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Dr Melanie Cooper

PositionDirector of Postgraduate Research
LocationChesham B1.17
DepartmentFaculty of Health Studies
Telephone07827 981927 / 01274 236440

Research Interests (key words only)

Critical discourse analysis. Vulnerable migrants and health services. Refugee and asylum seeking women and access to, experiences of and outcomes of maternity services. Using technology in health care.

PhD Supervision

Liz Whitney (2013 - ongoing) part-time home student
Research focus: Explicit observation and recording of physiological signs other than cervical dilatation can compare with vaginal examination as a means of measuring progress in normal labour

Sarah Broadhead Crofts (2014 - ongoing) part-time home PhD Student
Research focus: The acceptability and efficacy of breast stimulation at term on cervical ripening and duration of pregnancy

Karen Khan (2016- ongoing) part-time home PhD student
Research focus: Patient safety and midwifery care


Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

  • PhD student training
  • Module leader for Faculty wide MSc final stage modules
  • Teaching health care students topics related to vulnerable migrants


Mel practiced as a nurse then as a midwife before beginning her career in higher education as a lecturer in midwifery and reproductive health in 1997. She is now also the Faculty of Health Studies Director of Postgraduate Research.

Mel’s research interests are predominantly around vulnerable migrants and health services. This has mainly focused on pregnant asylum seeking and refugee women and their access to, experiences of and outcomes of maternity services. She works closely with voluntary sector organisations on joint projects. Mel is particularly interested in how technology can be used to improve the health care experiences of vulnerable migrants.

Her early work related to using problem based learning (PBL) as a teaching and learning strategy to prepare students for midwifery practice. She also investigated the role of the facilitator in the PBL tutorial. More recently, she has incorporated PBL into her research as a data generation method.

Her PhD 'Meeting the needs of pregnant asylum seekers’, midwifery students’ perspectives’ led to the implementation of the model “the pregnant woman within the global context” in midwifery education and variations in other health care training. An accompanying film is used widely with the model in midwifery education as well as the voluntary sector.

Study History

  • (2011) University of Bradford, PhD: Meeting the health and social care needs of pregnant asylum seekers, midwifery students perspectives
  • (2000) University of Huddersfield, MSc Health Professional Education
  • (1997) Leeds Metropolitan University, BSc (Hons) Health Care Studies

Current Projects

  • PI on Digital animation in service improvement (DAISI) project developing a postnatal sepsis prevention DAISI as a proof of concept
  • PI on internally funded research project (£20,000) ‘Barriers and facilitators to asylum seekers in West Yorkshire undertaking regular physical activity and exercise’
  • Internally funded project (£10,000) ‘Mobile midwifery’ an innovative mobile application for midwifery students in clinical practice
  • Co-investigator 'experiences of the maternity experiences of migrant women who have moved into or within Europe. An analysis of the Babies Born Better survey data'


  • Vice chair of Humanities, Social Sciences and Health Studies Research Ethics Panel
  • Member of Faculty Research and Knowledge transfer committee


See Mel Cooper's publications on Bradford Scholars.

Firth A, Haith-Cooper M, Egan D (2016) Do psychosocial interventions have an impact on maternal perception of perinatal depression? British Journal of Midwifery British Journal of Midwifery 24(12) pp 855–866

Stacey T, Prady S, Haith-Cooper M, Downe S, Simpson N, Pickett K (2016) Ethno-specific psychosocial risk factors and adverse pregnancy outcomes: findings from the Born in Bradford cohort study Maternal and Child Health 10.1007/s10995-016-1936-x

Lodge F, Haith-Cooper M (2016) The Effect of Maternal Position at Birth on Perineal Trauma; A systematic review British Journal of Midwifery, 24,3, 172-180

Lephard E, Haith-Cooper M, Pregnant and seeking asylum; exploring experiences ‘from booking to baby’ (2016) British Journal of Midwifery, 24, 2, 130-136

Haith-Cooper M & McCarthy R (2015) Striving for excellence in maternity care: The Maternity Stream of the City of Sanctuary. British Journal of Midwifery, 23(9) 648-652

Haith-Cooper, M., Stacey, T., Edwards, E., Clements, G. and Mohammed, M.A. (2015) Pregnancy related telephone consultations to an out-of-hours provider: a retrospective database study. Primary Health Care, 25(2), pp.24-29

Haith-Cooper, M. (2014) Mobile translators for non-English-speaking women accessing maternity services. British Journal of Midwifery, 22 (11), pp.795–803

Haith-Cooper, M. (2014) An evaluation of a family health programme for newly arrived asylum seekers living in an initial accommodation centre in Northern England. MIDIRS, 24 (3).

McCarthy, R. and Haith-Cooper, M. (2013) Evaluating the impact of befriending for pregnant asylum seeking and refugee women. British Journal of Midwifery, 21 (6), pp.276-281

Haith-Cooper, M. and Bradshaw, G. (2013) Meeting the health and social needs of pregnant asylum seekers; midwifery students’ perspectives. Part 3; the pregnant woman within the global context; an inclusive model for midwifery education to address the needs of recently arrived migrant women in the UK. Nurse Education Today, 33 (9), pp.1008–1013

Haith-Cooper, M. and Bradshaw, G. (2013) Meeting the health and social needs of pregnant asylum seekers; midwifery students’ perspectives. Part 2; dominant discourses and approaches to care. Nurse Education Today, 33 (8), pp.772-777

Haith-Cooper, M. and Bradshaw, G. (2013) Meeting the health and social needs of pregnant asylum seekers; midwifery students perspectives. Part 1; Dominant discourses and midwifery students. Nurse Education Today, 33 (9), pp.1008–1013

Meddings, F. and Haith-Cooper, M. (2008) Culture and communication in ethically appropriate care. Nursing Ethics, 15 (1), pp.52-61

Nolan S, Morgan J, Pickles J, Haith-Cooper M & Macvane Phipps F (2007) Delivery suite assessment unit: auditing innovation in maternity triage. British Journal of Midwifery, 15,8, 506-510

Meddings F, Macvane Phipps F, Haith-Cooper M, Haigh J (2007) Vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC): exploring women’s perceptions Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2007, 160-167 

Rashad, A, Macvane Phipps, F, Haith-Cooper, M (2004) Obtaining Informed Consent in an Egyptian Research Study. Nursing Ethics,11(4)

Haith-Cooper M (2003) An exploration of tutors’ experiences of facilitating problem-based learning. Part 1: An educational research methodology combining innovation and philosophical tradition. Nurse Education Today,23, 58-64

Haith-Cooper M (2003) An exploration of tutors’ experiences of facilitating problem-based learning. Part 2: Implications for the facilitation of problem-based learning Nurse Education Today,23, (65-75)

Haith-Cooper M (2000) Problem-Based Learning within Health Professional Education, What is the Role of the Lecturer? Nurse Education Today,4(20), pp267-273

Haith-Cooper M (1999) Team midwives’ views on team midwifery. The Practising Midwife, 2(6), pp 24-27

Public/Academic/Stakeholder Engagement

  • Co-leads the charity 'The Maternity Stream of the City of Sanctuary
  • Higher Education Academy Fellow
  • Co-author of RCM I Learn Module ‘Understanding asylum seekers and refugees’
  • Reviewer for NIHR grant applications
  • Member of Steering Group for Perinatal support service intervention (Better Start, Bradford)
  • Member of Health for Asylum Seekers & Refugees Project (HARP) Steering Group (North East)
  • Substitute member of the management team for the EU funded COST Action IS1405 ‘Building Intrapartum Research Through Health’ and co-leader of working group 3 ‘Migrant women’

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