Associate Professor, University of Calgary, Faculty of
Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Community Health Sciences
Dr. Shahirose Premji’s is one of the leading researchers on preterm infants and her research has improved nursing care not only in Canada, but in many parts of the world.
Among preterm infants, the majority of literature is devoted to health research on preterm infants less than 32 weeks’ gestation age. This is of interest because nearly three quarters of the preterm population is among 34-36 weeks or late preterm infants. Premji’s research addresses a large void explaining the unique and vital responsibility nurses share in promoting a safe discharge and healthy transition to parenthood for parents of LPIs.
Given three in 10 women bearing children in Alberta are of South Asian descent, Shahirose’s global health research on perinatal distress of pregnant women in Pakistan is particularly important. Pakistani women experience higher rates of perinatal distress and the rate is comparable to high-risk populations in high-income countries like Canada such as immigrant women. Shahirose’s work is critical to informing cross-cultural nursing care to improve perinatal nursing care and reduce health inequities for the South Asian pregnant women who are underrepresented in perinatal research in Canada.
Shahirose credits the collaborative efforts of her research team and colleagues in helping to enhance this area of practice. “I have an amazing group of people that I work with in Alberta and Karachi, Pakistan,” says Shahirose. “This accomplishment is theirs too! As none of this would be possible without them.”
Shahirose’s collaboration with health-care practitioners and policy decision-makers as equal partners ensures her research questions are practice informed. Regionally, she is leading a project to examine policies and practices in Alberta, its gaps and best practices in order to harmonize clinical practice guidelines for LPI discharge.
Internationally, Shahirose is leading a project in India where the majority of pregnant and postpartum women with mental health issues do not receive treatment given human resource shortage. Her work will bridge this treatment gap by developing a lay-counsellor workforce to deliver basic psychosocial interventions.
Over the years, Shahirose secured nearly $6 million in funds toward
her research projects and she’s continually invited to present about
her knowledge and research – a testament to her work becoming
increasingly more relevant and recognized locally, nationally and
Last year, she presented at the Gold Perinatal Online Conference, sharing strategies nurses can use to improve the perinatal experience for families by considering cultural context, clinical judgement and resources.
Her strong publication record attests to her commitment to enhance the use of research findings in nursing practice in Canada. Many of her published work and systematic reviews have been taken up by health-care providers in the US, China and Germany, making practice changes based on her research.
“One of the things I love about working globally is that it helps me
realize the potential that is within each of us, says Shahirose. “I
see people innovate and embrace this potential in challenging
circumstances. It’s exciting and humbling.”