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2019 Conference Abstracts

Conference Abstracts

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Prof Meredith Temple-Smith & Dr Jade Bilardi, Deputy Head and Honorary Research Fellow, Department of General Practice University of Melbourne 

Presentation: Miscarriage Australia: The need for improved psychosocial support following miscarriage

About 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Although many healthcare professionals consider it a routine, easily managed pregnancy complication, miscarriage often has significant psychological impacts on both women and their partners.  Their research examines the psychosocial effects of miscarriage from the perspective of mothers, fathers and health care practitioners, as well as their experiences of clinical and social care connected to this loss and what they need around improved miscarriage support.

Prof Meredith Temple-Smith is the Deputy Head of the Department of General Practice at University of Melbourne. A mixed methods researcher, her interests centre on sexual and reproductive health, hepatitis C and health services research. 
Dr Jade Bilardi is a Senior Research Fellow in the Central Clinical School Monash University and Honorary Research Fellow in Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne. Her primary area of interest centres on improved miscarriage support for women, partners and families.


Dr Kaylene Henderson, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and Parent Educator

Presentation: Managing the toddler: "We are all more likely to do good when we feel good"

Join Dr Kaylene Henderson as she gives a practical overview of children's attachment needs. Importantly, you'll also learn how this framework guides how we teach children to manage their emotions, meltdowns and behaviour.

Filled with practical tips and delivered in Dr Henderson's warm and relatable style, this is a not-to-be-missed session for those working with young children.

Dr Kaylene Henderson is a medically trained child psychiatrist, infant mental health specialist and one of Australia's leading parenting experts. She is also a popular speaker and sought after contributor to TV, radio, and online media. Kaylene is passionate about sharing practical, research-based tips with parents and professionals alike in the hope that together, we can bring out the best in the children we care for.


Shusannah Morris, CEO, and Co-Founder, Life's Little Treasures Foundation

The unexpected when you have a premature baby – Q&A

In Australia each year, 25,000 children are born preterm and this rate is rising. Families affected are at high risk of poor family functioning and poor child development outcomes. Parents are 3 times more likely to suffer anxiety and depression and children are more likely to have health issues and/or significantly higher rates of learning and developmental delays, disabilities, social and behavioural problems. The implications of preterm birth on children, their families and the broader community are far reaching and have significant impact on both health and education systems. 

As a mother of a premature baby, Shusannah understands the emotional roller-coaster ride a family can find themselves on after premature birth. Dedicating the last 14 years of her life to Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Shusannah has built the charity from a small mothers’ support group to what is now considered one of the leading national premature birth charities in Australia.  


Dr Nicole Highet, Founder & Executive Director, COPE

Presentation 1: How health professionals play a pivotal role in birth trauma for parents; use of the E-COPE Directory

Birth trauma can have a profound impact on the emotional and mental health of women and their partners, as well as health professionals.  Midwives, obstetricians and maternal and child health nurses can play a pivotal role in preventing the occurrence of birth trauma, mitigating the potential impacts and also supporting the process of recovery.  This presentation provide health professionals with access to the latest training and resources for professionals and consumers to address this important, and often unidentified issue. Nicole’s first presentation will outline the pivotal role that health professionals play when it comes to birth trauma and the impact for families.

Presentation 2: Supporting the needs of dads – a perinatal approach

Up to 1 in 10 fathers experience perinatal depression and anxiety.  Often their lack of involvement in antenatal maternal healthcare and postnatal care deprives them of the opportunity for much needed information, support and understanding for the transition to parenthood.  In response to this, COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence has adapted the Ready to COPE Guide specifically for fathers, underpinned by quality information and access to support services. In her second presentation, Nicole will discuss the importance of early support for fathers and how health professionals can access this essential guide.

Dr Nicole Highet is a leading expert in perinatal emotional and mental health and former Deputy CEO of beyondblue where she oversaw the world’s largest screening study of its time comprising of over 55,000 women. In response to the high stigma and need for a dedicated focus on perinatal mental health, Nicole established the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) to take perinatal mental health care in Australia to the next level - and ensure that Australia remains the world leader. 

Dr Sarah Cotton, Founder and Co-Director, Transitioning Well

Presentation: Working dad wellbeing: Helping to navigate the transition from ‘working person’ to ‘working parent’

This presentation will provide a heads up on the challenges, and opportunities of becoming a dad from a work and life perspective, Sarah will explore the working parent roadmap, the key transition risks of combining the early days of fatherhood with employment; and a range of practical resources for dads.

An update on the WorkSafe WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Perinatal Workplace Wellbeing Program (PWWP) will also be discussed.

Dr. Sarah Cotton, Founder and Co-Director of Transitioning Well, is a registered and endorsed Organisational Psychologist who specialises in best-practice strategies to help individuals and organisations navigate the challenges of modern work. Drawing upon over 18 years of coaching, training and consulting, Sarah brings a comprehensive background across the university, corporate and not for profit sectors in addition to private practice. 



Cindy Davenport, Co-Director, Safe Sleep Space and Nourish Baby

Presentation: Safe sleeping – Exactly what do parents understand when it comes to SUDI/SIDS  – Research results of over 2000 parents

Considerable research over recent decades has identified a number of safety factors that may assist in the reduction of risk factors associated with SIDS/SUDI. This presentation is the result of the findings of a survey conducted over Feb – August 2018 of over 2000 parents across Australia, by La Trobe University, Rivers Gift, Soteria and Safe Sleep Space explores and what people currently know about what to do prevent SIDS/SUDI.The findings enable an insight into how practitioners and health professionals can assist new parents and those  people supporting parents to better understand and practice Safe Sleeping.


Cindy is Co-Director of Safe Sleep Space (and Nourish Baby). She is also a registered midwife, IBCLC and maternal and child health nurse. She is member of the Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ) and the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) and has worked in the early parenting field since 1998. Cindy is passionate about the health and wellbeing of families and offers a sensible, response-based approach to help babies and children with sleep problems.  


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