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Professor Matt Smith

Professor of Health History
I am originally from Edmonton, Alberta, where I completed BA, BEd and MA degrees at the University of Alberta.  After working as a youth counsellor and career advisor, I undertook Wellcome Trust-funded doctoral studies at the University of Exeter, where I researched the history of the Feingold diet for ADHD.  After my viva in 2009, I took up a Wellcome Trust Fellowship to research the history of food allergy.  In 2011, I accepted a lectureship at the University of Strathclyde, and became part of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH).  While at Strathclyde, I’ve served as Director of Research for History, Co-Director of CSHHH, Deputy Head of the School of Humanities and, most recently Vice Dean Research for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.  I’ve also served on the Executive Committee of the Society for the Social History of Medicine and been a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland.  With Cathy Coleborne, I co-edit the Palgrave book series, Mental Health in Historical Perspective.

Research and Teaching Interests

My research has gravitated towards controversial areas of health and medicine, including psychiatry and mental health, allergy and immunology, food and nutrition and child health.  In particular, I have explored the history of ADHD, food additives, food allergy, social psychiatry, deinstitutionalisation and sport and mental health.  This research has resulted in three monographs and three edited volumes, along with a special issue of Palgrave Communications.  I have supervised doctoral projects on a range of historical subjects, including acne, diabetes, juvenile delinquency and animals and allergy, and have supported my students in winning funding for their research.  In addition to archival records, medical literature and media sources, I am an experienced oral historian and a member of the Scottish Oral History Centre.


Currently, I am writing a monograph based on my AHRC-funded research on the history of social psychiatry.  My work on social psychiatry drew me to the idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI), and I regularly lecture on the possible link between UBI and preventive mental health. In future, I hope to research the history of hydrotherapy in psychiatric practice.


AllergyFood & NutritionMental HealthPreventionPsychiatry