Tania Smith photo

Dr. Tania Smith

Pronouns: she, her

Contact information

Phone number

Office (and voice mail): 403.220.7774


Office: SS302

For media enquiries, contact


Preferred method of communication

Email preferred


Educational Background

PhD English (Rhetoric & Composition), Ohio State University, 2002

MA English, University of Alberta, 1995

BA Honours English, University of Alberta, 1994


Participation in university strategic initiatives


The rhetoric of thyroid science

This research project examines the rhetorical strategies involved in thyroid science and its application to medical practice.

By examining thyroid science and thyroid medical discourse as communication, one can understand the history and pitfalls of reasoning and argumentation in this field. It may help us to move forward more productively in areas of thyroid controversy, and areas in which healthy debate is absent because dogma overrules critical thinking and inquiry. Such areas include:

  • the algorithms for thyroid laboratory testing that are often used to cancel tests deemed "unnecessary,"
  • the dominant role of TSH hormone and its reference interval in diagnosis and treatment,
  • the diagnosis and treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism, especially in the elderly,
  • the effectiveness and individualization of thyroid therapies, especially hypothyroid treatment, 
  • the reincorporation of T3 hormone in the treatment of hypothyroidism, and  
  • the understanding and treatment of "nonthyroidal illness syndrome" (NTIS), the illness-induced dysregulation of thyroid hormone metabolism, which is associated with mortality in many acute conditions and chronic diseases. 

In some of these areas, beliefs and practices have become rigidly held as truisms. When these beliefs are threatened, staunch defenders arise and policy change becomes difficult. To untangle some of these webs, one must understand both the science and the strategies of rhetoric as they developed over many decades, as writers shaped beliefs, policies, and attitudes in these areas of controversy.