspectives.


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A.D. (Ashna) Hindori-Mohangoo PhD MPH

Perisur, TNO Healthy Living

Dr. Hindori-Mohangoo is a perinatal epidemiologist in the Netherlands and Suriname focusing on improving health and care for pregnant women and their babies through implementation of perinatal interventions including preconception care, group prenatal care and group baby care (, and on assessing the impact of neurotoxins exposure on pregnant women and their babies (


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Teresa Janevic, PhD MPH

Assistant Professor of Population Health Science & Policy

Teresa Janevic is an epidemiologist with a focus on social determinants of maternal and child health and health disparities. Areas of interest related to migrant reproductive health include health policy, quality of care, health care discrimination, ethnic enclaves, lifecourse migration history, stress, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, severe maternal morbidity, perinatal mental health, and Romani women’s health.


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Russell S. Kirby, PhD, MS, FACE

College of Public Health, University of South Florida

My research areas focus on 1) public health implications of health policies and programs, 2) population health informatics, including design, data integration, record linkage, data quality, and roles for spatial analysis, 3) clinical and population-based research in genetics, birth defects, developmental disabilities, and reproductive health outcomes.  Health disparities in immigrant and minority groups feature in all three areas.


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Musa Abubakar Kana, MD, FMCPH, PhD
Instituto Saude Publica da Universidade do Porto, Portugal 

Musa Kana is a Public Health Physician with experience in research and managing interventional projects  directed at improving maternal, newborn and child health in Africa. Under the supervision of Professor Henrique Barros he studied the person, place and time contexts of perspectives of growth and development of second generation migrant children in Portugal.


Stephanie Koning, PhD

Northwestern University, IL (USA)

Stephanie is a social epidemiologist whose research is situated at the intersection of social disparities and reproductive health and human development, with a focus on populations in the United States and Southeast Asia. Recent studies center on migrant and refugee health, social policy and stratification, and biosocial mechanisms linking social stress and adversity to health over the life-course.


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Elin C Larsson, MSc, PhD

Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University Sweden.

I am a pharmacist with a PhD in global health. I combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. Currently I am involved in a fellowship program in improvement research. My research interest is in SRH among migrants in Sweden, especially access to care in relation to abortion and contraception. I am also involved in project in low-resource settings such as Uganda and Mocambique, studying abortion and contraception.


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Katherine Letley, MSc, PhD(c)

Katherine is a Midwifery Lecturer at the University of East Anglia and Maternity Consultant for City of Sanctuary UK. She has a Masters in International Development and began her PhD in October 2022 at City University of London titled: “A combined methods research project examining the relationship between refugee women on the UK Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and NHS midwives”. Katherine is particularly interested in how groups form opinions and stereotypes of one another and how this influences care outcomes.



Elsa Lorthe, PhD

I am a midwife by training and an epidemiologist. My research in clinical epidemiology studies the effect on health of medical interventions in vulnerable populations during the perinatal period. My aim is to propose and evaluate strategies for optimising antenatal care in order to improve the short- and long-term outcomes of children born prematurely, taking into account that there is a continuum between the intrauterine, per-partum and postnatal periods. During my post-doctoral positions in Portugal and Switzerland, I developed another line of research focusing on social inequalities in health, particularly with regard to differentiated  obstetric interventions between migrant and native women. In the wake of the pandemic, I focused my work on children and COVID-19, using a population-based approach. All these projects have enabled me to develop solid expertise in clinical research and epidemiological research methodology, particularly with regard to cohort studies, including digital studies.


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Alison Macfarlane BA, Dip Stat, C Stat, FFPH

Professor of Perinatal Health, City, University of London, London, England

Using secondary analysis and linkage of routine data for research on settings for birth, timing of birth, multiple births and issues related to migration, including the prevalence of female genital mutilation / cutting in migrant population.



 Can Liu, MD PhD 

Unit of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet

I am interested in social factors in early and middle life that affect pregnancy outcomes. 



Dr. Ghazala Mir

Leeds Institute of Health Sciences

Ghazala's research interests are in health and social inequalities. Her research has included work on interventions to reduce infant mortality in minority ethic women in the UK and globally. She also covers service development in other areas relating to ethnic and faith communities, women and people with learning disability.



Naho Morisaki, MD MPH PhD

Dept of Social Medicine, National Center for Child Health and Development  Japan

Life course epidemiology, with special interest in maternal and child nutrition, as well as socio-economic factors including minority groups.



Ariel Pulver, MSc, PhD candidate

Department of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Many immigrants to Canada are born in countries where girls experience inadequate routine health care and elevated early under-five mortality compared to boys. I study patterns of routine health care and maltreatment for girls and boys of immigrants in early childhood to consider how gender inequality around the world may influence gender inequality within a high immigration context


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Shuby Puthussery, BSc, MSW, MScIH, DrPH

University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK

As the Director of the Maternal and child Health Research Centre at the University of Bedfordshire, Shuby leads research and stakeholder engagement activities that extend current thinking in the area of maternal, infant and family health both nationally and internationally.  Areas of interest include social and ethnic disparities in birth experiences and perinatal outcomes;  respectful maternity care; migrant women’ s health; parenting in early years; father’s involvement



Claudia Schönborn, MBBS, MSc PH

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Social inequalities in perinatal health. Migration and poverty. Access, use and experience of perinatal healthcare services.



Vera Seidel-Eider, MD, BA

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department of Obstetrics

Migrant women's perception of obstetric care, health professionels' perspectives on obstetric care


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Rhonda Small, BA, Grad Dip Epid, PhD

Foreign Adjunct Professor, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm SWEDEN

Rhonda was one of the founding members of ROAM and has been  involved in research  to investigate and improve migrant women’s experiences of maternity care and their birth outcomes for almost thirty years, first in Melbourne, Australia, and more recently in Sweden, were she has been a Foreign Adjunct Professor at the Karolinska Institute since 2014.




Ingvil Krarup Sørbye, MD, PhD, Consultant OBGYN

Department of Obstetrics, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

Her main research interests are obstetric epidemiology in terms of migrant status and obstetric outcomes. She is the PI of the MIPREG study, a 4 year research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council, with the aim to improve pregnancy outcomes among recent migrants in Oslo.


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Marion Weigl, Gesundheit Österreich GmbH, Austria

Since 2021 head of department „Health, Society and Equity“ at the Austrian National Public Health Institute. Deputy head of the Austrian National Center for Early Childhood Interventions and co-developer of the Austrian early childhood development programme, a two generation programme which was nominated as Best Practice in NCD prevention by the European Commission in 2022. This programme adresses families already during pregnancies and offers support until the 3rd birthday of the child.  Started work at the Austrian National Public Health Institute in 1999 and gained expertise on public health topics, especially health promotion, health in all policies, health inequalities as well as migration and health. Additional topics are drug addiction, addiction prevention and demand reduction, which were in the focus as long as she was working for the Austrian Reitox Focal Point, which is also located in the institute. The social determinants of health are relevant for all the different topics. In that context she is also a trainer for the Austrian early childhood development programme. In addition she implements increasingly participatory health research.



Octavia Wiseman BA, BSc, MSc, RM

City, University of London

Octavia is a Research Fellow based at City, University of London, working on the NIHR-funded REACH RCT of group antenatal care ('Pregnancy Circles'). She also works part-time as a midwife at King's College Hospital. Other than group antenatal care, her interests include continuity of care, perineal health and the experiences of migrant women seeking maternity care in the UK. 



Jane Yelland, BAppSc, PhD

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Jane Yelland is health services researcher and maternal epidemiologist with a keen interest in improving the health and wellbeing of socially disadvantaged families. Jane has established a research program that is building evidence about ways to strengthen services and health care outcomes for refugee and migrant families; and is doing this by working in partnership with communities, health care providers and policy makers.


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