The ‘Co-designing abortion care in Melbourne’s North’ research team

Project Details

Objective: This project aims to improve the current model of comprehensive abortion care at Northern Health by partnering with women and community stakeholders to co-design a flexible reproductive and abortion health service that is tailored to their needs and promotes equitable access.

Target population: Women and gender diverse people aged 18-49 residing in Melbourne’s north who have ever accessed a sexual and reproductive health care service.

Methodology:Our core research methodology is underpinned by participatory design and will utilise an experience-based co-design approach. This study will be a mixed-methods, multiphase design, enabling us to draw on the strength of both qualitative and quantitative methods. We will synthesize data obtained from key informant interviews, target group surveys and semi-structured interviews to deepen our understanding and inform the development of content for co-design working groups with consumers and health service stakeholders. These working groups will co-design a model of care that we will then seek to implement and evaluate in the future.

Study outline

2021-2022: Stage 1- Collect baseline data Audit the service and conduct an anonymous patient survey to understand the demographic characteristics of consumers, assess baseline patient experience, and ask for feedback about the service. - COMPLETE

2022: Stage 2- Key informant interviews Conduct semi-structured interviews of relevant internal staff and external stakeholders to gain an understanding of their perspectives, identify barriers to care provision and gather ideas for improvement. -COMPLETE

2023: Stage 3- Target Group online survey Build and conduct an anonymous online survey for the target group to understand their experiences, needs and ideas.  – ACTIVE

2023: Stage 4- Target Group semi-structured interviews Participants who want to contribute further but do not have the time or capacity to engage in group workshops may provide additional input through individual semi-structured interviews.  -ACTIVE

2023: Stage 5- Co-design workshops Invite a diverse group of consumers, staff and other relevant stakeholders to participate in approximately 4 x 2 hour group workshops with ~8 participants to develop a model of care collaboratively. -UPCOMING


Kate Chaouki, Clinical Midwife Consultant & Northern Health Family Planning Clinic co-ordinator
Eleanor Johnson, Northern Health Research Midwife & MACH Health Service Research Fellow
Associate Professor Lisa Hui, Northern Health Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist & Associate Professor Dept of O&G at University of Melbourne
Professor Cathy Vaughan , Head of Gender and Women’s Health Unit in the Centre for Health Equity at Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
Dr Jeanie Henderson, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Northern Health Family Planning Clinic Medical Lead
Professor Bodil Rasmussen, Chair in Nursing in the partnership with Deakin University and Western Health


We have secured over $75,000 funding from the Victorian Nursing and Midwifery Trust Major Grants and the University of Melbourne Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Innovation Grant schemes to fund Phases 1 & 2 of our project.Eleanor Johnson has also secured a Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH) Health Service Research Future Leaders Fellowship to develop this research with 0.2FTE being funded by Northern Health for 1 year. We have the support of Northern Health to see this project through to implementation and evaluation (Phase 3).

Research Group

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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