Health, Heredity and the Environment 1850–2000

In October 2003 the Centre for Medical History successfully secured Wellcome Trust funding for a five year project: 'Health, Heredity and Environment, 1850–2000', which enabled designated strands of research that have explored the impact of environmental and occupational conditions on respiratory health, the determinants and outcomes of mental health practices and policies, and the role of family and gender in shaping expectations and experiences of health and illness. These strands have not only resulted in discrete research projects but provided the basis for the evolution of new strategic themes and funding. Research on health and environment, for example, generated a successful application for an expansive Wellcome Trust Research Programme Grant on 'The History of Stress: medical research and contested knowledge in the twentieth-century'.

Engagement with professionals beyond the University, notably the MET office, Devon Records Office and the Devon and Exeter Medical Society have resulted in innovative research projects and created opportunities for imaginative outreach activities engaging with school pupils, medical students and the wider public. Centre staff have also been closely involved in developing Medical History nationally and internationally.

The Centre's primary objective is to build on this expertise, and pursue and promote innovative historical research that explores the manner in which medical knowledge and practice have been variably constructed, contested and disseminated in the past.