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Women’s health champion Dame Pauline Harris receives honorary degree

For more than 30 years Dame Pauline Harris has supported Wellbeing of Women

Dame Pauline Harris receiving her specialist honorary degree. She is standing wearing her graduation gown and cap on the left of her is a man sat on a chair and lady stood at a lectern. Behind them is a screen announcing the degree.

Dame Pauline Harris visited Liverpool Women’s Hospital this week (Wednesday 12 July 2023) to be presented with an honorary degree from the University of Liverpool in recognition of the immense contribution she has made to women’s health.

Dame Pauline and Lord Harris of Peckham have supported the Wellbeing of Women charity for more than 30 years, and through them established the Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Research Centre at the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust in 2015.

Dame Pauline's support has funded life-changing preterm birth research, support for pregnant women and families, and public education about preterm birth for eight years.

The first Harris Wellbeing of Women (then called Birthright) Centre was set up in 1983 at King’s College Hospital in London. After its success, Lord Harris and Dame Pauline continued to support the setting up of further centres spreading northwards, feeling it would be beneficial to expand outside of the south of England and each tackling a different aspect of women’s health. In total there were six centres, the latest being the Harris-Wellbeing Liverpool Preterm Birth Centre.

The visit also marked the official opening of the C-GULL research clinic which sits within the Harris Centre. C-GULL is the first large scale birth cohort study in the Liverpool City Region and will track 10,000 first born babies and their families from early in pregnancy through childhood and beyond.

It’s a pleasure to be here in Liverpool today and I’m delighted to have been given this honorary award. I’m proud of all of our Centres, and this one in Liverpool is very important to me because I gave birth to preterm twins myself. I’m looking forward to touring the C-GULL clinic and meeting staff and patients. Dame Pauline Harris

Professor Louise Kenny, Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and C-GULL Principal Investigator said: “Today we pay tribute to the remarkable impact that Dame Pauline Harris has had on women and child health, here in Liverpool and far beyond. Dame Pauline’s longstanding support for the Wellbeing of Women charity led to the establishment of the Harris Centre for Pre-term Birth Research, a partnership between the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Over the last eight years ground-breaking research and transformative initiatives from the Harris centre have advanced our understanding of the causes of adverse pregnancy outcomes.”

The Centres:

  1. 1983 – The Harris Birthright Centre for Fetal Medicine at King’s College Hospital in London
  2. 1984 – The Harris Birthright Centre for Early Pregnancy, St. Mary’s Hospital, London
  3. 1986 - The Harris Birthright Centre for Reproductive Medicine, Jessop Hospital for Women, Sheffield
  4. 1986 – The Harris Birthright Centre for Pre-eclampsia, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford
  5. 1988 – The Harris Birthright Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer opened at the University of Aberdeen
  6. 2014 - the Harris-Wellbeing Liverpool Preterm Birth Centre at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.