McFadden, Alison


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Alison is Professor of Mother and Infant Public Health and Co-lead of the Mother and Infant Research Unit in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Dundee.

Alison qualified as a midwife in 1981 and has worked in clinical midwifery in Bristol and Middlesbrough in England. She spent three years in Malawi working as a midwife teacher and clinical midwife. Qualifying as a midwifery lecturer in 1989, she was awarded the Robert Peer’s Prize for Adult Education by the University of Nottingham, and spent 17 years lecturing in midwifery and women’s health at the University of Teesside. She was awarded a Masters in Applied Educational Studies by the University of York in 1993.

In 2005 she joined the Mother and Infant Research Unit at the University of York and gained a NIHR Researcher Development Award to undertake a PhD which was completed in 2009 at the University of York. Her doctoral research examined the breastfeeding support needs and experiences of women of Bangladeshi origin living in the UK.

Alison joined the University of Dundee as a research fellow in January 2013.


Alison’s research focusses on improving the health and health care experiences of childbearing women, babies and families and reducing health inequities.

She has particular interests in global infant feeding policy and evidence-based support to enable women to breastfeed, in improving the quality of midwifery care nationally and internationally; and in improving health care for women, babies and families from marginalised/socially excluded groups.

Her methodological expertise is in qualitative methods, evidence synthesis, multi-method studies, implementation of evidence into practice and including participants in research who are often excluded.

Alison is a co-author on the influential Lancet Series on Midwifery published in 2014. this work has had impact across the globe in trnasorming midwifery policy, practice and education.  She is is senior author of the flagship Cochrane review 'Support for healthy breastfeeding mothers with healthy term babies'. 


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, How can breastfeeding support services best meet the needs of women of Bangladeshi origin living in the UK, University of York

Award Date: 1 Jan 2009

Master of Arts, Implementation of Peer Assessment in a Midwifery Education Programme: An action research study, University of York

Award Date: 1 Jan 1993


  • RG Gynecology and obstetrics
  • Public Health
  • RT Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Culturally appropriate care
  • Maternal and infant health and nutrition
  • Qualitative methods


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