Professor Hora Soltani received the award in recognition of her services to maternal and infant health after dedicating more than twenty years of her career to enhancing care standards and reducing health inequalities for mothers and their babies across the world.
Her research has supported the development of vital care pathways for pregnant women from the most disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds and her efforts on integrating and analysing the different models of maternity care through systematic reviews has guided maternity policy development at national and international levels.
Support for migrant mothers
Committed to ensuring migrant mothers across Europe receive the best care possible, Professor Soltani in collaboration with a team of academics and clinicians from across the continent worked with women who have little voice in society, as part of her drive to reduce health inequality for vulnerable mothers and their babies.
The Operational Refugee and Migrant Maternal Approach (ORAMMA) project, funded by the European Commission, undertook research to develop guidelines for integrated health and social care during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum for migrant and refugee women across Europe, as well as training mechanisms to support countries, healthcare professionals and pregnant women most affected by the migrant crisis.
Professor Soltani has also been dedicated to reducing risks of complications at birth for women from a wide range of different backgrounds including adolescent mothers or mothers with obesity as well as providing women with a more satisfying care experience during pregnancy and birth. Her study into midwife-led care has influenced policy development in the UK, notably in 2018, when the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care used Professor Soltani’s evidence to support the recruitment of more midwives over the next three years - pledging 3,000 more midwives to the NHS workforce.
'I am completely stunned'
Speaking of her award, Professor Hora Soltani MBE, who is part of the University’s College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences, said: “I am completely stunned as I do realise the incredible privilege that is associated with receiving an MBE as part of the Queen’s Honours list”.
“I have been so lucky to work with so many excellent researchers and healthcare professionals locally and internationally, who all have the same drive to reduce health inequalities and improve care standards and outcomes for all mothers and their babies, and without them, my work wouldn’t be possible.”
Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, Professor Sir Chris Husbands, said: “I’m delighted to see Hora Soltani’s recognition in the New Year Honours list. Her work on maternal and infant health has made a profound difference to the development of care pathways for mothers and children from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds.
“This award is a testament to the importance of her work and her determination to make a difference.”
Debra Bick, professor of clinical trials in maternal health at the University of Warwick, said: “Professor Soltani is committed to supporting the most vulnerable women in our society and the research she is leading with academics from across Europe to improve care and outcomes for migrant mothers is testament to that.”