News and outreach

December 2018 

John Ash Lecture Sponsored by the Sir Arthur Thomson Trust

Title: 'A century of unexpected survivors: what the Great War has taught us about medicine and what we still need to learn'.

Guest Speaker: Dr Emily Mayhew, Imperial Lead, Paediatric Blast Injury Partnership (CBIS) and historian in Residence, Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London.

September 2018 

'History of Medicine and Health Development Seminar' 

On Thursday 27th September, two former intercalating students of the University of Birmingham presented the following:

Jessica Frost: 'Trials and Tribulations:Missionary Women and the Tropics, 1880-1940

Alex Baldwin:  'Mollie Lentaigne:The Nurse who drew McIndoe's Guinea Pigs; Exploring the Role of a Medical Artist at the Queen Victoria Hospital, 1940-1945'

June 2018

'Heritage of Women in Exploration' Expo

On Thursday 21st June, Vanessa Heggie spoke at the ‘Heritage of Women in Exploration’ Expo, held at the Royal Geographical Society in London. This was a public event to celebrate and rediscover the many women involved in scientific and adventure exploration. Vanessa talked about how she had discovered ‘hidden’ women involved in scientific expeditions in the twentieth century, and about the ways in which women’s work and contributions to both science and exploration can be obscured.


May 2018

SsiM researcher presents methodological work to the International Qualitative Methods Conference



Jonathan Mathers has just returned from the 16th International Qualitative Methods Conference in Canada which he attended to present insights from novel qualitative methodological work that he is currently leading.  Jonathan’s presentation (co-authored with Joanne Tarver) was entitled “The application of qualitative synthesis in quantitative health outcome research – a case study in burn treatment and rehabilitation.” The conference was attended by over 350 delegates from 27 different countries, focusing on the latest methodological innovations in qualitative research approaches.


April 2018 

SsiM researchers present to the British Burn Association Annual Scientific Meeting
Jonathan Mathers and Joanne Tarver recently presented work at the 51st meeting of the British Burn Association.  Jonathan presented the findings from qualitative research conducted with Burn patients in a presentation entitled “What outcomes matter most to burns patients during scar management: a qualitative research study.”  Joanne presented a poster from an ongoing systematic review of the qualitative burns literature – “What outcomes are important to burns patients and why? A qualitative synthesis.”  Both of these presentations relate to a theme of work examining the role of qualitative research methods in quantitative health outcomes research, led by Jonathan Mathers.

Call for abstracts for paper presentations 
Dr Anna Lavis is convening a panel at the Association of Social Anthropologists conference in Oxford in September 2018.  The panel is called ‘Food as medicine: biosocialities of eating in health and illness’ and the call for abstracts for paper presentations is now open, and closes on 20th April 2018.


January 2018


Alex Baldwin

Congratulations to Alex Baldwin, who intercalated with the team in the History of Medicine 2016-17. Alex has been selected as one of the Norah Schuster prize winners for 2018 following the submission of his essay entitled 'A study of the role and artwork of Archibald McIndoe's medical artist, Mollie Lentaigne, with comparison to other renowned medical illustrators'.  Alex's essay on Molly Lentaigne, an artist who worked with Archie McIndoe at East Grinstead during the Second World War and drew many of the cases treated at the pioneering surgical unit. Well done, Alex!


Professor Jonathan Reinarz is a Visiting Professor at Hiroshima University January-March 2018
Professor Jonathan Reinarz will be away on sabbatical from January-March 2018 researching the history of burns in Japan. During this period, Jonathan will be a Visiting Professor at Hiroshima University.

September 2017

 GP pic for SSiM

This article below which reports on our qualitative study was picked up by the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday 20th September 2017 and is now featured on the University website.

Cancer suspicion in general practice, urgent referral, and time to diagnosis: a population-based GP survey nested within a feasibility study using information technology to flag-up patients with symptoms of colorectal cancer. Elaine Kidney, Sheila Greenfield, Lindy Berkman, George Dowswell, William Hamilton, Sally Wood and Tom Marshall . BJGP Open 19 September 2017; BJGP-2016-0725.

Antje Lindenmeyer presenting

Antje Lindenmeyer presented at theGlobal Perspectives on Research Co-production conference hosted by the Centre of Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) and jointly organised by IRiS and the Social Equity Institute (University of Melbourne) at UoB on the 14th-15th September 2017. Antje delivered a presentation on an exploratory qualitative project involving community researchers in migrant health research.

August/September 201banners EAHMH 20177

Professor Jonathan Reinarz recently attended the biennial conference of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, which was held in Bucharest from 30 August-2 September 2017. Besides presenting some of his work on the history of burns with members of his research team, Jonathan was also elected the new President of the Association. As part of his two-year term of office (2017-2019), Jonathan will host the EAHMH conference in 2019; the theme of the conference will be ‘Sense and Nonsense’, more details to follow.

July 2017


On 20 July, members of the AHRC-funded Forged by Fire research team presented findings from the first year of their project in two separate public events. Project P-I Jonathan Reinarz presented a paper at the Royal College of Physicians, entitled ‘The history of burns and their treatment: an integrated story (1800-2000)’. The talk examined the emergence of multidisciplinary teams in the field of burns care, but also discussed the wider impact of iconic fires on emergency services and society more generally. Jonatha’s talk coincided with The Long View programme on Radio 4 in which the project’s Co-I, Shane Ewen (Leeds Beckett), discussed the similarities between the Grenfell Tower fire and Glasgow’s Watson Street Lodging House fire in 1905. The programme can be heard here.

SSiM qualitative researchers explore how patients with Ulcerative Colitis, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, adapt to life with the condition.

Christel McMullan and Jonathan Mathers (SSiM research group) have collaborated with local clinicians to deliver qualitative research that provides new insights into patients’ attempts to adapt to life with Ulcerative Colitis.  The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, was conducted as part of a clinical trial of a surgical intervention to treat the condition.  The work demonstrates that medical management of Ulcerative Colitis is only one of the ways that patients attempt to adapt to their condition.  It provides useful insights for healthcare professionals and patients about the ways that patients can attempt to address this chronic inflammatory condition. "Adapting to ulcerative colitis to try to live a ‘normal’ life: a qualitative study of patients’ experiences in the Midlands region of England" is available to download from the BMJ Open, August 2017. 

June 2017


Dr Rebecca Wynter (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) and Dr Leonard Smith (Honorary Senior Research Fellow) have co-edited a special issue of the BMJ imprint, Medical Humanities. The June issue is entitled 'Communicating Mental Health'. Its interdisciplinary papers - which are informed by subjects including history, visual culture, theatre studies, sociology, psychology and law - are drawn from a 2013 workshop of the same name, which took place here at the University and was supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies.


April 2017


Spring media blitz

Professor Jonathan Reinarz had several media appearances this spring, starting with an appearance on Made in Birmingham TV in April when he spoke about the recent rise in acid attacks in the midlands. He also discussed the intricacies of designating outdoor terraces at restaurants as non-smoking zones with a French-Canadian journalist. Download full article [Quebecois].

March 2017

Congratulations Isobel & Daisy

We are proud to announce that Isobel Toy, and Daisy Flanagan former Intercalation Students, have been awarded the 2016 SSHM Undergraduate Prize for the best undergraduate essays in the history of medicine.

Isobel’s essay is entitled, ‘Pawprints in the Hospital: The Emergence of Animal-Assisted Therapy 1796-1960', is summarised in a blog.

Daisy’s essay is entitled, ‘A “Cult of Productivity”: Treatment Regimes in the Colonial Maltese “Lunatic” Asylum, 1850-1900’

February 2017

The Greater Manchester Primary Care Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (Greater Manchester PSTRC) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). It has been awarded £6.7 million for the next 5 years. It is a unique and groundbreaking centre, with a strong patient and public involvement and engagement agenda. Ian Litchfield of Social Studies in Medicine (SSiM), University of Birmingham, will be involved in a number of projects exploring the safety implications of patients’ digital access to their healthcare data.

January 2017

On Thursday, 12 January 2017, Professor of the History of Medicine Jonathan Reinarz and Julia Hyland (a medical simulation artist) gave 90 children at Bournville Junior School, Birmingham some fascinating insight into the world and work of medical history as part of their Jobs January programme. Besides their own daily work, students heard about plague, infectious diseases in the Victorian period and the fire hazards of the kitchen. Some of the children were then provided an opportunity to ‘wear’ a disease or injury outside of the session and consider issues, such as stigma.

October 2016

Jonathan Reinarz recently appeared on the Naked Scientist on BBC Radio 5 Live, as part of activities organised to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.  In the podcast  Jonathan reflects on the emergence of the first hospitals, their role in education and their importance of hospitals to local communities.


June 2016

On 22 June, Jonathan Reinarz gave a talk on ‘The Life and Work of Dame Hilda Lloyd’ at the World Congress of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which was held in Birmingham. Hilda Lloyd was the first woman President of a royal medical college and a past President of the RCOG. This year marked the inauguration of a Hilda Lloyd Congress Medal, which will be presented annually to the three highest scoring conference abstracts.

Major funding awarded for SSiM-based team:

SSiM are delighted to announce that the project,‘Forged by Fire: Burns Injury and Identity in Britain,c.1800-2000’ Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Standard Grant.
From September 2016, a research team including Jonathan Reinarz (PI), Shane Ewen (Co-I; Leeds Beckett University) and Rebecca Wynter (RF), will draw together expertise from the history of medicine, the senses, psychological trauma, disability, emergency services, and urban history to investigate how burns have shaped individual, group and urban identity in three British urban centres: Birmingham, Glasgow and London.

Find our more about the four-year grant