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Personal profile

Research interests

Helen is the leading national midwife researcher and expert in FASD and alcohol in pregnancy. As a result, she has an international profile and collaborates with NICE, Public Health England, Balance, and multiple universities across the UK. She is a founding member of the UK FASD Research Collaboration, which provides a network to share information between groups researching the areas of prenatal alcohol exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and lobbies for the increased provision of research funding in this area. Helen is also part of a regional team that provides training and education to families and all health, social care, education, and criminal justice-related professionals.

Helen’s portfolio of research culminated in her Ph.D. by Publication titled ‘Building a case for a standardised antenatal alcohol screening programme in the UK.’ Better Births, Local Maternity System, and the Integrated Care System now incorporate this new evidence which is driving changes in practice throughout the region and nationally, helping prevent future alcohol-related harms to improve the outcomes of women and their babies.


Helen Howlett is a dual registered Nurse and Midwife. She has the benefit of diverse clinical experience gained in variety of specialties over three decades of nursing and midwifery. She has managed several multidisciplinary teams and from this, learned and embedded many effective and innovative professional practices. Helen has a proven track record of building on the success of an organisation and developing research culture, capacity, and practice. Helen won the prestigious NIHR 70@70 Nurse and Midwife Research Leadership Award as a result of her work embedding a research culture across the NHS. She also won the NIHR Green Shoots award in recognition of her work as Principal Investigator on reproductive health clinical trials. Helen’s clinical background and her active research and educational roles means that she is familiar with the landscape and strategic imperatives within which academia, the NIHR and NHS operate.

She has experience of educating and training nurses, midwives and doctors at all levels to develop their research skills, to support practice development, professional education and to maintain clinical excellence. Helen is also trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Hypnobirthing.  


Education/Academic qualification

Midwifery, PhD, Northumbria University

1 Oct 201422 Jun 2021

Award Date: 21 Jul 2021

Nursing, MA (Hons), Northumbria University

Award Date: 1 Oct 2014

Midwifery, BSc (Hons), Northumbria University

Award Date: 1 Apr 1998

Nursing, DipHE, Northumbria University

Award Date: 2 Sep 1996


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