Key people

Della Forster

Professor Della Forster

RN, RM, DipAppSci (Nurs), BHealthSci (Nurs), MMid, PhD 

Della has been a midwife since 1989. She joined MCHR in April 1999 as joint project coordinator of the ABFAB breastfeeding trial. Della completed her PhD in March 2005 using data from ABFAB. She was a joint Chief Investigator of the Statewide review of public in-hospital postnatal care (PinC).

She is Professor of Midwifery and Maternity Services Research at MCHR, the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Royal Women’s Hospital and a Chief Investigator on the NHMRC-funded randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery and the NHMRC-funded randomised trial Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing (DAME).

Associate Professor Lisa Amir


Lisa Amir is a medical practitioner with a long-standing interest in women's health. Having qualified as a lactation consultant in 1989, Lisa continues to work in breastfeeding medicine at the Women's and as a private practitioner. She is conducting research in the area of breastfeeding – from rates and determinants of breastfeeding, to nipple and breast pain in breastfeeding women, to the use of medicines for breastfeeding women. Lisa is Editor-in-Chief of the online journal, International Breastfeeding Journal.

Research Coordinator

Fiona McLardie-Hore


Fiona has worked as a midwife in a range of clinical areas for over 20 years. She is the Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Unit Research Coordinator, and is the trial coordinator for the RUBY (Ringing Up about Breastfeeding), a randomised controlled trial exploring early telephone peer support for breastfeeding. Fiona is enrolled in a Higher Degree by research.

Study Coordinators

Anita Moorhead

RN, RM, Neonatal Cert, GradCertHServ Man, IBCLC

Anita has a nursing and midwifery background with a particular interest in breastfeeding. She is the Clinical Midwife Consultant: Lactation at the Women's. Anita is the project coordinator of the DAME Trial, a multi-site, two arm randomised controlled trial of antenatal expression of colostrum in late pregnancy for women with diabetes in pregnancy, exploring the safety and efficacy for mother, fetus and infant. Anita was also part of the team responsible for writing Breastfeeding in Victoria: A Report. Anita is enrolled in a Higher Degree by research.

Heather Grimes

BHSc(nursing), Grad Dip Clinical Education, MMid

Heather has a background in health professional education and clinical midwifery. Her interests include health literacy and the provision of health information to women and their families. Heather is the regional coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma of Midwifery Science, La Trobe Rural Health School.

Heather is currently trial coordinator for peer volunteers for the RUBY study (Ringing Up about Breastfeeding), a randomised controlled trial exploring early telephone peer support for breastfeeding, for which she is a PhD candidate.

Dr Touran Shafiei

B Mid, PhD

Touran has a clinical and research background in midwifery. Touran’s PhD explored Iranian and Afghan immigrant women’s experiences of maternity care, their experiences of postnatal depression and their use of health services after birth. Her research interests include maternal health, maternity care and immigrant women’s health.

Touran is trial coordinator of the evaluation of the Growing Together Parenting Kit, an information kit for new families in Victoria. She has a La Trobe Postdoctoral Fellowship exploring perinatal mental health.

Helene Johns

Dr Helene Johns

RN, RM, DipAppSci (CHN), BHealthSci (Adv.Nurs), M.Ed. PhD

Helene has a clinical midwifery background and a keen interest in women's experience of birth and early parenting. Currently working in the Women's Health Information Centre, Well Women's and African Women's Clinic, she has developed a particular interest in breastfeeding influences and outcomes. Helene has recently completed her PhD exploring the frequency of breast milk expressing and the effect of expressing on breastfeeding outcomes and other factors through the MILC (Mothers and Infants Lactation Cohort) Study.

Research Fellowship recipient 2015

Amy Brett


Amy is a Neonatal Nurse who is completing a research fellowship with the Midwifery and Maternity Services Research team. Amy has been caring for neonates and their families over the past 8 years and is currently completing a Master of Advanced Nursing Practice - Research Stream at The University Melbourne. Amy’s research interest area is in moral and ethical concerns in neonatal nursing practice and is currently involved in multiple research studies. 

Education/Research partnership 2015/2016

Rebecca Hyde

BN, BMid

Rebecca joined the Women’s Hospital in 2009 as a Graduate Midwife and is currently working with the Blue Team as Clinical Midwife Specialist. She joined the Clinical Education and Research Teams in July 2015.

Robyn Matthews

BN, BMid

Robyn has worked as a midwife since 2007 in both rural and tertiary settings across Victoria. She is currently working with the Blue Team as a Clinical Midwife Specialist Team and Team Clinic Coordinator. She joined the Clinical Education and Research Teams in July 2015.

Higher Degree Students

Heather Grimes
Sarah Hay
Anita Moorhead
Fiona McLardie-Hore
Belinda O’Connor
Charlie Smithson

Research Staff

Kate Dawson
Catherine Hannon
Belinda Jack
Jennifer Jarman
Tanya Longmore
Carmel Mathews
Lynnelle Moran
Jenny Saal
Charlie Smithson
Sue Veljanovski
Stef Zugna

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