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Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare celebrates ten years

07 July 2015

The Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare is celebrating ten years of research into the way in which medicine, medical science and healthcare systems have developed over time and have come to shape our contemporary experience.

The Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare is a research collaboration involving academics across Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the University of Strathclyde.

Areas of expertise include occupational and environmental health, maternal and childhood health, mental health and disability, drugs and pharmaceuticals, with funding for research having come from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the British Academy, the Carnegie Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Royal Historical Society, and the Wellcome Trust.

Ground-breaking research by historians includes Vicky Long’s study of healthcare workers generating representations of mental illness which reflected their professional aspirations; Matt Smith’s examination of hyperactivity and food additives; John Stewart’s history of child guidance in Britain; Jim Mills uncovering of cannabis use in Britain; Arthur McIvor’s work on the miners’ disabilities and the reserved occupations; Oonagh Walsh’s research into Irish mental health and epigenetic change; and Janet Greenlees’ work on women’s occupational health and maternal health.

Eighty per cent of GCU’s history research impact is judged to be world-leading and internationally excellent, according to the recent Research Excellence Framework 2014.

As part of a programme of events to mark its tenth anniversary in 2015, the Centre is hosting a ‘Health History in Action’, Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM) Postgraduate Career Development Workshop at the University of Strathclyde between August 26 and 28. This will include a showcase of the best postgraduate research in the history of health and medicine field, career development workshops around the theme of ‘Health History in Action’, and related skills and networking sessions.

The Centre also brought together keynote speakers from the University of Auckland and the Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Zurich, for a two-day conference in June on a theme which has guided much of its research over the past decade and which was the title of its Wellcome Trust Enhancement Grant: ‘Health, Healthcare and Society: Environment, Markets, Lifecycle and Location’.

Dr Janet Greenlees, Deputy Director of the Centre, said: “Over the last ten years, the CSHHH Glasgow has built its reputation as experts in modern health history. Our June Conference was a rich event that allowed us to celebrate our research and international collaborations, as well as providing an opportunity to catch up with former colleagues and research partners and meet emerging scholars in our field. The strong collaboration between historians at GCU and Strathclyde means that we are looking forward to the next ten years.”