Professor in Health History, University of Strathclyde

I joined the University of Strathclyde and the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) in 2011, after completing a PhD and post-doctoral work at the University of Exeter's Centre for Medical History. My research and teaching have focussed on three primary areas within the history of health and medicine: mental health and psychiatry; allergy and immunology; and food and nutrition. Thanks to generous funding from the Wellcome Trust, this research has resulted in three monographs: An Alternative History of Hyperactivity: Food Additives and the Feingold Diet (Rutgers University Press, 2011); Hyperactive: The Controversial History of ADHD (Reaktion, 2012); and Another Person's Poison: A History of Food Allergy (Columbia University Press, 2015), which was reviewed in the New York Times and recently given honourable mention in the Association of American Publishers' Prose Awards for 2016.

I am working on two projects at present. The first, funded by an AHRC Early Career Fellowship, is on the history of social psychiatry in the United States. I investigate how American psychiatrists and social scientists viewed the connection between mental illness and social deprivation during the decades that followed the Second World War. This funding has contributed to the edited volume, Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in the Western World, which I co-edited with Dr Despo Kritsotaki and Dr Vicky Long, and will be published in the Palgrave series I co-edit with Catharine Coleborne, Mental Health in Historical Perspective. The three of us, along with Prof Oonagh Walsh are working on a second edited volume, Preventing Mental Illness: Past Present and Future for the same series. I am also in the process of developing a monograph on the history of social psychiatry.

My second project, 'Out on the Pitch: Sexuality and Mental Health in Men's and Women's Sport, 1970-Present' is funded by a Wellcome Trust Seed Award. I hope to develop this project into a larger project on sport on mental health with historian Dr Ali Haggett, sociologist Dr Mark Doidge and Dr Daniel Callwood, who is the researcher for the Seed Award project.

I believe strongly that historical research can have a significant impact on public policy and decision making. As such, I have tried to engage with the public as much as I can through broadcasting, public lecturing, blogging and speaking to health and education professionals. My efforts in these areas were enhanced in 2012 when I was named an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker. I have written for medical publications, such as The Lancet and the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), presented my research to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and work closely with a range of medical and educational professionals. Recently, my book Hyperactive was used by novelist William Sutcliffe as inspiration and research for his novel Concentr8 (Bloomsbury, 2015).

Currently, I serve as the Vice-Dean of Research for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS). Previously, I served as Co-Director of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare, the Director of Research for History and Deputy Head of the School of Humanities. I edit book reviews for History of Psychiatry, have sat on Wellcome Trust funding panels and serve on the Peer Review College of the AHRC, for whom I am a Leadership Fellow. I am also a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland and a Fellow of the RSA and the Royal Historical Society.

Experience

  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in History, Strathclyde University

Education

  • 2009 
    University of Exeter, History/PhD

Honours

FRSA; FRHistS