Dr Kristen Beek is a public health researcher and lecturer with a background in social sciences and qualitative research. She joined the university as a Lecturer in Public Health early in 2018 after completing her PhD at UTS.
Dr Beek’s research applies qualitative methodologies to understanding health inequities and health service delivery to underserved populations, particularly in low and middle-income countries and humanitarian settings. Her research interests include strengthening the capacity of health workers to address sexual and reproductive health in the context of disaster and conflict, and adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights. Kristen has undertaken research throughout the Asia Pacific region, and is particularly passionate about the potential of applying disaster risk reduction and preparedness research to mitigate the impact of crises on health outcomes in humanitarian contexts.
Beek, K, McFadden, A & Dawson, A 2019, 'The role and scope of practice of midwives in humanitarian settings: a systematic review and content analysis.', Human resources for health, vol. 17, no. 1.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:Midwives have an essential role to play in preparing for and providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in humanitarian settings due to their unique knowledge and skills, position as frontline providers and geographic and social proximity to the communities they serve. There are considerable gaps in the international guidance that defines the scope of practice of midwives in crises, particularly for the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases. We undertook a systematic review to provide further clarification of this scope of practice and insights to optimise midwifery performance. The review aimed to determine what SRH services midwives are involved in delivering across the emergency management cycle in humanitarian contexts, and how they are working with other professionals to deliver health care. METHODS:Four electronic databases and the websites of 33 organisations were searched between January and March 2017. Papers were eligible for inclusion if they were published in English between 2007 and 2017 and reported primary research pertaining to the role of midwives in delivering and performing any component of sexual and/or reproductive health in humanitarian settings. Content analysis was used to map the study findings to the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for SRH across the three phases of the disaster management cycle and identify how midwives work with other members of the health care team. RESULTS:Fourteen studies from ten countries were included. Twelve studies were undertaken in conflict settings, and two were conducted in the context of the aftermath of natural disasters. We found a paucity of evidence from the research literature that examines the activities and roles undertaken by midwives across the disaster management cycle. This lack of evidence was more apparent during the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases than the response phase of the disaster management cycle. CONCLUSION:Research-informed g...
Beek, K, Whelan, A & Dawson, A 2017, 'A review of factors affecting the transfer of sexual and reproductive health training into practice in low and lower-middle income country humanitarian settings', Conflict and Health, vol. 11, no. 16, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Background: A lack of access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care is the leading cause of morbidity and
mortality among displaced women and girls of reproductive age. Efforts to address this public health emergency
in humanitarian settings have included the widespread delivery of training programmes to address gaps in health
worker capacity for SRH. There remains a lack of data on the factors which may affect the ability of health workers
to apply SRH knowledge and skills gained through training programmes in humanitarian contexts.
Methods: We searched four electronic databases and ten key organizations' websites to locate literature on SRH
training for humanitarian settings in low and lower-middle income countries. Papers were examined using content
analysis to identify factors which contribute to health workers' capacity to transfer SRH knowledge, skills and
attitudes learned in training into practice in humanitarian settings.
Results: Seven studies were included in this review. Six research papers focused on the response stage of
humanitarian crises and five papers featured the disaster context of conflict. A range of SRH components were
addressed including maternal, newborn health and sexual violence. The review identified factors, including
appropriate resourcing, organisational support and confidence in health care workers that were found to facilitate
the transfer of learning. The findings suggest the presence of factors that moderate the transfer of training at the
individual, training, organisational, socio-cultural, political and health system levels.
Conclusion: Supportive strategies are necessary to best assist trainees to apply newly acquired knowledge and
skills in their work settings. These interventions must address factors that moderate the success of learning transfer.
Findings from this review suggest that these are related to the individual trainee, the training program itself and
the workplace as well as the broader environmental cont...
Inadequate human resourcesboth in numbers and qualityare a well documented limitation to effective responses to public health emergencies. Although significant progress has been made in the past 15 years, the literature reveals that the lack of trained health workers continues to exacerbate the marginalised emergency response to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs. A comprehensive response to public health, including SRH care, is essential to minimise death, illness and disability in an emergency.