REPORT: COST – Swiss Management Committee report

COST Action activities
Meetings (Management committee, working groups, seminar, conferences, other)
Eight COST-Action meetings were held in Brussels, Barcelona, Bergen, Sofia, Heaklion, Florence, Lucerne and Malta, where members of Management Committee, Core Group and working groups met face- to- face. The Action reached a participation of 31 countries and over 120 members. Most of them attended the meetings even though many could not be funded by COST. The meetings were dedicated to the work in the working groups and their various subgroups (literature reviews, ongoing and new research projects) as well as to budgeting and planning issues in the Management Committee and in the Core Group. urther topics addressed were obstetric violende, human rights in maternity care as well as short presentations of ongoing work by the WG leaders. Working groups were the following:
1. Biomedicine (epigenetics and the hygiene hypothesis)
2. Biomechanics (maternal and fetal movement)
3. Socio-cultural perspectives (social expectations and experiences, including marginalised and migrant populations)
4. Organizational perspectives (the effect of organizational contexts and cultures on variation in rates of childbirth interventions)
5. Neuro-psycho-social perspectives (how inter-personal actions and behaviours affect physiological processes).
Swiss Delegation chair Claudia Meier Magistretti participated in every meeting as an active member of MC, CG, STSM group, Working Group 5 as well as chair of the Early Career Investigators Think Tank. In addition, three to five Swiss members or guests (Ans Luyben, Jessica Pehlke-Milde, Susanne Grylka, Valerie Fleming and guests) participated at every meeting of COST-Action IS1405.
IIn September 2018, the final COST-Action Conference “From Birth to Health” was held in Lisbon. Swiss delegation was represented by Claudia Meier Magistretti who gave a plenary presentation on “Change through science and intuition. Think Tanks and Training School in COSt Action IS 140. The first conference days’ plenary flash session on “Asking different questions: innovation in childbirth research and practice” as well as the final plenary session and pannel discussion on “The future of right maternity care: a view from stakeholders” was moderated and lead by Claudia Meier Magistretti. Dr. Susanne Grylka and Prof. Dr. Jessica Pehlke-Middel contributed with a poster presentation on “Structured organisation of postpartum care : benefits for families and midwives”.
Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) with Swiss involvement
Ans Luyben and Claudia Meier Magistretti reviewed as members of the STSM Working Group a total of 60 proposals and 24 final reports of STSM for the European COST-Action BIRTH. Several Skype meetings to discuss the proposals as well as to modify the criteria and proceedings for acceptance were held with the whole STSM WG.
In Switzerland, three STSTM were conducted: one outgoing by Valerie Fleming and two incoming by Claudia Meier Magistretti.
Valerie Fleming completed a successful STSM at University of Western England, Bristol visiting Dr. Jo White to do a collaborative analysis of women’s expectations and experiences of birth across three country settings: Portugal, England and Switzerland. Based on recent studies, which they had both carried out independently in their respective countries on women’s experiences of childbirth, the intention was to generate a joint publication from this work and also explore the potential for future cooperation on multi-country studies through a joint research bid.
In 2016, Claudia Meier Magistretti hosted Dr. Anastasia Topalidou from UCLAN University Preston/UK at Lucerne University of Applied Arts and Sciences for an STSM on “Methods of physiological measurement and comparative description of women’s wellbeing in different settings of maternity care”. Psychometric measurements may provide valid information about processes and short term effects of salutogenic care. The use of thermal imaging was tested in this STSM. Results were compared to participants’ narratives in order to validate subjective and technical evidence. At the same time, efforts were made for the recording of specific thermal signatures. This STSM had been effective in terms of publications, conference presentations and gaining fundings for ongoing research.
In 2018, Claudia Meier Magistretti hosted Msc Karoline Luegmair from Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol in Innsbruck (Austria) at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts on “Best Practice Models in Postnatal Early Discharge”. During the STSM stage, a research design based on the theory of Salutogenesis was elaborated, a systematic literature research was conducted and criteria for its evaluation were defined. Karolina Luegmair will present the results of the STSM entitled ” Best-Practice-Modelle der postpartalen Hebammenversorgung ausserhalb Deutschlands – ein Scoping Review at the 15. Deutscher Hebammenkongress in May 2019. Karolina Luegmairs project contributes to provide basic knowledge for the whole Action and is of sustainable value for both, the planned unit for applied salutogenic research at Lucerne as well as for the research work that will be going on after the termination of COST Action IS 1405 in 2019.

Above, an STSM book about all STSM conducted in the previous Action (COST IS0907) has been published witrh chapters from Ans Luyben, Valerie Fleming and Claudia Meier Magistreti.
Work progress / results
Chiara Quagliariello who – under supervision of COST delegate Dr. Irene Maffi – had applied for a COST funding for her project on home birth unfortunately got a negative reply a second time and will not pursue the project within the COST-Action.
Two grants have been successfully applied for by the Swiss MC delegate Claudia Meier Magistretti and her colleagues:
Claudia Meier Magistretti, Anastasia Topalidou, Franziska Meinecke IDS-Project: Thermal imaging methodology use for complex data management and data analysis in interdisciplinary contexts of health. Awarded by: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (45’000 CHF) (Awarded June 2016)
Claudia Meier Magistretti, Valerie Fleming: When new life meets death” Swiss Academy for Medical Sciences. 159’000 CHF.Project starts from March 2017
Dr. Ans Luyben supervised, and worked with two Swiss students on the MSc Advanced Midwifery at the fhg in Innsbruck on follow-up projects in regard to Scaling up the Maternal and Neonatal Health Care Workforce- with self funding. One project analysed the data of “youngmidwives@workandperspectives2025” (survey Luyben, 2015), and was called “What do young midwives in Switzerland and Austria need to stay in the midwifery profession” (Beijer, 2016). This project resulted in a Master thesis and two posters at conferences. Then second project is still in progress, and expected to be finished next month (Dec 2018). It is a qualitative study called “Working conditions for midwives after 50 years of age while working in a hospital in Switzerland” (Umenhofer Haertsch). During 2017, Dr. Ans Luyben worked with two international partners (Blackpool Hospital UK, University of Limerick, Ireland) as well as with Olga Gouni, Greece, on publishing the results of an international call for Advent Birth Stories (November/ December 2016), which were shared through Facebook. This resulted in a book published by December 2017 (see Added Value of the Action). Currently, plans for a follow- up on this project, with a focus on ethnic minority women, are developed, in colllaboration with international partners, such as The White Ribbon Alliance (UK & USA). From June 2017 to Summer 2018, Dr. Ans Luyben worked with Prof. Debra Bick (UK), as well Professor Mary Barger and Professor Melissa Avery on a special issue of Midwifery focused on Education. Upon a call for papers, around 46 international papers were received, reviewed and edited. Dr. Luyben launched the issue during an Education Conference at the Univeristy of Bournemouth (at which she is a Visiting Research Fellow) in July 2018. Furthermore, Dr. Ans Luyben works with international colleagues of Working Group 3 on a paper that critically reviews Satisfaction in Maternity Care (Lead: Jo White, UK). Chiara Quagliariello who – under supervision of COST delegate Dr. Irene Maffi – had applied for a COST funding for her project on home birth unfortunately got a negative reply a second time and will not pursue the project within the COST-Action

Swiss participation
Meetings in Switzerland
In February 2018, the COST Meeting was hosted by Switzerland an held at Lucerne University of Applied Arts and Sciences. Claudia Meier Magistretti acted as the host of the meeting, vice director Prof Pia Gabriel-Schärer gave a welcome and greeting note to the attendance.
Switzerland (Lucerne) hosted the second Training School of this COST Action in Feburary 2018. Claudia Meier Magistretti designed, organized and lead the Trianing School together with leading COST-Action researchers and activists and in cooperation with researchers and artists of the KKLB (Kunst und Kultur im Landessender Beromünster). The Training School was intitled: “Innovation Implementation in Pracitce thorugh interdisciplinary research”. The aim of the Training School was to facilitate, foster and support the development and implementation of participants’ ideas and projects focusing on issues related to how to do research and implement change in organisations and societies in challenging circumstances. The meeting was attended by 28 participants, both, members of the COST Action and other applicants. The Training School had 42 applicants. The scientific committee of the Training School (Professor Soo Downe, Professor Bengt Lindström, Dr. Ramon Escuriet, Ms. Elena Skoko, Professor Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg and Professor Claudia Meier Magistretti) appointed 22 funded participants following a list of quality criteria. The other participants attended the Training School at their own expenses. A detailed report of this very successful and innovative Training School is attached to this report.
Swiss participants in working groups
MC delegates and the associated Swiss COST-Action participants of the Universities of Applied Arts and Sciences of Lucerne, Olten and Zurich as well as other Swiss organisations, such as the Universities of Berne and Lausanne and the hospital Spital STS AG Thun have actively participated in the following working groups:
WG1, Epigenetics and the hygiene hypothesis in relation to intrapartum events and associations with longer term non-communicable diseases: Prof. Dr. Nicola Low, Prof. Dr. Jessica Pehlke-Milde, Dr. Susamnne Grylka (2015, 2016)
WG 2, The mechanics and bioengineering of pregnancy and labour: Dr. Oliver Christ, FHNW (full member in 2016 and 2017) and Prof. Dr. Claudia Meier Magistretti (associated member of this working group).
WG 3, Socio-cultural phenomenon contextualizing labour and birth, including marginalized groups, such as migrant women : Dr. Ans Luyben, Dr. Irene Maffi, Prof. Dr. Valerie Fleming.
WG 5, Neuro-psycho-social characteristics and effects of labor and birth: Two systematic reviews have been written on physiological (oxytocin) and psychological processes in normal birth with participation of Professor Dr. Claudia Meier Magistretti (Lead: Prof. Dr. Kerstin Unvas). Dr. Susanne Grylka participated in WG 5 (2017, 2018)
STSM group (Short Term Scientific Mission): Dr. Ans Luyben, Prof. Dr. Claudia Meier Magistretti. Both are members of the STSM committee and have as such examined STSTM requests and STSM reports.
Swiss Chair of Early Career Investigators Think Tank (ECI): Claudia Meier Magistretti:
The ECI developed remarkably. The active group consisted of 33 members, whereas the whole ECI group held more than 50 members.CMM established a virtual closed discussion group, where members met once a week to exchange. Members discussed questions and answers regarding their research projects, exchanged hints to literature and methodology, supported each other in writing STSM applications and reports, provided information about conferences & calls for papers, about grants & funding opportunities as well as about their publications and achievements within COST-Action. They also shared their competences and networks.
From 2016 to 2018 monthly Skype seminaries were conducted on various topics ranging from “How to write a PHD when having young children” to methodological, financial or theoretical questions (such as “qualitative and quanrtitative methods for non medical or social scientist) or innovative topics as “obstretric violence and its measurement” had been successfully held with international attendance. In addition, members and chair provided specific experts for specific questions, gave technical support in each others’ studies and translated abstracts or research instruments in different languages for each other.
Face-to-face meetings at the COST Action meetings were regularly held at every meeting. They served to define the topics of the upcoming Skype seminaries in the following months as well as they gave a platform for young researchers who presented their work and their questions linked to it.
Coordinated research projects within and beyond the framework of the COST Action (research groups).
Dr. Ans Luyben is continuing the work on; Scaling up the maternal and neonatal health care workforce ( “midwives@workandperspectives2025”) with various national and international partners, such as the fhg Innsbruck, Workplace bullying, in collaboration with University of Ulster and Trinity College, Dublin (Lead Dr. Patricia Gillen) and a book project of Dr. Francesca Scott. The continued significance of the history of midwifery: providing context for the study of specificity in women’s writing. (Participation Dr. Ans Luyben on the “History of antenatal care in three European countries”)

Three grants have been successfully applied for by the Swiss MC delegate Claudia Meier Magistretti and her colleagues:
Claudia Meier Magistretti, Franziska Meinecke and Anastasia Topalidou: IDS-Project: Thermal imaging methodology use for complex data management and data analysis in interdisciplinary contexts of health. Awarded by: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (45’000 CHF) (Awarded June 2016:
Claudia Meier Magistretti, Valerie Fleming: When new life meets death” Swiss Academy for Medical Sciences. 159’000 CHF.March 2017-August 2019)
Claudia Meier Magistretti & Catherine Walter-Laager: Angebote der Frühen Förderung in Schweizer Städten (AFFIS) Staatssekretariat für Migration (SEM), Feburary 2015- April 2019 (CHF 170’000).

Download the full report here.



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