VUSN researcher receives career development award to study team-based maternity care

Pregnant woman consultation

Julia PhillippiJulia Phillippi, PhD, MSN’99, CNM, FACNM, has received a K08 Career Development Award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Phillippi, a Vanderbilt University School of Nursing assistant professor and certified nurse-midwife, will use the three-year, $399,374 mentored award to conduct a randomized trial of an interdisciplinary team-based maternity care model and examine the preferences of patients and providers.

“Perinatal outcomes in the United States rank below many other developed countries,” Phillippi said. “Current approaches to consultation and collaboration among perinatal care providers — including nurse-midwives, obstetricians and perinatologists — fragment care. Communication errors and patient dissatisfaction can result. I believe this model of maternal care will improve communication, teamwork, maternal satisfaction and perinatal outcomes.”

In addition to teaching VUSN PhD classes, Phillippi provides intrapartum care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as part of the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwifery Faculty Practice.

“In our practice, we’ve developed an innovative community-engaged approach that allows a woman to meet with a nurse-midwife and a physician at the same time and make a comprehensive plan for her future maternity care,” Phillippi said. “I’ll examine responses of women and providers to see if women prefer this model to traditional consultations, which usually only involve the physician.”

“My qualitative research has found that women in nurse-midwifery care who needed a consult with a physician often did not feel comfortable with an unknown provider in a different clinic. Sometimes that meant they did not understand and implement the provider’s expert advice,” Phillippi said. “We want to avoid that and give women options for their care. This could become a model that could be implemented across the country.”

Phillippi’s research interests include women’s access to prenatal care, innovative learning environments for midwifery students, interprofessional communication and midwifery care to women at risk for poor perinatal outcomes. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Vanderbilt in 1999 and her PhD from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2011.

Phillippi’s project, Interprofessional Perinatal Consults to Improve Communication Quality, Satisfaction, and Team Cohesion: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Collaboration for Antepartum Risk Evaluation (CARE) Model, is supported by AHRQ grant number K08HS024733.