Andree Bagley

Aspects of Children's Medicine in the Roman Empire.

Investigating the differences between the medical treatment of infants and children and that of adults in the Roman world. Greco-Roman medical treatises and other literary genres, supplemented by archaeological evidence, are used in an attempt to reconstruct the nature of therapies available to non-adults. Additional questions are raised concerning ancient concepts of the pathophysiological differences between mature and immature individuals and how these influenced theoretical and practical aspects of the management of diseases occurring in the young.


Edward Cheetham

Midlands3Cities doctoral candidate

'Voluntary hospitals and healthcare communities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, 1900-1939'.

In this thesis, themes of identity, integration, specialization, connectivity and vitality will be explored in order to establish how provincial voluntary hospital networks operated in the decades before the introduction of the British welfare state. While previous studies have restricted themselves to the confines of cities, this investigation also considers the smaller towns and villages in these two counties, as well as the remote countryside, to gauge different aspects of pre-war healthcare that have not yet been thoroughly explored and explained. From the County Voluntary Hospitals Commission to local Saturday Committees, those administrative levels which facilitated the involvement of ordinary citizens in making healthier communities is a defining feature of this inquiry.'


Christine Gowing

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in British nursing practice, 1948-2000

Research project examining approximately fifty years of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and questions the extent to which nurses practised it in this period – and their rationale for doing so. Through interviews and archival material, the study examines the relationship between CAM and biomedicine from the earliest days of the NHS and considers CAM’s changing status in healthcare provision. It encompasses themes of regulation, terminology, professionalisation, autonomy, training, the effect of healthcare technology, ideas about the body, the therapeutic relationship and the zeitgeist of self-help and alternativism in the closing decades of the twentieth century.


Tom Harrison

The Ingrebourne Centre (1957 – 2002): The Vicissitudes of a Therapeutic Community during the second half of the Twentieth Century.

Since Homo Sapiens first lived communally, humans have struggled with the resulting exigencies of social interaction. Not every individual manages this satisfactorily, and in consequence many become labelled as mentally disordered, or criminal. Community based therapies attempt to resolve this disjunction. These approaches fly in the face of accepted traditional treatments, moving away from the standard dyadic expert/naïve-recipient model of care. They have had mixed fortunes during the past 70 years of their functioning, at present those in the National Health Service have virtually disappeared and many in the voluntary and private sector are under threat.

They are institutions that inspire great loyalty and enthusiasm from those who participate in them, and the recent closures have left many people concerned about the future of mental health care in this country. How valid is this? What are the reasons for their closure? What role have they played in influencing mental health care in general? These are all questions that underlie the present research which is into one particular institution near London.

The subject of this research, the Ingrebourne Centre, was set up, in Romford, Essex, as a therapy unit for people suffering from neurotic difficulties in 1957. The consultant psychiatrists in charge of the unit, Richard Crocket and Hamish Anderson, through the introduction of group methods enabled its rapid evolution into a therapeutic community. Some of the participants were instrumental in founding the Mental Patients Union. It continued in operation until 2002, and thus reflects the history of therapeutic communities in the UK as a whole.

Underlying the many definitions, and theories, concerning therapeutic communities there is a poorly recognised conflict between their role as social environments and their ‘therapeutic’ function. The aim is to try and understand the different challenges; both within and without, that initially enabled Ingrebourne’s development, and then led to its demise. By using this as an example it will be possible to draw some conclusions about similar units elsewhere.


Avril Ishmael

The Professional Identity of Lunatic Asylum Attendants 1840 – 1914: their influence on the cultural dimension of the institution

Within the history of British psychiatry, the evolution of mental nursing is an under-researched subject. Contemporaneous depictions of nineteenth-century asylum attendants were often negative, with the allegedly dissolute nature of their character and conduct often brought in to question. A number of historians have asserted that attendants were recruited from the lowest social groups, and that asylum work was seen as a temporary or ‘last resort’ occupation. However, despite attendants being of considerable interest for reasons of abuse or cruelty, the more nuanced aspects of their work, roles, and sense of professional identity remain a relatively hidden dimension. This thesis will introduce my current research on whether a ‘cultural agency’ existed among attendants. Focussing initially on Horton Road Asylum in Gloucester, I aim to explore the extent to which asylum workers participated in creating their own imaginative, influential and material worlds within the shared experience of the workplace. I intend to re-examine the previous histories of asylum work, by exploring the possibility that attendants possessed a discernible moral and compassionate dimension to their role, constituting a key aspect in humane patient care and recovery. 

Kathryn MacKay

An examination of public health anti-obesity campaigns: Are these campaigns ethical, and if not, could they be?

Governments and public health bodies discuss obesity in terms of being the latest great epidemic, a top contributor to early mortality, and a disease that must be cured. From this perspective, public health organizations around the world have spent the last decade attempting to educate the public about obesity and change behaviours thought to contribute to becoming obese. In my research, I analyse the ethics of the campaigns that these public health organizations have created, finding that many of them sacrifice ethical standards of truth-telling and respect in favour of quick, catchy, and manipulative messages. I also find that these messages utilize and contribute to the on-going discrimination, marginalization, and imperialization of the fat body, which amounts to a situation of oppression. The results of this oppression are observable in the lives of fat people, with research showing negative impacts upon career prospects, personal lives, and self-regarding attitudes. The impact upon important self-regarding attitudes that contribute to the capacity for self-governance and self-authorization ultimately means that fat individuals become less able and less likely to undertake the behavioural changes that public health encourages. In sum, campaigns that take the form of those examined in this project are unethical, and would have to change significantly to be ethically produced. Public health undermines its own work, while also worsening the health of some groups, in taking the approach to obesity that we have seen in the past five to ten years.


Georgina Morley

What is ‘moral distress’ in nursing and how should we respond to it?

Research on moral distress, largely concentrated in the United States, has found that moral distress causes clinicians to withdraw from the bedside, avoid patient contact, lose capacity to care, and ultimately leave the profession (Rushton 2006). Moral distress occurs when clinicians are unable to translate their moral choice into moral action and are prevented from doing so by internal or external constraints. This project uses a combination of empirical and philosophical methods to explore nurses’ experiences of moral distress and its meaning in context. The primary aim of the project is to build a better understanding of what moral distress means in the UK nursing context, and the secondary aim is to consider how it might be both prevented and managed.


Alex Wright

(2018) A Medicinal Dictionary 1743-1745: Robert James 1703-1776 and his contribution to lexicography

A Dr Robert James (1703-1776) was a school friend of Samuel Johnson and joined him in London in 1740. James wrote A Medicinal Dictionarywhich was published in three folio volumes between 1743 and 1745. The work has been described as “being the largest, most exhaustive and most learned medical dictionary written in English in pre-scientific days (Burr, 1928)” and also as a "Majestic Fossil" (Mark Twain, 1890). This project will assess the making and the contents of the dictionary, and explore its contributions to medical knowledge and terminology, and to the development of lexicography in the mid eighteenth century.