Preconception Health Network (PCHN)

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About Us

The Preconception Health Network (PCHN) was set up in 2021 to promote best practice in preconception health promotion and care.

Health status at the time of conception is a predictor of pregnancy outcomes and the future health of parents and children. Optimising health for conception can prevent pregnancy complications and chronic disease later in life for all family members. The vision of the network is that all people of reproductive age will have optimal health and wellbeing to protect their reproductive health, future pregnancies and future health.

The PCHN aims to improve preconception health care by promoting collaboration and integration on a national level across the domains of research, policy, consumer engagement, health, social care and advocacy.

The network is led by Associate Professor Jacqueline Boyle from Monash University, and Professor Kirsten Black from the University of Sydney. This exciting collaboration welcomes health professionals, health advocates, researchers and community members to get involved. The network aims to include those who are culturally and linguistically diverse, living with a disability, gender diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Click here to read our June 2024 newsletter!

For more information or to get involved, email preconceptionhealthnetwork@monash.edu

Preconception Health Network Video

In this video PCHN Working Group member Dr Edwina Dorney discusses preconception care in the context of her paper, A Systematic Review of Clinical Guidelines for Preconception care.

Co-authored by Associate Professor Jacqueline Boyle, Dr Ruth Walker, Dr Karin Hammarberg, Ms Loretta Musgrave, Dr Danielle Schoenaker, Professor Brian Jack and Professor Kirsten Black, this paper was published in Seminars in Reproductive Medicine in 2022.

Publications and Submissions

PCHN submission to the Senate Inquiry into universal access to reproductive healthcare
Preconception Health Network. (2023). Submission number 49 to the Senate inquiry into universal access to reproductive healthcare, accepted 1 March 2023. Click here or at the link above to view the submission. 

Policy Brief on Preconception Health and Care
Preconception Health Network. (2022). Preconception health and care: policy brief. APO/CRE HiPP, 15 August 2022.  https://apo.org.au/node/320509

Preconception (Special Issue), Seminars in Reproductive Medicine
The PCHN leaders guest edited this special issue, published in July 2022, which brought together research from experts around the world who are focused on equity of access to preconception health. Papers published in this issue are as follows:

  1. Black, K. I., Boyle, J. A. (2022). Preconception. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 40(03/04). https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-1754339
  2. Dorney, E., Boyle, J. A., Walker, R., Hammarberg, K., Musgrave, L., Schoenaker, D., Jack, B., Black, K. I. (2022). A Systematic Review of Clinical Guidelines for Preconception Care. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 40(03/04), 157-169. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-1748190
  3. Caut, C., Schoenaker, D., McIntyre, E., Vilcins, D., Gavine, A., Steel, A. (2022). Relationships between Women's and Men's Modifiable Preconception Risks and Health Behaviors and Maternal and Offspring Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 40(03/04), 170-183. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-1744257
  4. Black, K. I., Middleton, P., LibSt, G., Huda, T. M., Srinivasan, S. (2022). Interconception Health: Improving Equitable Access to Pregnancy Planning. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 40(03/04), 184-192. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-1744517
  5. Walker, R., Fields, J., Gilbert, J., Leahy, D. (2022). School-Based Education: An Opportunity to Promote Equitable Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Knowledge. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 40(03/04), 193-198. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-1742336
  6. Hill, B., Savaglio, M., Blewitt, C., Ahuja, K., Kandel, P., Madden, S., Hills, A. P., Skouteris, H. (2022). Preconception Health in the Workplace: An Opportunity to Support Equitable Access to Education. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 40(03/04), 199-204. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-1750132
  7. Carrandi, A., Bull, C., Callander, E. (2022). Health Economics and Equity in Preconception Health Care: A Systematic Review. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 40(03/04), 205-213. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-1749684
  8. Boyle, J. A., Black, K., Dorney, E., Amor, D. J., Brown, L., Callander, E. Camilleri, R., Cheney, K., Gordon, A., Hammarberg, K., Jeyapalan, D., Leahy, D., Millard, J., Mills, C., Musgrave, L., Norman, R. J., O'Brien, C., Roach, V., Skouteris, H., Steel, A., Walker, S., Walker, R. (2022). Setting Preconception Care Priorities in Australia Using a Delphi Technique. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 40(03/04), 214-226. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-1749683

Convenors

Associate Professor Jacqueline Boyle
Co-Convenor and Co-Chair

Head of Health Systems and Equity at Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University; Adjunct Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Monash University
Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, Monash Health

[Read more]

Professor Kirsten Black
Co-Convenor and Co-Chair

Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney; Academic Gynaecologist, Sydney Local Health District

[Read more]

Working Group

Dr Asvini Subasinghe
Research Fellow

Preconception Health Network Research Fellow, CRE HiPP, Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University

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Dr Edwina Dorney

PhD Candidate, The University of Sydney; Advanced Trainee in Public Health Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; obstetrician and gynaecologist

[Read more]

Associate Professor Zoe Bradfield

Curtin School of Nursing, Curtin University; Senior Midwifery Research Fellow, King Edward Memorial Hospital

[Read more]

Associate Professor Zohra Lassi

NHMRC Funded Emerging Leader-2, Adelaide Medical School, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide 

[Read more]

Consumer and Community Involvement (CCI) Group Members

Chiedza Malunga

Chiedza is a public health professional with experience in refugee health and sexual and reproductive health promotion and research in multicultural communities. She has worked in statewide programs across Victoria, ranging from individual and community-based programs through to policy and advocacy initiatives.

Meg Austin

Meg is a Registered Midwife, currently working in rural NSW. She has worked with pregnant women and their families, providing woman-centered, holistic midwifery care to women across all continuums of pregnancy and childbearing.

Nilab Hamidi

Nilab has a Master of Public Health from The University of Melbourne. She is a Program Coordinator for The Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights, facilitating programs with refugees and migrant women from newly arrived and established communities all around Victoria.

Venushi Dewundege

Venushi has a Bachelor of Health Science and works as a Youth Development Officer at Greater Dandenong Youth Services. She is passionate about educating young people and women on topics such as alcohol and other drugs (AOD) including smoking/vaping and respectful relationships.

Zahra Ali Padhani

Zahra is a Public Health Researcher with a background in Pharm-D and Health Policy and Management. She is currently pursuing PhD studies on preconception health, maternal, child, and adolescent health within low- and middle-income countries, as well as in contexts affected by conflict and humanitarian crises.


If you would like to join our CCI Program, please email preconceptionhealthnetwork@monash.edu for more information

Events

Core Indicators Workshops: In 2022 the PHN ran three workshops to contribute to developing a set of core indicators to monitor preconception health in Australia. These workshops included input from researchers, consumer representatives, social care experts, clinicians, and policy experts. Participants identified a guiding framework, key indicator domains, and discussed key preconception needs in Australia from health/social care, policy, and consumer perspectives. Findings will be shared in 2023.

Participating in the 2022 EGA Institute for Women's Health 5th European Conference on Preconception Health and Care in London: In September 2022, key members of the PHN, including members of CRE HiPP, attended this conference. Highlights included: An invited plenary keynote presentation (Optimising health and wellbeing preconception – perspectives from Australia: Jacqui Boyle); participation in an international workshop on preconception core indicators (Jacqui Boyle, Briony Hill, Helen Skouteris, and Danielle Mazza); a workshop on weight stigma in preconception (Briony Hill and Helen Skouteris); and an oral presentation on measures of pregnancy intention (Edwina Dorney).

PHN Inaugural Event: The PHN inaugural event was held in July 2021 to introduce key members, set priorities and develop a plan for the network's initial activities. The event included a workshop and delphi process to co-design research priorities, which involved a wide range of Victorian stakeholders from social care, medicine, nursing and midwifery, research, government and not for profit organisations, as well as consumers.