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The Maternity and Newborn Learning Health Network (MNLHN) brings together consumers, clinicians and researchers to improve safety and quality of healthcare, experiences and outcomes for women receiving maternity care in Victoria. The MNLHN’s goal is to drive safety and quality to improve the maternity care for women, babies, and families by partnering with consumers, clinicians, and researchers.

Consumer lead: Bronwyn Hogan 

Bronwyn Hogan, our MNLHN Consumer Lead, is dedicated to creating positive change in Victoria's healthcare system. Bronwyn has a powerful personal story, having experienced loss and other pregnancy complications. She is committed to amplifying patients' and family/carers' voices and encouraging collaboration between patients and health service staff to improve care for all. Bronwyn brings a combination of professional expertise and personal experience to her role, is passionate about rural perspectives, continuous improvement, and empowering others to share their stories.

Clinical lead: Dr Penny Sheehan 

Dr. Penny Sheehan, the Clinical Lead of the MNLHN has a keen interest in studying the complexities of labour and working with women at high risk of preterm birth as well as over 20 years of experience in safety and quality in public maternity services, Dr. Sheehan is well placed to enhance care for mothers and newborns. In her role, Dr. Sheehan values consumer involvement and is leading work to ensure a patient-centred approach and safer, more compassionate Victorian maternity care.

Advisory group: The MNLHN Advisory Group is co-chaired by our Consumer Lead, Bronwyn Hogan and our Clinical Lead, Dr Penny Sheehan. Membership consists of clinicians (obstetricians, midwives, neonatologists, neonatal nurses consumers, health system leaders and improvement specialists). The MNLHN Advisory Group drives and facilitates purposeful consumer and sector engagement, provides advice on work of the LHN with a focus on system level issues, and provides advice to support SCV and the Department of Health (DH).

Data group: The MNLHN Data Group is chaired by A/Prof Alexis Shub. Membership consists of clinicians, consumers, data experts, researchers, and academics. The MNLHN Data Group provides expertise on data analytics including identification, interpretation, and use of data to support the work of the LHN.

For more information, contact  

Latest news

MNLHN Improvement Program

This program aims to build improvement capability and drive improved outcomes for women, babies and families. This continues the work done in the Safer Baby and Better Births collaboratives. If your health service is interested in learning more, please read the information pack:

Priority areas

The MNLHN is committed to partnering and engaging with consumers, clinicians, and researchers to drive sustained improvements from previous SCV led large-scale maternity projects.

Reducing severe perineal tears

Women having their first birth vaginally in Victoria are four times more likely to experience a severe perineal laceration (third- or fourth-degree tear) compared to those having a subsequent birth vaginally (Victorian perinatal services performance indicators 2018–19 report). This can have devastating long-term or lifelong impacts on physical and psychological wellbeing. Many of these tears are avoidable.

During 2019 to 2021, SCV undertook the Better Births for Women Collaborative with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and 14 health services to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies, using the IHI’s proven Model for improvement. Drawing on the Women’s Healthcare Australasia Perineal Protection Bundle, SCV working in partnership with maternity services and tested and spread evidence-based care bundles to reduce third- and fourth-degree perineal tear rates.

Work focused on five clinically endorsed interventions:

  • Warm compresses
  • Encourage a slow controlled birth: using hands on technique
  • Correct episiotomy technique used when indicated 
  • Comprehensive assessment for perineal tears
  • Accurate severity grading of perineal tears 

For more information, see the Better births for women toolkit.

See also the Perineal Protection Project - audit tool and other resources.

Reducing stillbirths

Research suggests that many stillbirths may be avoidable and there is low awareness of the risk factors for stillbirth. During 2019 to 2021, SCV undertook the Safer Baby Collaborative with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the Stillbirth Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) and 15 health services to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies, using the IHI’s proven Model for Improvement.

SCV working in partnership with maternity services, tested and spread evidence-based clinical care to reduce the rates of stillbirth, focussing on five areas of practice:

  • promoting smoking cessation
  • detection and management of fetal growth restriction (FGR) 
  • management of decreased fetal movements 
  • promoting optimal maternal sleep position 
  • shared decision-making around timing of birth 

For more information, see the Safer baby toolkit

Future priorities include:

  • Postpartum haemorrhage collaborative (coming to the MNLHN in 2024)
  • Preterm birth collaborative (coming to the MNLHN in 2024)
  • Reducing maternity readmissions
  • Birth suite safety culture 


18 June 2024Smoking Cessation Support in Pregnancy
21 May 2024Gestational Diabetes Management and Timing of Birth Optimisation
16 April 2024Episiotomy: Role, evidence and practice
13 February 2024Placenta previa
30 January 2024Redesign of the Victorian Perinatal Autopsy Service
12 December 2023Clinical Conversation: Movements really do matter
14 November 2023Women's Health Australasia Perineal protection bundle - The 5 bundle elements
10 October 2023Fetal Growth Restriction
5 September 2023Decision making around timing of birth
11 July 2023Sustaining improvement lessons learned from Health Services
5 June  2023Dhelkaya Health (Castlemaine) - learnings from a new maternity model of care
13 December 2022Congenital syphilis
19 October 2022Caesarean section surgical site infections in Victorian hospitals
10 August 2022Interventions for vaccine preventable infections in pregnancy
13 July 2022Reducing pain in newborns during painful procedures: Evidence, practices and education
11 May 2022Extreme prematurity
19 April 2022Perineal protection


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