Dr Sophie Hickey

Honorary Fellow

Mater Research Institute-UQ
Faculty of Medicine

Honorary Research Fellow

UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Honorary Research Fellow

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Overview

Sophie Hickey is a mixed-methods researcher with a strong research interest in social inequalities in health. Dr Hickey's PhD thesis was on the social factors and health issues of a small group of Aboriginal people born in Brisbane who are part of the Mater-University Study of Pregnancy. This thesis explored the methodological and epistemological challenges with how Aboriginal identities are imagined, constructed, and treated within current public health research. Dr Hickey has previously worked on a nation-wide investigation into the use patterns of regular drug users and the illicit drug market, funded by the Commonwealth Government. Her current role as Research Officer at the Mater Research Institute is to provide overarching coordination of the NHMRC-funded research project - the Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting Study. The project is a joint collaboration between The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH), the Mater Health Service (MHS), and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS), Brisbane. It aims to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness of best practice maternity care services in South East Queensland for women having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies, with the overarching aim to work in partnership to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander maternal and infant health outcomes.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts with 1st class Honours, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • The Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting (IBUS) study aims to evaluate models of maternity care for woman having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies in South East Queensland. It is a partnership project developed by three Brisbane-based organisations: The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH), the Mater Health Service (MHS), and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane Ltd, in collaborative with the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Ngarrama Indigenous Service. This is a 5-year NHMRC funded study, with the research team based at Midwifery Research Unit (a joint collaboration between MRI-UQ and the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work–UQ), led by Prof Sue Kildea. To date, we have recruited over 200 women and babies. There is potential for RHD students (MPhil and/or PhD) to work on the many sub-studies such as:

    • Tell My Story
    • Women’s social and emotional wellbeing
    • Birthing on Country in an Urban Setting
    • Infant Growth and Development
    • Stop Smoking in its Tracks

    We are seeking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to join our team.

    For further information, please contact Dr Sophie Hickey sophie.hickey@mater.uq.edu.au or phone (07) 3163 1901

    • Tell My Story: An Ethnography Sub-study within the IBUS Study

    Women having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies (approx. n=50) will be invited to share their story through a longitudinal ethnographic approach. Researchers will interview women and observe family practices including lifestyle, stressors, social support, cultural practices and childrearing every 8 weeks from recruitment (in pregnancy) until the infant is 6 months old. We will explore Indigenous perspectives of culturally safe care (acceptability) and what constitutes social, cultural and clinical risk and wellbeing throughout the study period. Information will be sought about relationships in care and how this impacts on health choices and outcomes (e.g. breastfeeding, smoking cessation). We will record interviews (audio or video) and write field notes of observations, thus enriching the quantitative data.

    • Stop Smoking in it's Tracks: A Smoking Cessation Sub-study within the IBUS Study

    As part of the Birthing in Our Community program, we will be implementing a novel smoking cessation program investigating the impact of intensive follow up and support for women from early pregnancy through to 6 months following birth, along with reward payments to encourage sustained smoking cessation. Stop Smoking in its Tracks will also offer support, including Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to family members who smoke. This study will assess the effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility of providing "Stop Smoking in its Tracks."

    • Growth and development of infants: A sub-study within the IBUS Study

    The importance of optimal infant growth and development is well known. To date, it is not known to what extent commonly used infant developmental assessment tools are culturally appropriate for use with Indigenous infants raised in an urban setting. This sub-study will include culturally validating infant child assessments tools such as the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire with an urban Indigenous population. Experience in conducting infant assessments is desirable. If not already a qualified assessor, the successful candidate will be supported to undertake training to become accredited.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • The Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting (IBUS) study aims to evaluate models of maternity care for woman having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies in South East Queensland. It is a partnership project developed by three Brisbane-based organisations: The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH), the Mater Health Service (MHS), and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane Ltd, in collaborative with the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Ngarrama Indigenous Service. This is a 5-year NHMRC funded study, with the research team based at Midwifery Research Unit (a joint collaboration between MRI-UQ and the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work–UQ), led by Prof Sue Kildea. To date, we have recruited over 200 women and babies. There is potential for RHD students (MPhil and/or PhD) to work on the many sub-studies such as:

    • Tell My Story
    • Women’s social and emotional wellbeing
    • Birthing on Country in an Urban Setting
    • Infant Growth and Development
    • Stop Smoking in its Tracks

    We are seeking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to join our team.

    For further information, please contact Dr Sophie Hickey sophie.hickey@mater.uq.edu.au or phone (07) 3163 1901

    • Tell My Story: An Ethnography Sub-study within the IBUS Study

    Women having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies (approx. n=50) will be invited to share their story through a longitudinal ethnographic approach. Researchers will interview women and observe family practices including lifestyle, stressors, social support, cultural practices and childrearing every 8 weeks from recruitment (in pregnancy) until the infant is 6 months old. We will explore Indigenous perspectives of culturally safe care (acceptability) and what constitutes social, cultural and clinical risk and wellbeing throughout the study period. Information will be sought about relationships in care and how this impacts on health choices and outcomes (e.g. breastfeeding, smoking cessation). We will record interviews (audio or video) and write field notes of observations, thus enriching the quantitative data.

    • Stop Smoking in it's Tracks: A Smoking Cessation Sub-study within the IBUS Study

    As part of the Birthing in Our Community program, we will be implementing a novel smoking cessation program investigating the impact of intensive follow up and support for women from early pregnancy through to 6 months following birth, along with reward payments to encourage sustained smoking cessation. Stop Smoking in its Tracks will also offer support, including Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to family members who smoke. This study will assess the effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility of providing "Stop Smoking in its Tracks."

    • Growth and development of infants: A sub-study within the IBUS Study

    The importance of optimal infant growth and development is well known. To date, it is not known to what extent commonly used infant developmental assessment tools are culturally appropriate for use with Indigenous infants raised in an urban setting. This sub-study will include culturally validating infant child assessments tools such as the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire with an urban Indigenous population. Experience in conducting infant assessments is desirable. If not already a qualified assessor, the successful candidate will be supported to undertake training to become accredited.