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Dr David Smith

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Allied Health and Social Care
Areas of Expertise:
Social Work and Social Policy
Research Supervision:

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.

[email protected]

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. He also recently received the Sam Aaronovitch Memorial Prize for Winning Paper 2018 for his paper 'Roma migration, anti-migration sentiment and social integration: a case study in south-east England' published in a special edition of Local Economy (2018) Vol. 33(2) pp.187-206.

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 (registered charity)
  • 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 (£1,800, 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).

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 Southeast 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, Southeast 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., Smith, D. (Eds.), 2018. Transnational Resilience and Change: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Strategies of Survival and Adaptation (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars).

Smith, D., 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’).

Edited Journal Collections

Casa-Nova. M., Smith, D. (Eds.), 2021. Journal of Contemporary European Studies special edition: mid term review of the national Roma integration strategies, 29(1).

Morell, I. A., Greenfields, M., Smith, D., 2018. Governing underprivileged Roma migrations within the EU: Receiving country responses and Roma resilience. Local Economy special edition, 33(2).

Journal Articles (2015-2020)

Smith, D., Gillin, N.. 2021. Filipino nurse migration to the UK: understanding migration choices from an ontological security-seeking perspective. Social Science and Medicine, 276. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113881

Casa-Nova, M. J., Smith, D., 2020. Introduction: Beyond Nation States? Journal of Contemporary European Studies special edition: mid term review of the national Roma integration strategies. doi: 10.1080/14782804.2020.1815680

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

Smith, D., Newton, P., Berlin, J., Barrett, S., 2020. A community approach to engaging Gypsy and Travellers in cancer services. Health Promotion International, 35(5), pp. 1094-1105 (published online 16 October 2019). doi: 10.1093/heapro/daz103

Lane, P., 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. doi: 10.1080/14782804.2019.1626226

Newton, P., Smith, D., 2019. Learning from Patients' Experiences: the case of Travellers and their experiences of using health services for skin complaints: commentary. British Journal of Dermatology, 180(6), pp. 1290-1291. doi: 10.1111/bjd.17913

Greenfields, M., 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, 1(1), pp. 5-34. doi: 10.17583/ijrs.2019.2957

Millan, M., 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, 16(379), pp. 1-13.

Smith, D., 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, 1(3), 555564.

Lane, P., Smith, D., 2018., Culture, ageing and the construction of pain. Geriatrics special issue: Ageing, A Multidisciplinary Perspective, 3(3), 40, pp. 1-13. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics3030040

Morell, I. A., Greenfields, M., Smith, D., 2018. Introduction: Governing underprivileged Roma migrations within the EU: Receiving country responses and Roma resilience. Local Economy special edition, 33(2), pp. 123-126.

Smith, D., 2018. Roma migration, anti-migrant sentiment and social integration: a case study in South-East England. Local Economy, 33(2), pp. 187-206. Winner Sam Aaronovitch Memorial Prize-Winning Paper 2018. doi: 10.1177/0269094218766456

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, 34, pp. 49-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2018.02.010

Smith, D., 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, 38, pp. 429-444 (published online 12th September 2017). doi: 10.1057/s41271-017-0091-y

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

Newton, D., 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 2017).

La Placa, V., 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, 4(9), pp. 87-96.

Smith, D., 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, 27(2), pp. 238-247 (published online 17 July 2016). doi: 10.1080/09581596.2016.1211254

Stewart, J., Smith, D., 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 15 July 2016).

Picker, G., Greenfields, M., Smith, D., 2015. Colonial refractions: The ‘Gypsy camp’ as a spatio-racial technology. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 19(5), pp. 741-752.

Smith, D., 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, 40-41, pp. 68-81.

Chapters (2015-2021)

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

Moreno, C., Smith, D., Spigner, C., 2017. Positive Ageing, Positive Dying: intersectional communication in palliative care with minority groups. In Docking, R., Stock, J. (Eds.), 2017. 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., Osman, N. (Eds.), 2016. Handbook of Research on the Impacts of International Business and Political Affairs on the Global Economy (Pennsylvania, USA: IGI Global).

Reports (2015-2021)

Lane, P., Spencer, S., Smith, D., McCready, M., Roddam, M., Codona, J., 2021. Saying it as it is: Experiences of Gypsies and Travellers caring for family members living with dementia. ARU: One Voice: DGLG.<

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

Newton, P., Dalton-O’Connor, A., 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., 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, Study on Access to Services for Residents with Migrant Backgrounds. EU/Interreg IV (AGIR).

Recent presentations and conferences

Greenfields, M; Smith, D. and Dagilyte, E., 2020. East European agricultural workers in the UK: what current and future challenges exist to post-Brexit incorporation into labour markets and communities?’ Social Dynamics: Inequalities, Integration, Mobility and Migration, Centre for Social Sciences, Budapest, 16 November.

Moreno, C. and Smith, D., 2020. The Learning Alliance in Palliative and End of Life Care’, Institute of Life-course Development, University of Greenwich, 20 October.

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

Smith, D., 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, 13 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, 15-17 August.

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

Smith, D., Leguizamon-Moreno, C., 2019. Ethnicity diversity and end of life. Positive Ageing Research Institute seminar, Anglia Ruskin University, 27 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, 14 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, 5-6 September.

Acton, T., 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, 29 June.

Smith, D., Newton, P., 2017. Debating the causal role of structure and culture: Gypsy Traveller and Roma parents' decisions surrounding the MMR vaccination in the UK. 2017 Annual Conference of the Gypsy Lore Society, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, 30 August-1 September.

Smith, D., 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, 26 May.

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, 28 April.

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

Smith, D., 2016. The UK Government's 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, 1-2 September.

La Placa, V., 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, 14-16 July.

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

Smith, D., 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, 5 February.

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, 5-6 October 5-6.

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, 10 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, 10 December.

Smith, D., 2019. Invited speaker at round table event on Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) communities in Higher Education, House of Lords, London, 10 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, 25-27 September.

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

Smith, D., 2018. Implementing Roma inclusion programmes: A case study from southeast England. Doctoral seminar programme, Faculty of Psychology and Education Science, University of Porto, Portugal, 14 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, 24-25 May.

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

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

Smith, D., 2016. Invited Speaker, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion Project End Conference, Vienna, Austria, 1-2 December.

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

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

Media experience

Smith, D., Gillin, D., 2021. Overseas Nursing Recruitment Activities of NHS Trusts. Faculti Interview, 21 May.

Smith. D., 2018. Interview re: Filipino nurse migration. BBC Radio Essex Drive Time Dave Monk show 17 June.