Policy engagement

The Centre’s location in a School of public health aids interaction with policy making circles and those keen to ‘learn from experience’. We have worked with policy makers in a range of different ways, including contributing to parliamentary committees and other official enquiries, running events with policy makers and think-tanks, and informal discussions. We have produced policy briefings with SPHR@L, Policy Research Unit in Policy Innovation Research (PIRU) and History and Policy. Other activities include:

Arts and humanities for good public health

In partnership with the UK Faculty of Public Health we hosted a roundtable in January 2024, addressing the importance of the arts and humanities within public health education and training. Speakers included Lise Saffran (Missouri), Carla Tsampiras (Cape Town), Sridhar Venkatapurum (KCL), and Rebecca Garden (SUNY Upstate), and hundreds of public health practitioners, researchers, and students were in attendance. You can watch a recording of the webinar here:

Challenges for a world where drugs are legally regulated

Challenges for a world where drugs are legally regulated

In September 2019, Transform Drug Policy Foundation and St George’s House convened a meeting of international experts on drug policy to discuss a scenario that many people feel may be edging closer to realisation: a world in which currently illicit drugs are legally regulated. This event provided an opportunity to discuss candidly the challenges and opportunities of this potential reality. Transform is a leading global advocate for the legal regulation of drugs.

ACMD Report on Ageing Cohort of Drug Users June 2019

ACMD Report on Ageing Cohort of Drug Users June 2019

Drug Policy Inquiry

Oral Evidence submitted to the Drug Policy Inquiry of the Health and Social Care Committee by Susanne MacGregor

Written evidence submitted by the Centre for History in Public Health to the Drug Policy Inquiry of the Health and Social Care Committee (Susanne MacGregor, Virginia Berridge, Alex Mold).

Health research policy in England: Past lessons, future directions

This seminar was organised by HSR UK (the membership organisation health services researchers) and held in London on 9 May 2018. Dr Stephen Davies, Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for History in Public Health, presented his doctoral research on the health department’s research and development programme, 1961 to 1986. This was followed by a presentation by Dr Paul Atkinson, University of Liverpool, on the origins and development of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The history set the scene for a discussion about the future direction of health policy, which was further informed by a presentation from NIHR. Participants represented the Department of Health and Social Care/NIHR, NIHR programmes and co-ordinating centres, Public Health England, The Nuffield Trust, HSR UK, Universities UK, The Wellcome Trust, and Academic Health Science Networks.

Stephen Davies’ background briefing paper. The discussion about future policy was held under Chatham House rules. HSR UK may publish a report for wider discussion in due course.

Devolution and transformation in the NHS: What can we learn from history?

Organised by the Centre for History in Public Health and the Institute of Public Policy Research, with support from the Wellcome Trust, this symposium on May 9 2017 brought together historians and policy makers to ask what we can learn from 20th century British history about the decentralisation of health powers and the local reform agenda.

Healthier life for all - The case for cross-government action

Virginia Berridge and Alex Mold provided the essay ‘Regulation and Culture: Learning from the history of smoking and alcohol’ to the All Party Parliamentary Health Group and the Health Foundation on their session Healthier Life for All: The Case For Cross-Government Action in July 2016.

History, health and policy seminars

We ran a series of Health History and Policy invited seminars jointly with the Manchester Wellcome Centre. Policy briefings published from these are:

Policy Pilots and Evaluation April 2013. Please click here for the Policy Pilots Report.

Local and National Alcohol Policy 2014. A further seminar on alcohol policy was held in June 2014 and the briefing is now available. The Local and National Alcohol Policy Report is now available.

The History Manifesto

Virginia Berridge’s review of Jo Guldi and David Armitage, The History Manifesto,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014 is now available.

History and Policy Network

History and Policy Network website

Papers by Centre members include:

Martin Gorsky, Coalition policy towards the NHS: past contexts and current trajectories, January 2011

Virginia Berridge, Smoking and the sea change in public health, 1945-2007, June 2007

Virginia Berridge, Current and future alcohol policy: the relevance of history, February 2006

Martin Gorsky, Hospital governance and community involvement in Britain: evidence from before the National Health Service, February 2006

Jimmy Savile Investigations

As part of the NHS and Department of Health investigations into matters relating to Jimmy Savile, historians gave historical evidence at a special forum at King’s College London. More details of Centre members involvement in the forum is here.

The report Themes and lessons learnt from NHS investigations in to matters relating to Jimmy Savile is now available. Martin Gorsky and Alex Mold are cited in Chapter 7.

Alex Mold’s work was cited in this report by the NHS.

Witness Seminars

Our programme of witness seminars also contributes to policy. Learn more about what they are and access our archives here.