Fran Darlington-Pollock is a Research and Evidence Advisor for Save the Children UK. Within that role, her portfolio includes supporting and developing research, building capacity, and co-Chairing a global working group on evidence priorities.Fran is also a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Chair of The Equality Trust.
Fran writes and researches on the interactions between people, places and politics. In exploring this, her research seeks to better understand the nature and extent of social and spatial inequalities in society, particularly those relating to transitions over the life course.
Background: Prior to moving into the NGO sector, Fran worked as an academic. She was a Lecturer in Population Geography (Department of Geography and Planning, University of Liverpool, August 2017 to September 2021) and Lecturer in Health Geography (School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London, January 2016 to August 2017).
Fran’s PhD, completed at the University of Leeds, explored the nature of ethnic inequalities in health and explanations for changing health gradients rooted in migration, deprivation change and social mobility. During her time at Leeds, Fran also undertook a research trip to the University of Auckland, New Zealand where she investigated the influence of migration and deprivation change on health and mortality differences between ethnic groups in New Zealand.
Latest News: Fran’s forthcoming book – ‘Disease‘ – will be published later this year (20 October 2022) with Agenda Publishing as part of the ‘Giants: A New Beveridge Report’.
In 1942 life expectancy at birth was 66 for women and 60 for men. Death was usually due to degenerative and infectious diseases. The greatest postwar success in the fight against disease was the establishment of the NHS and care that was free at the point of delivery. Life expectancy rose dramatically, but since 2011 incremental improvements have stalled and even, in some regions, begun to reverse. Infant mortality rates have crept up and the postcode lottery of health provision underscores the level of social inequality in the UK.
Good health is not simply the absence of disease. It is the collective of physical, social and mental well-being. It is the product of nutrition and genetics, of healthy lifestyles and preventative health interventions. It is the interaction between the conditions in which we live, work, play and age. Yet access to many of the things that make and keep us healthy are not evenly distributed in the population. Achieving good health is then deeply entwined with all aspects of society and cannot simply be solved by policies in one area alone.
In our rediscovery of Beveridge, the shadow of the pandemic looms large. It is has never been more urgent to address the underlying causes of Disease. And it has never been clearer that these determinants are not only social or physiological, but also political.
Media: Fran has commented on inequality in the UK across multiple media outlets, including the BBC, TalkRadio, Smooth FM, Heart NW, and LBC. Fran has also appeared on LBC’s Cross Question as a panellist.
Additional information: Fran is Knowledge Exchange Officer for the Population Geography Research Group with the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers, having formally held various roles as Postgraduate Officer, Membership Officer and Communications Officer (2014 – present). Fran was formely a council member for the British Society for Population Studies (2017-2021) and has sat on a number of advisory boards and committees including the ONS 2021 Census Microdata Working Group, and the UK Data Service Advisory Committee.
Fran is Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers.