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A senior Bradford midwife turned researcher has been appointed Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Leeds’ School of Healthcare.

Diane Farrar, a Research Fellow at the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR), which is based at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), part of NHS Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been rewarded for her expertise and knowledge of maternal and infant health.

Diane’s new role will see her collaborate on research projects with academics from the university’s Faculty of Medicine and Health.

Professor of Applied Health Research at the University of Leeds, Linda McGowan, said: “I am excited that Diane will be collaborating with us on important research work.

Expert in gestational diabetes

“She is an expert in gestational diabetes. We will be looking at ways that we can share good practice with health workers in low-to-middle income countries about how to care for mothers who develop this increasingly-prevalent condition, so they and their babies are not put at additional risk of ill health, death or developing type 2 diabetes in later life.”

Diane will also present lectures and provide advice to students on masters and doctorate degree programmes. She said: “I am delighted that I have been awarded the post of Visiting Associate Professor in maternal health at the University of Leeds.

“Over the years, the Trust and the Institute have been very good to me and have provided me with some super opportunities.

“If you are enthusiastic and motivated the Trust is the place to be as it seizes upon good ideas and runs with them.

Fantastic research work

“Some fantastic research work goes on here. It’s a vibrant set-up and I have benefited greatly from the forward-thinking ethos and the many opportunities that have arisen. It’s been a lot of hard work but I get to work with some brilliant people.”

Diane started work with the NHS in Bradford as a trainee nurse in January 1986, and recently completed an amazing 31 years’ service at the Foundation Trust (Diane is pictured above with Trust Chairman Bill McCarthy).

After her initial nurse training she went on to establish herself as a midwife, before becoming a labour ward manager and subsequently a research midwife.

She achieved her PhD from the University of Bradford in 2010, and was a key member of the team which helped set up the landmark Born in Bradford (BiB) project, which has involved 13,500 children across the city and has provided new insights into the health of babies and primary school children which have been shared across the world.

Appointed a Research Fellow in 2010, Diane is currently carrying out research into hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (namely high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia) which are the major causes of maternity and infant deaths.