The ‘Born and Bred In’ study, known as BaBi, is opening at both York & Scarborough Hospitals. As a member of the national BaBi Network, the project will be looking to highlight health, care and education trends and challenges for children and families in the Scarborough and York areas.
The concept began in Bradford, where it is part of the world-leading Born in Bradford research programme. The BaBi Network is an important research initiative which aims to find out what influences the health and wellbeing of families when growing up. It is a network of local birth cohort studies that work together to link existing data across health, education, and social care to create a picture of families’ lives over time. Over time, this will help to shape local services, creating a healthier environment for families to enjoy.
This means that with consent from pregnant women, routine data recorded by the services they access themselves or for their babies such as healthcare and education are joined together anonymously. This helps to create a bigger picture of local people’s health, for research purposes. By looking for patterns in the data, the research can give valuable insights into what works well and what can be made better, helping us to improve our services for the future.
Each BaBi site focuses primarily on local outcomes for local people, establishing a wider BaBi network provides opportunities for important national research and learning. Listening to parents, families and practitioners to drive the way in which local services are improved is really important, and BaBi provides the opportunity to do just that. This starts with setting the local priorities for each research site, and continues as the research progresses.
Parents, families and practitioners in each area are invited to join with researchers and medical staff in a workshop to discuss local health priorities and understand what matters most in their area. This then informs the local research priorities the study is used for.
Dr Dominic Smith, BaBi Principal Investigator York & Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:
Born In Bradford is one of the most impressive birth cohort research studies in child health and I am extremely excited for Scarborough and York to become a part of this Network. We are really interested in studying patterns of health inequality at our centre and looking at access and service provision in York and Scarborough. Scarborough will be the first coastal town to be included in the study and this is seen as an area that can particularly benefit from better health research. Involvement in the study has already demonstrated there is great enthusiasm and interest in research work amongst colleagues in midwifery in both York and Scarborough
Sally Bridges, BaBi Network Director, at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation NHS Trust said:
“Connecting routinely collected data for women and their children is a hugely valuable and efficient way to help researchers answer questions that lead to real improvements in families’ health and wellbeing. At Born in Bradford, we have been working with families locally since 2007 to understand what helps to keep families happy and healthy. We then use what we learn to work closely with local services to make improvements that affect the health and wellbeing of our communities. We are delighted to welcome York and Scarborough to the BaBi family, so that more families and areas can enjoy the benefits this research can bring.”
Lydia Harris, Head of Research & Development at York & Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:
Midwives in our Trust working on BaBi have gone above and beyond as part of their already demanding roles to support this study. Their support will allow consenting mums data to be used to help us plan and deliver better services in our hospitals in the future for our mums and babies. They will also get the opportunity to discuss local health priorities and what’s important to them and their babies with the researchers, so we can better understand what matters most in York & Scarborough.
The fact that recruitment to BaBi has started in our hospitals shows how positive the research culture is here and how well-received the study has been by our staff.
Professor Maria Bryant, BaBi Network Academic Director, based at the University of York said:
BaBi is a transformative network that enables local areas to consider ways to improve health and wellbeing in a way that is most relevant to the local population needs. In addition to my role with the BaBi coordinating centre, I am also an academic at the University of York, and am therefore thrilled that York and Scarborough are joining the network. I look forward to working together with the Trust and the wider ICS to consider research opportunities that can really make a difference