Dr David Smith


Faculty:Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care

School:Education and Social Care

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Social Work and Social Policy

Research Supervision:Yes

David's area of expertise includes social theory, social and health inequalities; health beliefs and practices; neighbourhoods, communities and social relations; Gypsies Roma and Travellers; internationalisation of the healthcare workforce.


ResearchGate profile


David’s main interest is social and health inequalities and the development, implementation and impact of policies to address these. His PhD examined the impact of labour market restructuring and welfare reforms on residents of a south London housing estate. He has expertise in community-based research, working class communities and Gypsies Roma and Travellers particularly with regard to the impacts of settlement in housing. In 2013 he published, with Professor Margaret Greenfields the first in depth study of this in Gypsies and Travellers in housing.

He has worked on the reasons for low MMR uptake in Gypsy and Traveller children; lay beliefs and practices around cancer in those communities and attitudes and experiences of palliative and end of life care in BME groups. From 2012 until 2016 he was Country Coordinator for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion and since 2014 has been a member of the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs Scientific Committee of the PDP 4 Integrated Approach for Prevention of Victimization in Roma Communities.

His first monograph On the Margins of Inclusion won the 2006 Social Policy Association Prize for Best New Publication. In 2018 he won (with Dr. Zoe James University of Plymouth) the Emerald Literati Award for Outstanding Paper and he was recently awarded the Sam Aaronovitch Memorial Prize for Winning Paper 2018.

Research interests

  • Social divisions and exclusion
  • Social class and class cultures
  • Class, ethnicity and health
  • Health beliefs and practices
  • Childhood immunization
  • Social theory
  • Gypsies, Roma and Travellers
  • Internationalisation of the healthcare workforce (particular focusing on the Philippines)
  • Collaborative approaches to social research

Areas of research supervision

  • Gypsies Roma and Travellers
  • Working class communities
  • Work and labour studies
  • Health inequalities
  • Culture and health
  • Migration studies
  • Nurse/ healthcare workforce migration
  • Qualitative and ethnographic research
  • Participatory approaches to health development


Social theory, sociology of health and illness, community and wellbeing, social divisions and exclusion, qualitative and ethnographic methods, collaborative approaches to health promotion, political economy of health, historical and contemporary social policy, social structure of contemporary Britain, social movements and social change, political sociology.


  • Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (Higher Education) Canterbury Christ Church University, 2010, 2:1
  • PhD Social Policy, Royal Holloway College, University of London 2003
  • BA (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy, Royal Holloway College, 1996, 1st class
  • Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Trinity College London, 1996, 2:1

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Editorial Board Member of Romani Studies
  • Advisory Board Member The Traveller Movement
  • Trustee Medway Plus
  • European Academic Network on Romani Studies, (Member)
  • Working Class Studies Association (Member)
  • Social Policy Association (Member)
  • Network of Academic Institutions in Romani Studies (Institutional Representative)
  • Gypsy Lore Society (member)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

2019, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grant, Collaboration with the World Health Organisation Kobe Centre Japan on community based approaches to early dementia detection (£1800, Visiting Researcher tba)

2019, Anglia Ruskin FHEMSC Seed Corn Funding, Caring for Dementia in Gypsy and Traveller communities in the UK (£3,368 Principal-Investigator, February-July 2019)

2018, Romini Centre Wisbech Controlling Migration Fund, Migrant Workers Mapping Project (£30,000 Co-Investigator, September 2018-September 2019)

2018, Health Education England Kent Surrey Sussex End of Life Care Programme, Learning Alliance Palliative and End of Life Care Phase Two (£16,000 Co-Principal Investigator, August 2018-July 2019)

2018, Sociology of Health and Illness Grant Development Award, UK/Philippines Migrant Nurse Research Network (£4,870 Principal Investigator, July 2018-July 2019)

2017-2018 EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Roma and Travellers Survey (£11,050 Senior Survey Consultant, January 2018 – August 2019)

2017-2018 Medway Council Controlling Migration Fund, Community Plus Project (£30,000 Academic Lead, February 2018-August 2020).

2016-2017 Health Education England Kent Surrey Sussex End of Life Care Programme, Learning Alliance Palliative and End of Life Care (£35,660 Co-Principal Investigator, January 2017-July 2018)

2015-2016, University of Greenwich Faculty of Education and Health REF Funds 2015-16, Exploring lay understandings of cancer in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities (£8,042 Principal Investigator, October 2015-July 2016)

2014-2015, Health Education Kent Surrey Sussex (HEKSS), End of Life Practices and Palliative Care among Black and Minority Ethnic Groups (£51,065 Co-Principal Investigator, April 2014-May 2015)

2013-2016, EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion (£26,400 UK Country Coordinator) see http://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/leri_community_summary_-_medway_-_united_kingdom_-_en.pdf

2014-2015, RAE Competitive Investment Round Research and Enterprise Investment Programme 2013/14, Barriers and Facilitators to the uptake of immunisation in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities in Kent and South East London (£6,967 Co-Investigator, January-July 2014)

2013-2015, Health Education Kent Surrey Sussex (HEKSS), Evaluation of LETB/HEKSS Phase 1 and how it is achieving its vision (£56,235 Principal Investigator, April 2013-April 2014)

2009-2010, South East Coastal Communities Grant, Travellers Health Project (£10,200 Co-Investigator, September 2009-March 2011)

2008-2009, Amacus Housing Sittingbourne Gypsy/Traveller Survey (£18,500 Principal Investigator, January 2008-January 2009)

Selected recent publications


Allen, D., Greenfields, M. and Smith, D. (Eds.) Transnational Resilience and Change: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Strategies of Survival and Adaptation, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars (for publication September 2018)

Smith, D., and Greenfields, M., 2013. Gypsies and Travellers in Housing: The decline of nomadism, Bristol: Policy Press

Smith, D., 2005. On the Margins of Inclusion: changing labour markets and social exclusion in London, Bristol: Policy Press (winner 2006 Social Policy Association Prize for ‘Best New Publication’)

Journal Articles (2015-2020)

Gillin, N. and Smith, D. 2020. Overseas recruitment activities of NHS Trusts 2015 – 2018: Findings from FOI requests to 19 Acute NHS Trusts in England’ Nursing Inquiry, Vol. 27, Issue 1, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1111/nin.12320

Smith, D., Newton, P., Berlin, J., Barrett, S. 2019. A community approach to engaging Gypsy and Travellers’ in cancer services’ Health Promotion International, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daz103

Lane, P. and Smith, D. 2019. Mid-term review: UK Roma national integration strategy: Roma at the intersection of ethnic-inclusive, post-racial and hyper-ethnic policies’, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/14782804.2019.1626226

Newton, P. and Smith, D. 2019. Learning from Patient’s experiences: the case of Travellers and their experiences of using health services for skin complaints: commentary’, British Journal of Dermatology, Vol. 180, Issue 6, pp.1290-1291, https://doi: 10.1111/bjd.17913

Greenfields, M. and Smith, D. 2019. Nothing new under the Sun: Romany Gypsies, travellers and their entwined historical relationship with working-class London communities’, International Journal of Roma Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (March), pp. 5-34, http://dx.doi.org/10.17583/ijrs.2019.2957

Millan, M. and Smith, D. 2019. A Comparative sociology of Gypsy Traveller health in the UK’ International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health special edition: The health of marginalized populations, Vol. 16, No. 379, pp. 1-13, https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/3/379/htm

Smith, D. and Leguizamon, C. 2019. Engaging Black and Minority (BME) elders in palliative care innovation through the Learning Alliance in Palliative and End of Life Care (LAPCEL) methodology’ Palliative Medicine and Care International Journal, Vol. 1, Issue 3, https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/704003/6/Smith_D_2019.pdf

Lane, P. and Smith, D. 2018. Culture, ageing and the construction of pain’ Geriatrics Special Issue ‘Ageing, A Multidisciplinary Perspective, Vol. 3, No. 3, 40, pp. 1-13, DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics3030040

Morell, I. A.; Greenfields, M. and Smith, D. 2018 Introduction: Governing underprivileged Roma migrations within the EU: Receiving country responses and Roma resilience, Special Edition Local Economy, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 123-126.

Smith, D. 2018. Roma migration, anti-migrant sentiment and social integration: a case study in South-East England’, Local Economy, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 187-206. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0269094218766456 Winner Sam Aaronovitch Memorial Prize Winning Paper 2018

Berlin, J., Smith, D., Newton, P. 2018. ‘It’s because it’s cancer not because you’re a Traveller’ – exploring lay understandings of cancer in English Romany Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities, European Journal of Oncology Nursing, Vol. 34, June, pp. 49-54, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2018.02.010

Smith, D., and Acton, T., 2017. The campaign for a National Strategy for Gypsy site provision and the role of Public Health activism in the 1960s-1970s, Journal of Public Health Policy, published online 12th September, https://doi.org/10.1057/s41271-017-0091-y

James, Z., and Smith, D., 2017. Roma inclusion post-Brexit: a challenge to existing rhetoric, Safer Communities: A journal of practice, opinion, policy and research, Vol. 16, Issue 4, published online 28th September, DOI: 10.1108/ SC-06-2017-0022

Newton, D., and Smith, D., 2017. Factors influencing uptake of Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) immunisation in site-dwelling Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities: A qualitative study of GRT parents’ beliefs and experiences, Child: Care, Health and Development published online 7 March: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cch.12453/abstract

La Placa, V., and Smith, D., 2016. The health and wellbeing of Gypsies and Travellers in settled housing: a narrative review of the evidence and policy, International Journal of Social Science Studies, Vol. 4, No. 9 (September), pp. 87-96.

Smith, D., and Newton, P., 2016. Structural barriers to measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation uptake in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the United Kingdom, Critical Public Health published online 17 July: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09581596.2016.1211254.

Stewart, J., Smith, D., and Gritton, J., 2016. A public health history of a forgotten corner of Kent: the Isle of Sheppey, Environmental Health Research Network (EHRN): Occasional Paper No.3 published online: https://ukehrnet.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/the-isle-of-sheppey-a-unique-place/

Picker, G., Greenfields, M., and Smith, D., 2015. Colonial refractions: The ‘Gypsy camp’ as a spatio-racial technology, City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 741-752.

Smith, D., and Greenfields, M., 2015. Resisting Assimilation: survival and adaptation to ‘alien’ accommodation forms: the case of British Gypsy/Travellers in housing’ Today’s Children Tomorrow’s Parents: an interdisciplinary journal, No.40-41, June, pp.68-81.

Smith, D., and Ruston, A.M., 2013. If you feel that nobody wants you you’ll withdraw into your own’ Gypsy/Travellers, networks and health care utilisation Sociology of Health and Illness, Vol. 35, Issue 8, pp. 1196-1210

Ruston, A.M., and Smith, D., 2013. Gypsies/Travellers and health: risk categorization versus being ‘at risk, Health, Risk and Society Vol. 15, Issue 2, April, pp. 176-193

Smith, D., and Greenfields, M., 2012. Housed Gypsies and Travellers: ethnicity exclusion and adaptation, Race and Class Vol. 53, No. 3, pp. 48-64

Chapters (2015-2020)

Smith, D., and Moreno, C. 2017. Learning Alliance approaches to working with minority communities on health care innovation, in Craig, G., (ed.) ‘Race’, ethnicity and community development, Bristol: Policy Press.

Moreno, C., Smith, D., and Spigner, C., 2017. Positive Ageing, Positive Dying: intersectional communication in palliative care with minority groups, in Docking, R., and Stock, J., (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Positive Ageing, London: Routledge. 

Smith, D., 2016. The political context of migration in the UK: the case of Roma Gypsies in 

Zakaria, N. Abdul-Talib, A. and Osman, N. (2016) (eds.) Handbook of Research on the Impacts of International Business and Political Affairs on the Global Economy, Pennsylvania, USA: IGI Global.

Smith, D., 2014. Roma migrants, the EU and the politics of integration in the UK, in Eby Hara, A. and Taya, S. L. (eds.) Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on International Studies (ICIS) 2014: Globalization and Nation States, Malaysia: School of International Studies: Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

Smith, D., and Greenfields, M., 2014. The wellbeing of Gypsies and Travellers, in Knight, A; La Placa, V., and McNaught, A., (eds.) Wellbeing: Policy and Practice, Cheltenham, Lantern

Smith, D., 2013. The Decline of Nomadism: spatial management and enforced settlement of gypsy/travelers in the UK, in Swiss-Romanian Cooperation Programme, ISI Conference Proceedings: The Fourth International Conference Psychological-Social Perspectives in the Quasi-Coercive Treatment of Offenders: Social Control and Vulnerable Groups, Medimond International Proceedings.

Reports (2015-2020)

Greenfields, M; Smith, D; Dagilyte, E. with Ramadam, S. and Bright, J. 2019. The Impact of Migration in the Fenland area: A scoping report, Rosmini Centre, Wisbech.

Newton, P., Dalton-O’Connor, A. and Smith, D. 2018. Evaluation of the ‘Rotational-Post End of Life Care, Cancer and Care of the Elderly’ Project, Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice

Smith, D; Moreno-Leguizamon, C. and Grohmann, S. 2015. Palliative Care and End of Life Practices in Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Groups, Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex (HEKSS).

Smith, D. 2015. Introduction in Study on Access to Services for Residents with Migrant Backgrounds, EU/Interreg IV (AGIR).

Recent presentations and conferences

Smith, D. and Gillin, N. (2019) ‘Cultures of Migration? Factors shaping the migratory decisions of Filipino nurses working in the NHS’ Anglia Ruskin University, 12th November.

Smith, D. and Gillin, N. (2019) ‘Nurse migration from the Philippines to the UK: A Pilot Study’, 6th Annual Faculty of Health Education and Medicine and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University 13th September.

Smith, D. (2019) ‘‘Roma means nothing round here…we’re all classed the same’: Neighbourhood, diversity and the potential for collective action in south-east England’, 2019 Annual Conference of the Gypsy Lore Society, University of Iceland, Reyjavik, August 15-17th.

Smith, D. (2019) ‘Historical and contemporary overview of the global refugee situation’, World Refugee Day SIREE Event, University of Greenwich, 20th June.

Smith, D. and Leguizamon-Moreno, C. (2019) ‘Ethnicity diversity and end of life’, Positive Ageing Research Institute seminar, Anglia Ruskin University, 27th March.

Smith, D. (2018) ‘Learning alliance approaches to working with minority communities on health care innovation’, 5th Annual Faculty of Health Education and Medicine and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University 14th September.

Smith, D. (2018) ‘Roma migrants and the white working class: the interface between anti-migrant sentiment ‘super-diversity’ and neighbourhood decline in south-east England’, RN31 Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism Mid-Term Conference: European Sociological Association, University of Ferrara, Italy, September 5-6th.

Acton, T. and Smith, D. (2018) ‘The campaign for a national strategy for Gypsy site provision and the role of Public health activism in the 1960s-1970s’, Publics and their Health conference, Institute of Historical Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 29th June.

Smith, D. and Newton, P. (2017) ‘Debating the causal role of structure and culture: Gypsy Traveller and Roma parent’s decisions surrounding the MMR vaccination in the UK’, 2017 Annual Conference of the Gypsy Lore Society, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, 30th August-1st September

Smith, D. and Sidorenko, E. (2017) ‘The impact of Brexit on Polish community members living in London: An exploratory pilot project’, Applied Sociology Research Group: Brexit and Boundaries in the Barrios, University of Greenwich, May 26th

Smith, D. (2017) ‘Inequalities in access to palliative and end of life care in findings from Learning Alliance in Palliative Care and End of Life (LAPCEL) feasibility study in Medway and Swale’, Working with and for Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people: how to engage in palliative and end of life care services, University of Greenwich LAPCEL conference, April 28th.

James, Z. and Smith, D. (2017) ‘Roma Inclusion Post-Brexit: A challenge to existing rhetoric’ Brexit Criminology: Crime, Justice and Society, University of Plymouth, UK, April 5th.

Smith, D. (2016) ‘The UK Governments National Strategy for Roma Inclusion and the politics of integration in the UK’ RN31 Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism Mid-Term Conference: European Sociological Association, University of Warsaw, Poland, September 1-2nd.

La Placa, V. and Smith, D. (2016) ‘The Health and Wellbeing of Gypsies and Travellers in Settled Housing’ 3rd International Conference on Humanity and Social Sciences (ICHSS), Rome, Italy, July 14-16th.

Smith, D. and Greenfields, M. (2016) ‘Gypsies, Travellers and working-class formation and identity in London’, How Class Works 2016, State University of New York, USA June 9-11th.

Smith, D. and Newton, P. (2016) ‘Qualitative Methods and Health: Factors influencing uptake of MMR vaccine in site-dwelling Gypsies and Travellers’ New Perspectives on Researching Social Inequality, Kingston University, London, February 5th.

Smith, D. (2015) ‘Settlement patterns, housing careers and accommodation-related experiences of Roma migrants in the UK’ Communicating with States: “Underprivileged” Migrations within the European Union, Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden, October 5-6th.

Invited and Keynote speaker (2015-2020)

Smith, D. (2019) Invited Speaker at Roundtable Meeting on access to Higher Education for members of Gypsy Traveller and Roma Communities, 10th September.

Smith, D. (2019) ‘The Development of Human Rights’, Human Rights Day Event Social Integration of Refugees through Education and Self-Employment (SIREE), St. George’s Centre, Chatham, Kent 10th December.

Smith, D. (2019) Invited speaker at Round table event on Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) communities in Higher Education, House of Lords, London, 10th September.

Smith, D. (2018) Keynote speaker, Network of Academic Institutions in Romani Studies (NAIRs), Summer School for PhD students, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), SÖdertÖn University, Stockholm, Sweden, 25-27th September.

Smith, D. (2018) ‘The LERI project in Chatham Kent’, Community Plus Integration Event, Corn Exchange Rochester, Kent 3rd July.

Smith, D. (2018) ‘Implementing Roma inclusion programmes: A case study from South East England’, Doctoral seminar programme, Faculty of Psychology and Education Science, University of Porto, Portugal, 14th June.

Smith, D. (2018) ‘A comparative sociology of Gypsy Traveller health in the UK’, Invited speaker, Critical Approaches to Romani Studies Conference, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, May 24-25th

Smith, D. (2017) ‘Ethnicity, class and social relations in post-Brexit UK: a case study in south east England’, Guest speaker, Department of Social Sciences for Education, University of Minho, Portugal, 13th June.

Smith, D. (2016) Keynote speaker, International Conference, ‘Preventing Victimisation in Vulnerable Communities’, Institute of National Economy-Romanian Academy and the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police, Bucharest, Romania, December 7-9th .

Smith, D. (2016) Invited Speaker, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion Project end conference, Vienna, Austria December 1-2nd.

Smith, D. (2016) Invited Speaker, International Workshop Project PDP4 Integrated Approach for preventing victimization in Roma communities, Romania Ministry of Internal Affairs, Bucharest, Romania March 24-25th.

Smith, D. (2015) UK Scientific Expert, EU/Interreg IV A Manche’ Programme Action to Generate Inclusion for Residents of migrant background (AGIR) Amiens, France, March 23rd.