Doctoral Project: What counts as expertise in perinatal health
Broadening what counts as expertise in perinatal health of under-served populations in Canada: participatory methods and Bayesian updating contextualize evidence synthesis in stakeholder knowledge
This doctoral research addresses the under-representation of under-served populations in the published literature on perinatal health in Canada. This has consequences for policy, resource allocation and service delivery. This thesis presents both methodological and substantive contributions. It introduces Weight of Evidence as an accessible, transparent, and reproducible procedure to contextualize evidence syntheses. Using fuzzy cognitive mapping and Bayesian updating, Weight of Evidence transforms evidence-based and stakeholder-identified data into a weighted relational structure, led by participant expertise. As stakeholders interpret the evidence base, refine explanatory accounts and their implications, and prioritize intervention areas, Weight of Evidence broadens what counts as expertise, influencing both problem definition and relevant interventions. This thesis identifies how social and economic exclusion may contribute to perinatal health outcomes. Pregnant and parenting adolescents reinforced findings from the literature review, prioritizing stigma and social and economic exclusion as important influences on perinatal health.
Degree: Ph.D. McGill
Student: Anna Dion