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Dr Melanie Cooper

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

Research Interests (key words only)

Critical discourse analysis, Community engagement, Peers support schemes, BME/ migrant communities and health services, vulnerable migrants and access to, experiences of and outcomes of health services, using health technology to address health service barriers.

PhD Supervision

Liz Whitney (2013- ongoing) part-time home PhD 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.

Karen Khan (2016- ongoing) part-time home PhD student.
Research focus: The ‘silent workforce’: Using the voices of student midwives to explore midwives understanding of the influence of organisational culture on decision-making and patient safety.

Marie-Clare Balaam (2017- ongoing) part-time home PhD student (University of Central Lancashire).
Research focus: The impact of social support interventions during the perinatal period on the wellbeing of asylum seeking and refugee women.

Amanda Firth (2017- ongoing) part-time home PhD student.
Research focus: Perinatal depression in migrant women: Maternal articulation of mental health in contrast to clinician recognition and response.

Halima Iqbal (2017- ongoing) full-time PhD student.
Research focus: Incorporating community and local organisations views in priority setting for research: a city wide inclusive approach to tackling rising obesity in Pakistani women.

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 BME communities and access to health services. To date this this has focused on pregnant asylum seeking and refugee women and their access to, experiences of and outcomes of maternity services. However, this has expanded to encompass other health services and access to higher education for migrant and BME communities.

Mel works closely with voluntary sector organisations on joint projects particularly around the use of peer support schemes. She co-leads the Maternity Stream charity and has experience as a trustee on a national refugee charity. Mel is also interested in how technology can be used to improve the health care experiences of vulnerable migrants and BME communities.

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

  • 2018 Principal investigator £18,900 Higher Education Innovation Fund. DAISI: (Digital animation in service improvement) to improve the quality of the postnatal hospital discharge using sepsis prevention as a proof of concept
  • 2017-2019 Research lead £180,000 Tampon Tax via Yorkshire Cancer research. ‘Wise Up To Cancer’ Improving cancer prevention and early diagnosis for BME women in Bradford
  • 2017-2020 PhD studentship £61,202. A whole system approach to set research priorities tackling obesity in Pakistani women
  • 2015-2018 Principal investigator £20,000 University of Bradford. What are the barriers and facilitators for asylum seekers in Northern England undertaking exercise and physical activity?
  • 2016-2020 Co-investigator COST Action IS1405. ‘Babies Born Better’ European survey of migrants women’s experiences of maternity care


  • Vice chair of Humanities, Social Sciences and Health Studies Research Ethics Panel
  • Member of Faculty Research and Knowledge transfer committee
  • Chair of University of Sanctuary Working Group
  • Chair of Postgraduate Research Forum


See Mel Cooper's publications on Bradford Scholars.

Firth, A. & Haith-Cooper, M (2018) Vulnerable migrant women and postnatal depression: A case of invisibility in maternity services? British Journal of Midwifery 26 (2).

Balaam, MC, Haith-Cooper, M, Pařízková, A, Weckend, M, Fleming, V, Roosalu, T, Špoljar Vržina, S. (2017) A concept analysis of the term migrant women in the context of pregnancy. International Journal of Nursing Practice DOI: 10.1111/ijn.12600

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
  • 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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