Saraswathi Vedam is Lead Investigator of the Birth Place Lab and Professor of Midwifery in the Faculty of Medicine at University of British Columbia. Over the past 35 years, she has served as clinician, educator, researcher, and mother to four remarkable young women. Professor Vedam has coordinated several transdisciplinary and community-led research projects. She led the Canadian Birth Place Study examining attitudes to place of birth among maternity care providers; and Changing Childbirth in BC, a provincial, participatory study of women’s experiences of maternity care. She is currently the PI for the RESPCCT study, a national CIHR-funded national research project to evaluate respectful maternity care across Canada. In the US, her Access and Integration Maternity care Mapping (AIMM) Study examined the impact of integration of midwives on maternal-newborn outcomes, and the Giving Voice to Mothers Study explored experiences of respect, discrimination, and inequities quality of care among communities of color. Her scholarly work includes development of pragmatic tools that improve person-centered care, including patient-designed quality measures: Mothers’ Autonomy in Decision Making (MADM) scale and the Mothers on Respect (MORi) index, which received the 2017 National Quality Forum Innovation Prize. In 2017 she was selected as a Michael Smith Health Research Institute Health Professional Investigator.
Professor Vedam has been active in setting national and international policy on place of birth, and midwifery education and regulation. She has provided expert consultations to policy makers, public health agencies, and legislators in Mexico, Hungary, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Canada, the US, and India. She was Convener and Chair of 4 national Birth Summits in the United States. At these historic summits a multi-stakeholder group of leaders crafted a common agenda to address equitable access to high quality maternity care for all communities across birth settings.