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Listening to What Matters

Research project

What is this project about? 

This study aims to understand the experiences of refugee background parents and the health and social care professionals caring for them in pregnancy and early parenthood during the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria.    

The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for the entire Victorian community. Through the application of a health equity lens, it is apparent that some members of our community may experience greater challenges than others, including refugee background parents and health and social care professionals working with these families on the front-lines of the pandemic response. 

The knowledge generated by this phenomenological study will help to ensure our short-and-long term responses to the pandemic are informed by the needs of refuge background parents and the professionals caring for them. 
Listening to What Matters is a collaboration between the MCRI Refugee and Migrant Research Program and the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture (Foundation House), and is funded by the North West Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN). 

The Refugee and Migrant Research Program includes a team of bicultural Project Officers working across the following language and cultural groups:
•    Afghan (speaking Dari)
•    Assyrian-Chaldean (from Iraq and Syria)
•    Karen (from Burma) 
•    Syrian and Iraqi (speaking Arabic) 
•    Sudanese and South Sudanese 

Who can take part? 
As this study is funded by a Primary Health Network (PHN), we will be recruiting from the PHN catchment area across the north-west region of Melbourne

We are recruiting refugee background parents from the above cultural and language groups living in the PHN catchment area who, since the beginning of the pandemic, have received pregnancy and/or early child healthcare. 

Health and social care professionals
We are recruiting health and social care professionals providing care to families in the perinatal period and working within the PHN catchment area. This includes midwives, GPs, maternal and child health nurses, interpreters, social workers, and obstetricians, for example. 

How can I find out more? 
If you have any questions about the study, you can contact Dr Elisha Riggs:  Dr Laura Biggs: or (03) 8341 6483, or Fran Hearn: