Our Patron

– Professor Sir Michael Marmot


One of the world’s leading researchers into the impact of inequalities on health and wellbeing is to support a health organisation in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, from the Institute of Health Equity at University College in London, has agreed to be the Patron of HealthWORKS Newcastle. The appointment of such an eminent scientist is good news for HealthWORKS. Sir Michael is known worldwide for his research and policy advice to the World Health Organization and has advised many local and national governments and organisations throughout Europe and the rest of the world. This is the first time he has become involved in a smaller local organisation.

He said: “I am delighted to become Patron of HealthWORKS because this is a chance to see my team’s advice help shape delivery across the City of Newcastle. Where we live, who your parents are, your education, income and lifestyle all have an enormous impact on our
health and wellbeing. Many people in Britain are still being unnecessarily disabled by ill health and dying prematurely because of health inequalities. The lower a person’s social position, the worse his or her health. But we have the evidence to know what action to take to reduce health inequalities, and that’s exactly the message HealthWORKS is aiming to spread”.

Sarah Cowling, CEO of HealthWORKS said: “Having Sir Michael on board is the best start to 2014 we could ever have hoped for. In 2010 he produced a report called “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” and that has become our Bible so we are already practising what Sir Michael preaches. Our aim is “Better Health, Fairer Health.” It is amazing that someone with such a worldwide reputation is prepared to recognise and help with our work here in Newcastle.”

The Marmot Review has been largely adopted by the Coalition Government and more than three-quarters of local authorities.

The Review highlights there is a social ladder or ‘gradient’ in health, with those higher up the ladder enjoying better health and longer life than those immediately below them, and so on down the rungs. Those living in Byker have much worse health prospects than residents of South Gosforth, only a few miles away, and die up to eight years earlier.

Sir Michael already has connections with the city; last year he received honorary degrees from the University of Newcastle and the University of Northumbria.

One of the attractions of becoming Patron of HealthWORKS, Sir Michael explained, was its plans to form a “Marmot Delivery Hub” working with like-minded organisations across the City. The first alliance will be with Sure Start West Riverside which aims to help parents give young children the best possible start in life.