Professor Marian Knight MBE

a picture of Marian-Knight

Marian Knight, Professor of Maternal and Child Population Health at Oxford Population Health’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, has been recognised in the New Year Honours list 2023. She has been appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Maternal and Public Health.

Marian attended KEHS from 1979 – 1986. She really enjoyed her time there and felt it was advantageous for her education to be in a single sex school, where she excelled at her favourite subjects of the Sciences and Maths. Her mother, Mrs Flinn, taught Maths there for many years, and though she didn’t teach Marian, Marian felt she definitely took her mathematical prowess from her! The combination of those subjects proved to be very useful and important in her professional career.

Marian did Medicine at Cambridge University where at the time, only 20% of the students in her college year were female. Nowadays more than 60% of medical students are female. She always knew that she wanted to pursue an academic career in women’s health. However, after undertaking lab-based research, she realised that undertaking epidemiological population-based research would enable her to make a greater difference to the health and care of women and babies. She therefore moved towards the research she has now focused on for many years ie. the care and prevention of severe complications of pregnancy and early life, and addressing the disparities in outcomes for women and babies from different population groups.

Her work demonstrating inequalities in maternal mortality amongst women from Black, Asian and Mixed ethnic groups has led to a number of actions to improve care for pregnant women from ethnic minority groups.

When Marian was asked which characteristic she feels has best served her in her work, she said ‘persistence’, for pursuing what you feel is right and necessary, with advocacy skills being very helpful too! This was closely followed by flexibility, and trust – from your bosses, and in your own staff.

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