“I love being a champion for the power of data to tell stories and influence change,” Kathryn notes.
“I know that Perinatal Services BC has a long history of collecting data on pregnancy, maternal health, and infant health and has developed a world-class data set.”
“This data has been used over time to create guidelines and standards of care that have the potential to greatly impact health outcomes,” she continues.
The BC Perinatal Data Registry, also known as the “PDR,” is a provincial database that contains obstetrical and newborn data for virtually all births that occur in B.C. Currently, PDR contains over 300 data variables for approximately 45,000 births per year.
“The world is changing quickly, and the PDR is being updated to collect data that will better inform quality care for a broader spectrum of people,” Kathryn says.
“With new leadership and a sharp focus on quality, I think it's an opportune time to join the team and work to change care at the systems level using data so the system meets the needs of a more diverse population.”
Before her current role, Kathryn served nearly seven years at the First Nations Health Authority, where she lent her expertise in population health and wellness, emergency operations and in surveys & data.
“In terms of unique skills, I have experience working with First Nations data, data governance, and population health reporting at FNHA, which I gained over the last seven years in several different roles in the organization,” she says.
Kathryn notes that given the current context of reconciliation, this knowledge could help to inform how Perinatal Services BC collects and reports data to First Nations and Indigenous peoples, with the goal of measuring disparities and ultimately improving health outcomes.
Perinatal Services BC is currently leading a provincial strategy to stabilize, sustain, and improve the quality of maternity care in B.C.
To inform this strategy in the short term, Kathryn notes that one key area of focus in her portfolio will be updating the PDR to capture more relevant data and information. This updated registry data can then better inform guidelines for practitioners to provide quality services to diverse populations.
In the longer term, the program will work to strengthen existing relationships with researchers and develop capacity within PSBC to potentially lead research that will develop their knowledge base in areas that historically have not been a priority, such as maternal mental health, cultural safety, and substance use during pregnancy.
The overall vision of Perinatal Services BC is “healthy women and individuals having healthy pregnancies and infants,” and Kathryn feels that her role in achieving this vision is clearly defined.
“My role will support making this vision a reality through the provision of quality data, research, and information that will provide evidence to update and improve the way that care is provided to an increasingly diverse population.”