A pioneer of midwifery education and practice, and one of Australia's strongest midwifery advocates, Adjunct Professor Patricia Brodie, was recognised in the Queen's Birthday honours announced yesterday.
The UTS academic was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for Services to Midwifery in Australia, particularly through her pioneering efforts in developing midwifery policy and models of care in NSW, and for her ongoing commitment to raising the profile of midwifery over the past 25 years.
Described as "forceful, yet diplomatic", Professor Brodie has dedicated her professional life to achieving the acceptance of woman-centred models of care.
Her significant involvement in the development of the first policy for maternity services in NSW, and extensive strategic advice and policy direction for the development of public hospital maternity services and models of care across NSW has played an integral role in the development of midwifery as a profession in NSW and Australia. In particular, her authorship of the NSW Maternity Services Framework 2000-2005 for NSW Health was instrumental in the development of policy that promoted and supported normal birth and a greater role for midwives.
Professor Brodie's expertise has been sought by professional bodies and government alike. In 2007 she was awarded life membership of the Australian College of Midwives for her sustained service and contributions to the midwifery profession and maternity services and in the same year was appointed Chair of the Australian Midwifery Standards National Advisory Committee. Professor Brodie was also a member of the National Steering Committee of Beyondblue, contributing to the development the National Perinatal Mental Health Action Plan.
As a researcher Professor Brodie has been a leading advocate for midwifery, challenging the national and state-based systems of maternity care and identifying the professional and practice issues that affect midwifery. Her UTS doctoral study was on the invisibility of midwifery as a profession, especially in regulation. From 1999 to 2002 she undertook the Australian Research Council-funded Australian Midwifery Action Project and until mid-2009, worked to lead and evaluate midwifery continuity of care models through her role as UTS Professor of Midwifery Practice Development and Research in Sydney South West Area Health Service.
With a long standing interest in providing care for vulnerable populations, Professor Brodie has turned her attention to women in Papua New Guinea, providing technical advice on midwifery education and currently working as part of the AusAid-funded UTS World Health Organization Collaborating Centre program to improve maternal health outcomes in PNG through strengthening midwifery education.
Remarkably, throughout her professional and research careers, Professor Brodie has also continued to provide care and support for women, particularly at home births. She explains her commitment to her challenging profession simply and easily: "It is absolutely profound and exhilarating to work with a woman during one of the most important experiences of her life. To witness the power and ability of women, surrounded by their loved ones, as they bring new life into the world is awesome - many more women should have that opportunity."