Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn


Research interests within the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine relate to international and global health, Irish health services and public health.

A list of our projects can be found below.

Clinical Officer Surgical Training in Africa COST-Africa (COST-Africa)

Cost Africa will train clinical officers, who are the backbone of clinical care in rural Africa, to undertake life-saving emergency and elective major surgery at district hospitals in Malawi and Zambia. The rationale is that, unlike doctors and nurses, clinical officers’ qualifications and training have no counter-part in Europe or the US, making emigration from Africa difficult for them. The investigators will use a cluster randomised controlled trial study design to provide proof-of-concept that surgery can be delivered cost-effectively and safely in district hospitals in Africa. Roll out of lessons learned to other African countries will be through the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) whose members span nine African countries.

  • Partners include the Surgical Society of Zambia, The College of Medicine of the University of Malawi and Stichting Katholieke Universiteit.
  • Funder: EU FP7 Programme
  • RCSI project team: Ruairí Brugha, Tracey McCauley, Juzer Lotya, Elaine Byrne, Laura Phelan

The Connecting Health Research in Africa and Ireland Consortium (CHRAIC)

CHRAIC aims to synthesise research and identify knowledge gaps in six African countries on human resources for health, equity and access to services and governance of the health system. These three areas are essential to delivering interventions for theHealth and HIV/AIDS Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). CHRAIC has established a doctoral training programme; is assessing and strengthening the research capacity of African partner institutions; and aims to conduct Irish Aid-relevant research and strengthen research into policy links.

  • CHRAIC partners include researchers in the RCSI, Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway, the Malaria Consortium, and from institutions in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda.
  • Funder: Irish Aid and RCSI
  • RCSI project team: Ruairí Brugha, Elaine Byrne

GHIN: A network approach to Global Health and HIV/AIDS initiatives: Issues of Harmonization, Systems Capacity and Marginalized Groups

External funding for HIV/AIDS increased dramatically in the past decade. Three global initiatives contributed most of the funding to HIV/AIDSprevention, treatment and care, especially in Africa: the Global Fund to fight AIDS,Tuberculosis and Malaria, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the World Bank's Multi-country AIDS Program (MAP). The GlobalHIV/AIDS Initiatives Network (GHIN) is led by Prof. Ruairí Brugha (RCSI)and Professor Gill Walt of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). GHIN activities are coordinated by Aisling Walsh (RCSI), and by Neil Spicer and Andrew Harmer (LSHTM). GHIN comprises researchers in 22 countries who are exploring the effects of these Global Health Initiatives on health systems. GHIN has researched these effects at the national level, health facilities and in communities, in order to inform policy development at national and international level.

GHIN adds value to individual country studies by:

  • Promoting comparability through common research protocols and tools
  • Sharing expertise across country study teams and building research capacity
  • Generating multi-country comparisons and context-specific policy lessons
  • Coordinating dissemination of findings and recommendations and streamlining communication with global stakeholders

The Network facilitates comparable work on a number of key research themes and the synthesis of findings around them: Sub-national scale-up, Health systems capacity, Equitable access.

  • Funder: Irish Aid and Danida
  • RCSI project team: Ruairi Brugha, Aisling Walsh

GHIs in Africa: Experience of African countries with global health initiatives

GHIs in Africa is a FP6 EU-funded research consortium, which aims to understand how the rise of GHIs has impacted the architecture of development partnerships and health systems functions in five southern African countries.It is lead by Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine (Belgium), in partnership with: University of Pretoria (South Africa), Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique), University of the Western Cape (South Africa), the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Centros de estudos Avancados em Educacao eformacao Medica (Angola), Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical University Nova de Lisboa (Portugal). The University of Western Cape team is conducting research in Burundi and the RCSI has a research partnership with the National University of Lesotho.

  • Funder: EU FP6 Programme
  • RCSI project team: Ruairí Brugha, Carlos Bruen, Regien Biesma

Chlamydia: Optimal Setting for Chlamydia Screening in Ireland

A consortium lead by RCSI and the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) is conducting a series of studies on the feasibility of screening for genital Chlamydia in young people (18 - 29 years) in Ireland, 2007-10. RCSI led on a series of baseline qualitative and quantitative studies in 2007-08 and a pilot screening study was conducted by NUIG in the West of Ireland in 2008-09. The study will report an evaluation of the feasibility, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of opportunistic Chlamydia screening in a range of primary care and Third Level settings. Several papers have been published (see Pubmed [r1] ) and the final report and several more papers are planned for late 2010.

  • Funder: Health Research Board
  • RCSI project team: Ruairi Brugha, Myles Balfe

Nurse Migration Project

Ireland initiated international recruitment campaigns to facilitate the migration of qualified nurses to Ireland from the late 1990s. Overseas trained nurses, mainly from outside of the EU, are now an essential component of the nursing workforce in Ireland. However, there was little information available about them to inform health workforce planning and policy making. The RCSI nurse migration project has helped to fill these information gaps through qualitative and quantitative surveys of migrant nurses in Ireland. Further information on the Nurse Migration Project available from Dr Humphries or here. A project on doctor migration, also funded by the HRB, began in January 2011.

  • Funder: Health Research Board (2006 to 2010)
  • RCSI project team: Dr Niamh Humphries, Professor Ruairí Brugha (PI)and Professor Hannah McGee (co-PI).