Dilys Walker MD

Adjunct Professor, Maternal and Child Health
  • MD - University of California, San Diego
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency - University of Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Family Planning Fellowship - University of California, San Francisco
Research Interests: 
  • Quality of maternity and neonatal care in low-resource settings
  • Training and capacity building 
  • Emergency obstetric care 
  • Strategies to promote midwifery models of obstetric care in low-resource settings
  • Implementation science
  • Unplanned pregnancy
Research Description: 

Design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions aiming to strengthen capacity and optimize outcomes for mothers and their newborns in low-resource settings. 

Current Projects: 
  • Que Vivan Las Madres.  An implementation trial to assess the impact of a package of interventions (PRONTO simulation training, midwifery, and social marketing) to increase skilled birth attendance and improve maternal and neonatal outcomes in northern Guatemala.
  • Design, implementation, and evaluation of a training for midwife mentors that introduces obstetric simulation and team training in Bihar, India.
  • East Africa Preterm Birth Initiative.  Implementation trials in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda to decrease the burden of preterm birth. 
  • Evaluation of a mobile app for community-based Anganwadi workers to improve identification and management of at-risk mothers and their children.
Selected Publications: 

Patel SJ, Bogaert K, Gachuno OW, Kibore MW, Unger J, Walker DM. Clinician attendance and delivery practices at hospital-based vaginal deliveries in Western Kenya. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2016 May;133(2):168-72.

Walker DM, Cohen SR, Fritz J, Olvera-García M, Zelek ST, Fahey JO, Romero-Martínez M, Montoya-Rodríguez A, Lamadrid-Figueroa H. Impact Evaluation of PRONTO Mexico: A Simulation-Based Program in Obstetric and Neonatal Emergencies and Team Training. Simul Healthc. 2016 Feb;11(1):1-9. 

Walker DM, Holme F, Zelek ST, Olvera-García M, Montoya-Rodríguez A, Fritz J, Fahey J, Lamadrid-Figueroa H, Cohen S, Kestler E. A process evaluation of PRONTO simulation training for obstetric and neonatal emergency response teams in Guatemala. BMC Med Educ. 2015 Jul 24;15:117

Walker D, DeMaria L, Gonzalez-Hernandez D, Padron-Salas A, Romero-Alvarez M, Suarez L. Are all skilled birth attendants created equal? A cluster randomised controlled study of non-physician based obstetric care in primary health care clinics in Mexico. Midwifery. 2013 Oct;29(10):1199-205. 

Fahey JO, Cohen SR, Holme F, Buttrick ES, Dettinger JC, Kestler E, Walker DM. Promoting cultural humility during labor and birth: putting theory into action during PRONTO obstetric and neonatal emergency training. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2013 Jan-Mar;27(1):36-42.

Walker D, DeMaria LM, Suarez L, Cragin L; Evaluating Alternative Models of Obstetric Care in Mexico Research Team. Skilled birth attendants in Mexico: how does care during normal birth by general physicians, obstetric nurses, and professional midwives compare with World Health Organization evidence-based practice guidelines?J Midwifery Womens Health. 2012 Jan-Feb;57(1):18-27.


Dilys Walker MD is Adjunct Professor with the Maternal and Child Health Program at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She has her primary appointment with the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). From 1998 to 2010, she worked in the Department of Reproductive Health at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. She is currently the Principal Investigator for the $25 million Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded East African Preterm Birth Initiative at UCSF, aiming to reduce the burden of preterm birth in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego, and completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Walker was the first Family Planning Fellow at UCSF. She is co-founder and Executive Director of PRONTO International (www.prontointernational.org), a non-governmental organization (NGO) that develops emergency obstetric and neonatal training programs grounded in low-tech, high-fidelity simulation and teamwork training for lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs). She is conducting PRONTO implementation trials in Mexico, Guatemala, Kenya, and India. Her research has focused on LMICs in prevention of unplanned adolescent pregnancy, emergency obstetric care, abortion, family planning, and maternal mortality.  

Profile Updated: September 19, 2016