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Professor Arri Coomarasamy holding a handheld microphone speaking during WHO conference

Women around the world are less likely to miscarry or die during childbirth thanks to research led by Professor Arri Coomarasamy, who has been awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours.

An expert in Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine from the University of Birmingham, Professor Coomarasamy has been involved in major clinical trials that have had a significant impact on cutting the risk of early miscarriage, and reducing the likelihood of severe bleeding during childbirth by 60%.

Arri Coomarasamy is a Professor of Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine at the University of Birmingham, Consultant at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Director of the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research, Joint Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Women’s Health and founding trustee of Ammalife, a UK-registered charity with a global mission of reducing maternal deaths in low-income countries.

Professor Arri Coomarasamy said of his nomination for Officer of the Order of the British Empire:

“This is a recognition for the powerful work our research teams do in tackling miscarriage and childbirth-related deaths. Every 2 minutes, a mother dies during childbirth somewhere in the world. The impact of our research can be a matter of life and death for mothers and their children. I am delighted that maternal and child health are being celebrated.”

This is a recognition for the powerful work our research teams do in tackling miscarriage and childbirth-related deaths.

Professor Arri Coomarasamy

Notable trials

In 2021, the UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence issued new national guidance for clinicians that progesterone pessaries should be used to reduce the risk of recurrent miscarriage. The guidance incorporated evidence from the PRISM trial, led by Professor Coomarasamy and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that there was a 15% increase in live births among women bleeding in early pregnancy with a history of previous miscarriage.

Around the world, every year, over 70,000 women die from severe bleeding during childbirth. E-MOTIVE was a clinical trial to assess whether a series of interventions could reduce severe bleeding and improve survival rates for mothers. The trial was led by Professor Coomarasamy and the World Health Organisation, and the results published in 2023 reported that the E-MOTIVE package saw a 60% reduction in heavy bleeding and deaths among participants.

Professor Coomarasamy writes for Birmingham Brief about the E-MOTIVE trial

A career born at Birmingham

Professor Arri Coomarasamy received his undergraduate medical education from the University of Birmingham, and completed his subspecialist training in reproductive medicine and surgery at Guy’s Hospital, London. Now, Professor Coomarasamy combines his roles in research and charity leadership with his role as a consultant gynaecologist at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWC).

Professor Coomarasamy is passionate about mentoring junior doctors and researchers, and several of his trainees have become outstanding clinicians and researchers.

Professor David Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham said:

“I am delighted that Arri has been honoured for his hugely impactful contribution to maternal health in the UK and around the World. Arri has previously been part of our ‘heroes’ campaign and he and his teams of researchers are part of what’s best about the University of Birmingham.”

Dr Fiona Reynolds, Chief Medical Officer at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital said:

"We're incredibly proud of Arri for the positive impact he has had, on the lives of women and families across the globe in dire need of support. Not only has he had a positive impact upon his patients globally; he continues to inspire us all at BWC. Thank you, for your ambition, bravery and compassion."

Kath Abrahams, Chief Executive Officer of Tommy’s charity said:

“As Director of the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research, Prof Arri Coomarasamy leads our extraordinary team of researchers and scientists in Birmingham, Warwick, Coventry and London as they work to understand and prevent miscarriage and help parents bring much-wanted babies home.

“It is because of the tireless efforts of Arri and the team that we can firmly challenge the idea that miscarriage is ‘just one of those things’ by developing innovative tests and treatments which have transformed care and saved babies' lives. In 2017 the University of Birmingham named him one of their heroes – and now we're incredibly proud to see him receive much-deserved national recognition.”

Imran Pasha, Chair of Trustee’s at Ammalife expressed his congratulations

“I am delighted to hear that Arri has been recognised for his contribution to global maternal health. Arri was one of Ammalife’s founding trustee’s, and 15 years later he is still an integral part of the team. He volunteers his time and expertise to the charity, because like all of us here at Ammalife, he believes that research driven action is key to a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth for all mothers, regardless of where they live.

“On behalf of every at Ammalife, I’d like to extend our gratitude and congratulations to Arri.”

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