Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Chair in Gender, Work and Health Human Resources, will design an ethnographic study of the evolving workplace culture of the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre (OBWC). The research will examine midwives’ work lives and professional identity in this context while exploring aspects of interprofessional collaboration (among midwives, midwives and obstetricians/physicians, and midwives and birth centre aides). Professor Ivy Bourgeault of the Telfer School, Professor Cecilia Benoit of the University of Victoria, and a team of colleagues received a CIHR planning grant for the project.
The Canadian Association of Midwives has raised concerns about challenges facing Ontario midwives in being able to practice within the full scope of their profession. Recently, a provincial pilot project aided in the development of three free-standing birth centres (FSBCs) to provide low risk pregnant women with a greater range of birthing options. Birth centres represent a new workplace for Ontario midwives and introduce unchartered opportunities for interprofessional collaboration in a midwife-led environment alongside emerging health care support roles.