The ON TRACK Network National Executive Committee aims to be representative across the disciplines of Maternal and Perinatal medicine, and across ethnicity and geography in New Zealand. Original members of the National Executive Committee were appointed following a national call for expressions of interest in 2016.
Members are clinicians, nurses, midwives, researchers and consumers. The Committee meets on a regular basis and is responsible for directing the activities of the ON TRACK Network.
Members of ON TRACK Network National Executive Committee
Maternal Fetal Medicine subspecialist & Obstetrician, Clinical Researcher
Associate Professor Katie Groom is an obstetrician and Maternal Fetal Medicine subspecialist at National Women’s Health, Auckland City Hospital and Associate Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health, Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. Her research focuses on clinical trials of therapies and interventions for the prevention and treatment of the major complications of pregnancy. She is currently the Chief Investigator for the C*STEROID Feasibility Study which aims to support a national multicentre randomised trial through the ON TRACK Network exploring the effects of antenatal corticosteroids prior to planned caesarean section at and after 35 weeks gestation on perinatal health. She has previously been the Chief Investigator of STRIDER NZAus, a multicentre randomised trial of sildenafil for the treatment of early-onset fetal growth restriction and the EPPI trial, a multicentre randomised trial of enoxaparin for the prevention of preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction.
Katie is very actively engaged in promoting the integration of research into routine clinical care. She was a key member of the 2013-2014 feasibility study for a New Zealand wide maternal and perinatal health clinical trials network which has led to the development of the ON TRACK Network. In addition to her role with the ON TRACK Network. She also chairs the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) Interdisciplinary Maternal and Perinatal Australasian Collaborative Trials (IMPACT) Network and has been an elected board member of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) (2016-2018) and PSANZ (2015-2018).
Maternal Fetal Medicine subspecialist
Professor Caroline Crowther received her medical education at The University of Birmingham, UK and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRCOG) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College (FRANZCOG). She is Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland with an affiliation to the University of Adelaide.
She is a trained sub-specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine. Caroline is recognised internationally for her extensive record in leading high quality research, particularly randomised trials, and with a focus on translating results into clinical practice. Caroline is the principle investigator for the University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Research Funding Initiative which funds the establishment of the ON TRACK Network.
Counties Manukau Health
Tanith Alexander is a dietitian based at Middlemore Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Tanith is actively involved in clinical research and has co-authored several academic articles. Tanith is a doctoral candidate at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. She leads the DIAMOND trial (Different Approaches to Moderate & late preterm Nutrition: Determinants of feed tolerance, body composition and development trial) which is currently underway at Auckland City, North Shore, Waitakere and Middlemore hospitals.
Associate Professor Nicola Austin graduated in medicine at the University of Otago before specialising in paediatrics. She completed an MD during her training at Southampton. Nicola is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP). Nicola is actively involved in research in the Neonatal Unit at Christchurch Women’s Hospital and is an Associate Professor at the University of Otago (Christchurch). Her current research focus is neuroimaging of the newborn infant and health outcomes and care for families and their infants through local and national advocacy.
Dr Max Berry received her medical education in London and has since specialised in neonatal medicine in New Zealand. Max is a Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Children’s Health (MRCPCH) and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP). She completed her PhD at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. She works as a Neonatologist at Wellington Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago (Wellington). Max’s research interests focus on translation of biomedical research into clinical practice.
Nathalie de Vries
Dr Nathalie de Vries trained in paediatrics and neonatology in the Netherlands, and was awarded her PhD in 2013 from the University of Groningen. Nathalie is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP) and works as a Paediatrician at Palmerston North Hospital. Nathalie is passionate about enabling and contributing to research in regional hospitals. Being part of the ON TRACK network enables her to be closely connected to the development of perinatal research in New Zealand and to provide feedback from a regional hospital setting point of view.
Associate Professor Michael Meyer trained as a paediatrician at Groote Schuur and Red Cross Children’s Hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa. He has fellowships in both Neonatology and Immunology, and obtained a Doctorate in Paediatrics (MD) from the University of Cape Town. Mike is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP).
He is a consultant neonatologist at Middlemore Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand and a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland. He has been lead investigator in several randomised controlled trials. Current research interests include preterm resuscitation, temperature control, humidification, delayed cord clamping, use of probiotics in preterm infants, erythropoietin and blood transfusion.
Jenny has extensive experience in childbirth education and associated services. She is currently Team Leader for Bumps to Babies at Barnardos New Zealand. She is a consumer member on the Maternity Clinical Governance Group, MidCentral District Health Board. Jenny has a strong interest in Māori health outcomes and achieving equity; she has been the Administrator for Ngai te Ao Hapu Board since 2006. Jenny has been involved with the ON TRACK Network since the start of 2019 including representing the consumer voice at the 2019 ON TRACK Trial Development Workshop.
Esther is senior clinical midwifery leader at Christchurch Women’s Hospital where she is also the ON TRACK Network Site Coordinator. Esther holds a research-based Master’s in Midwifery and is working towards undertaking a feasibility study for a PhD with the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. Her research area of interest is in perinatal outcomes and management of maternal anaemia and iron deficiency.
Phoebe de Jong
Phoebe is a midwife working in the Women’s Assessment Unit, Bay of Plenty District Health Board. She has 10 years’ experience working in the midwifery profession within primary, secondary and tertiary facilities. She holds a Bachelor of Midwifery and Post Graduate Certificate (Otago); she also has a Bachelor of Physical Education (Otago). Her time in the Women’s Assessment Unit has allowed her the opportunity to be involved with a number of ON TRACK clinical trials and contributed to her keen interest in perinatal research.
Karien has a background in maternal and neonatal health, both nationally and internationally. She is currently working as a Research Nurse on the Diamond Study at the Liggins Institute and is the ON TRACK Site Coordinator for the Waitemata DHB. Prior to this, she has worked in Auckland Starship NICU as a Neonatal Nurse and Family Liaison Nurse Specialist. During this time, she was also an active member of the Neonatal Nurses College Aotearoa as Pacific Project Leader, delivering the Neonatal Nurse P.O.I.N.T.S of Care Programme in Samoa. This program was in alignment with the United Nations Millennium Development Goal number 4 of reducing infant morbidity and mortality. Karien has always been extremely interested in research and supported clinic trials in hospital settings. She aims to encourage and increase research dialogue and improve health outcomes for mothers and babies via clinical trials.
Sabina is currently Midwife Educator at Middlemore Hospital. Before coming to New Zealand in 2001, she was an intensive care unit nurse in Germany for over 20 years and a movement therapist for five years. In New Zealand she started working as a nurse in acute gynaecology followed by working as an independent LMC midwife for more than six years. She has a Masters in Midwifery from the University of Technology Sydney, which has helped to drive her continued interest and passion for research.
Cheana is a qualified social worker who has previously worked at Te Whare Hauora formerly known as Otautahi Womens Refuge as a Whanau Ora Navigator and Frontline Crisis Responder. Having a one year old son she has recent experience as a consumer of maternity care. With her own experience as a maternity care consumer and her professional roles supporting women and children she has a keen interest in supporting the ON TRACK Network with its vision to achieve greater equity, outcomes, and quality of life for women and babies nationwide.