Photo of Prof Sally Sheard

Prof Sally Sheard BA PhD

Head of Department of Public Health and Policy & Andrew Geddes and John Rankin Professor of Modern History Public Health and Policy


Personal Statement

Sally Sheard is the Andrew Geddes and John Rankin Professor of Modern History, with an appointment divided between the Department of Public Health and Policy and the Department of History. She is a health and social policy historian, with a special interest in the interface between expert advisers and policymakers in the UK and international organisations. She is a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, leading a five year project (2015-2020): The Governance of Health: medical, economic and managerial expertise in Britain since 1948.
She is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics, linked to her 2013 book, The Passionate Economist: how Brian Abel-Smith shaped global health and social welfare (Bristol, 2013). She has also written on the history of hospitals, the finance of British medicine, the development of the NHS and medical education. She worked with Professor Sir Liam Donaldson (Chief Medical Officer, UK Department of Health 1999-2010) on a Nuffield Trust funded study, published as: S. Sheard and L. Donaldson, The Nation’s Doctor: the role of the Chief Medical Officer 1855-1998 (Oxford, 2006).

She has extensive experience of using history in public and policy engagement, and currently serves as a senior associate for History and Policy: She works with local health authorities and government organisations providing historical context for contemporary health policy issues, as a guest curator and adviser for National Museums Liverpool, and has written for and appeared in television and radio programmes, including the BBC 4 documentary series Health Before the NHS (2012).
To read more about Sally's latest research project, The Governance of Health: Medical, Economic and Managerial Expertise in Britain Since 1948, please visit the project web page.

Sally is Director for the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences of Health Medicine and Technology:

Personal Distinctions

  • 'Space, Place and (Waiting) Time: reflections on health policy and politics' (Keynote Speech, Associated Medical Services, Toronto 2017)
  • Visiting Scholar (Harvard University 2015)
  • 'Quacks, Clerks, Ministers and Spads: the governance of British health', keynote lecture (Keynote Speech, Society for Social History of Medicine 2014)
  • 'A Design for Life: James Newlands and the origins of the Borough Engineer', the Smeaton Lecture (Keynote Speech, Institution of Civil Engineers 2013)
  • 'A Creature of its Time: the British NHS', keynote lecture (Keynote Speech, Norwegian Directorate of Health and Norwegian Medical Society 2011)
  • Honorary Member (Faculty of Public Health 2009)
  • Visiting Senior Fellow (London School of Economics 2009)
  • 'The Rise of the Global Health Consultant', keynote lecture (Keynote Speech, World Health Organisation, Geneva 2008)
  • 'Health at the Gateway: historical risk management in port communities', keynote lecture (Keynote Speech, Institut Pasteur, Paris 2005)

Administrative Roles

  • Director of the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences of Health. Medicine and Technology
  • History of Medicine Director for the Undergraduate Medical Curriculum.

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