Dr Danielle Schoenaker is a Research Fellow in the School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education at the University of Southampton.
She holds BSc and MSc degrees in nutrition and epidemiology, and was awarded her PhD in maternal health from the University of Queensland, Australia in 2017. Following two short-term positions in Melbourne and Wollongong, Danielle joined the University of Southampton in 2020.
Danielle’s programme of work is focussed on the health and wellbeing of women and men leading up to pregnancy, and aims to inform how this may be improved to benefit the health of future mothers, fathers and their children. She uses a range of research approaches including synthesis of existing evidence, new analysis of large national datasets, and involvement of patients/public, healthcare and policy stakeholders. Danielle works closely with members of the UK Preconception Partnership and with the Lifecourse Intelligence team at the UK government Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.
Danielle is passionate about supporting students and early- and mid-career researchers through her roles as chair of the UK Preconception EMCR Network and member of the executive committee for the Health in Preconception, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Early- and Mid- Career Researcher International Collective (HiPPP EMR-C).
- Preconception health
- Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
- Maternal, paternal and child health
- Lifecourse epidemiology
Informing preconception care in the primary care setting: Dr Schoenaker leads a project to generate evidence that will inform how primary care teams can better support their patients to prepare for pregnancy and parenthood. This project will identify priority preconception interventions that can be implemented in primary care, and core outcomes for mothers and children, through a consensus approach with people of childbearing age and multi-disciplinary stakeholders. She will also use linked national routine health data to examine the effects of preconception interventions on improving and reducing inequalities in core outcomes.
National surveillance of preconception health: a project led by Dr Schoenaker has identified preconception indicators that can be monitored using existing routine datasets to inform surveillance of preconception health in England. In collaboration with the UK Preconception Partnership and UK government Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, she produced a first national-level report card on preconception health of women in England. Ongoing analyses and collaboration will inform the development of an infrastructure for ongoing national surveillance of preconception health.
- Improving communication and awareness about preconception health: a project led by Dr Schoenaker has established a diverse Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group to develop a set of language recommendations that can be used to describe ‘preconception health’ and to formulate health messages in a meaningful and appropriate way. These recommendations have contributed to the language and messages used in the #ReadyforPregnancy campaign, and an online poster providing information on key steps to take when thinking of having a baby – now or in the near future. The findings, outcomes and reflections on the project have so far been published in blogs for Chrysalis and Public Policy Southampton, and the abstract of a conference presentation has been published in The Lancet.
Current teaching contributions
Guest lecturer for Module on Epidemiology: Concepts, Analysis and Application (University of Southampton MSc Public Health).
Guest lecturer for Module on Nutritional Epidemiology (University of Wollongong MSc Nutrition and Dietetics).
External co-supervisor to three PhD students conducting studies related to preconception, maternal and paternal health.
External roles and responsibilities
- Research Fellow, School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education, University of Southampton, UK
- Honorary Senior Research Fellow, EGA Institute for Women’s Health, University College London, UK
- Honorary Public Health Academic, UK government Department of Health and Social Care, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, UK
- Best Poster Award | World Congress on Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (2019)
- Dean’s Award for Postdoctoral Researchers (Public Engagement category) | Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton (2021)
- EMCR Publication Prize | Health Impacts Research Centre, University of Wollongong (2019)
- Young Investigator Award | Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (2019)
- Early-Mid-Career Researcher Travel Award | Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong (2019)
- Conference Travel Award | Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society (2018)
- Conference Travel Award | Australasian Epidemiological Association (2016)
- Award for Research Excellence | School of Public Health, The University of Queensland (2016)
- International Travel Award | The University of Queensland (2015)
- Conference Travel Award | Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society (2015)