Mary Renfrew is Professor of Mother and Infant Health in the University of Dundee, where she is Director of the Mother and Infant Research Unit (MIRU), Director of the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre, and Associate Dean for Research. A graduate of the Department of Nursing Studies in the University of Edinburgh, she qualified as a midwife from the North Lothian School of Nursing and Midwifery. She gained her PhD in Edinburgh in 1982 while working with the Medical Research Council’s Reproductive Biology Unit. She has since worked in universities and health care in Oxford, Canada, Leeds, and York.
The aim of the multidisciplinary Mother and Infant Research Unit is to inform the improvement of maternal and infant health and care and reduce inequalities through research, education and sustainable change at scale. MIRU’s work has been used to inform policy and practice in infant feeding and maternity care nationally and internationally. A key project over the past three years has been the Lancet Series on Midwifery, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for which Mary is the academic lead.
In addition to her extensive academic journal publications, she has written widely about midwifery, infant feeding and maternity care, and is author and editor of books for academic, professional and lay audiences. She works closely with service users and advocacy groups, especially in the involvement of service users in research, and in involving advocacy groups in changing ways of working in service provision. She has been an inaugural Senior Investigator with the National Institute for Health Research, and co-editor of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group.
She has sat on Boards and Committees at national and international level including: Deputy Chair and member of the Nursing and Midwifery Panel of the universities’ Research Assessment Exercise; Medical Research Council Advisory Panel; International Council member, World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action; Research Standing Committee of the International Confederation of Midwives; Chair of the Board of Trustees, Best Beginnings; Chair of the UK Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition; Council member, Nursing and Midwifery Council; Chair of the Executive Group of the Lancet Special Series on Midwifery; and Chair of the WHO Strategic Committee for Maternal and Newborn Health. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.