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Dr Angus Ferguson
College of Social Sciences Research Fellow
With an interdisciplinary background in Economic and Social History, Philosophy, and Computing, Angus developed a research focus in the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities during postgraduate studies at the University of Glasgow. His PhD, funded by the ESRC, examined the evolution of medical confidentiality in Britain from the Duchess of Kingston’s trial in 1776 until the mid-C20th.
Angus subsequently worked as a researcher on two projects funded as part of a Wellcome Trust enhancement award to the Centre for the History of Medicine. The first examined infant health and nutrition in the early part of the C20th, focusing in particular on the establishment of municipal infant milk depots. The second project examined the history of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), contextualising and analysing its medicalization in the latter half of the C20th. From 2009-2012, Angus was an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Law.
In 2012, he was appointed as Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellow in Social Sciences. During this 3-year Fellowship Angus resumed research on the history of medical confidentiality, publishing a number of book chapters, articles and a monograph on the topic. In 2014 he organised an international interdisciplinary symposium at the University of Glasgow ‘Medical Confidentiality and Privacy: Past, Present and Future’, with financial support from the Wellcome Trust. Several papers from the symposium were published in a special edition of the Journal of Medical Law and Ethics in 2015. In addition to his current role as Research Fellow in the College of Social Sciences, Angus is also an Associate Academic of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing.
Beyond university, Angus has held a number of relevant external appointments. Most recently, he served as a member of the Privacy Advisory Committee (National Services Scotland) 2014-15. In 2015 he was appointed as a member of the Public Benefit and Privacy Panel (NHS Scotland).
Research and Teaching Interests
I have a longstanding research interest in examining evolving understandings of confidentiality, privacy and information sharing in healthcare and research. In addition to distilling the theoretical approaches and core principles underpinning key developments in the past, my work also highlights the ways in which policy and practice on these issues have been shaped by more pragmatic concerns and contingent events.
My initial work on this topic detailed the evolution of medical confidentiality and privacy in Britain since the late C18th. Outputs from this work included a monograph Should a doctor tell? The evolution of medical confidentiality in Britain, published in Ashgate’s Medical Law and Ethics series, as well as several other articles and chapters in edited volumes.
My current work focuses on developing relevant international comparisons. For example, in 2015 I spent time in Wellington and Auckland, undertaking research on medical confidentiality and privacy in New Zealand. As a recipient of the College of Social Sciences Research Fellowship at Columbia University (2015/16), I am developing collaborative research analysing transatlantic approaches to these issues.
Other relevant research interests include: infant health (SIDS, infant and child nutrition); medical law and ethics; framing disease.
- College of Social Sciences, School of Social and Political Sciences