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Matthew Smith

(He, him)
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 four monographs: An Alternative History of Hyperactivity: Food Additives and the Feingold Diet (Rutgers University Press, 2011); Hyperactive: The Controversial History of ADHD (Reaktion, 2012); 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, and The First Resort: The History of Social Psychiatry in the United States (Columbia University Press).

I am working on two projects at present. The first, funded by a Royal Society of Edinburgh small grant, is a history of hydrotherapy and mental health. I am also working on a Wellcome Trust Discovery Award application to research the history of community mental health in the United States.

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).

I have served as the Vice-Dean of Research for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS), 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 co-edit the Palsgrave book series 'Mental Health in Historical Perspective' with Prof Cathy Coleborne, have sat on Wellcome Trust funding panels and serve on the Peer Review College of the AHRC. I have also served as a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


  • 2011–present
    Professor of Health History, University of Strathclyde


  • 2009 
    University of Exeter, History/PhD