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

Register Now: RCSI Alumni Awards 2019

RCSI is delighted to invite alumni, along with family and friends, to join classmates and faculty in the College on Friday, 22nd March from 7pm to proudly celebrate the success and diversity of RCSI's high achieving alumni at the inaugural RCSI Alumni Awards.

Six exceptional RCSI role models from all disciplines, whose lives and careers have inspired us, will be honoured at a black tie gala dinner. Chosen from over 200 nominations from alumni worldwide, RCSI is delighted to announce the 2019 inaugural awardees are:

  • School of Medicine: Dr Daniel Briscoe, Class of 1987
  • School of Physiotherapy: Ms Avril Copeland, Class of 2010
  • School of Pharmacy: Ms Fatima Rustom, Class of 2008
  • School of Nursing & Midwifery: Dr Emer Shanley, PG Dip 2011; MSc 2012; PhD 2018
  • School of Postgraduate Studies: Dr Kelly Aylward, PhD 2005
  • Institute of Leadership: Mr Martin Dunne, MSc 2015

You can read about the winners, their life stories and how they uphold the values of RCSI - educating, nurturing, discovering for the benefit of human health - which caught the attention of the judges in more detail below.

Please join us to support classmates and colleagues from across Ireland, and the globe, to celebrate and endorse the achievements of our very first RCSI Alumni Awardees.

Date: Friday, 22nd March 2019
Time: 7pm Cocktail Reception ¦7.30pm Awards & Dinner
Venue: College Hall & Boardroom, RCSI, 123 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
Dress Code: Black Tie
Tickets: €95pp to include drink on arrival, 4 course gala dinner and dinner wine.

Register Online Here

Individual tickets and private tables of up to 10 can be booked via this link above. Or call +353 1 402 2523 to reserve your ticket(s) by phone.


Achieving world-class recognition...

 Daniel Briscoe

Dr Daniel Briscoe, RCSI School of Medicine, Class of 1987, is Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Emek Medical Center, in Northern Israel, and Senior Lecturer at the Technion School of Medicine, in Haifa. Dr Briscoe runs one of the largest Oculoplastic Orbital surgical services in Israel and the largest Ophthalmology residency program in Northern Israel. He serves as Chair of Ophthalmology at the Technion Faculty of Medicine, which has active undergraduate and post graduate ophthalmology training programs.

Dr Briscoe is a member of the Israeli Scientific Council Board for Professional Examinations, and in 2011 served on the International Council of Ophthalmology, Subspecialty Curriculum Taskforce Committee, for writing the International Ophthalmology Residency and Fellowship Curriculum in Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery.

Following graduation, Dr Briscoe did his Ophthalmology specialisation in Israel, and trained in Ophthalmic Ultrasound at Johns Hopkins Hospital USA during his ophthalmology residency program. Dr Briscoe did his Surgical Fellowship in Oculoplastic and Orbital surgery at the Royal Manchester Eye Hospital, in England and later studied endoscopic facial surgery in Baltimore, USA with Oscar Ramirez MD who developed the technique.

Dr Briscoe runs an Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery fellowship program and for over 16 years has trained Ophthalmologists in Oculoplastic Surgery from countries including Greece, Burma, Turkey, and Mexico. In addition, he runs a short three-month ophthalmology surgical observation program for Chinese Ophthalmologists. He also does voluntary surgical and teaching work in Myanmar and with Palestinians at the St John's Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.

Dr Briscoe was elected twice as Head of the Israeli Society of Oculoplastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and served as Vice President of the European Ocular Oncology Group. He was an International Council representative of the International Ocular Inflammation Society, in addition to other elected positions. He has been honoured as faculty or invited speaker at many international meetings in Europe, America, and Asia.

Dr Briscoe was elected in 2018 as member of the International Orbital Society, which is regarded as the most prestigious international society in Orbital Surgery. Election to the Orbital Society is by peer selection and is limited to 29 members worldwide. Dr Briscoe is the first Israeli and the first Irishman to be elected to the society in its almost 45 years of existence.
Dr Briscoe has published over 25 articles in peer reviewed journals and has been involved in organising numerous international Ophthalmology courses and congresses. 

He is married to Nava, has three children, and lives in Tel Aviv.

Driving technological innovations in health...

Avril Copeland
Ms Avril Copeland, RCSI School of Physiotherapy, Class of 2010, is the CEO and Co-Founder of Innerstrength, an eHealth company that develops digital tools which facilitate health professionals and patients to work together for the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions.

Born in Dublin, Ms Copeland has always been very involved in sport and exercise. She has represented Ireland in both hockey and expedition adventure racing, with her most recent achievement, competing for Ireland at the Adventure Racing Championships, a 700 km race through the Andes and Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. Along with her love of sport, Ms Copeland is also a member of the founding committee of the Pieta House "Darkness Into Light 5K".

Ms Copeland started her career in music and following her graduation from DIT, moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career in the country music industry. It was during her time in Nashville that she realised her true passion was in health and exercise, so she enrolled at Belmont University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science.

Ms Copeland returned to Ireland to further her career and enrolled in Physiotherapy at RCSI. After graduating with a clinical distinction, she went to work at Beaumont Hospital.
It was during her time in Beaumont that she saw the need for more supports to be put in place to help patients achieve their potential after discharge. It was this realisation that sowed the seed for the idea to start Innerstrength.
Ms Copeland's focus is now firmly on building a great company and products that make a difference. Innerstrength's first product, TickerFit is available in Ireland, the UK and US. It has been deployed in general practice, enabling GPs to prescribe lifestyle interventions, and in secondary care, enabling eligible patients to participate in virtual cardiac rehabilitation. In 2017, the company was awarded the prestigious NHS/SBRI contract and have since developed its second product, Hacka Health, a solution to support children living with long term conditions, initially supporting young people living with cystic fibrosis. 

Pioneering change in Qatar...

Fatima Rustom

Ms Fatima Rustom, RCSI School of Pharmacy, Class of 2008, is Pharmacy Director at the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) in Qatar. CDC is dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases as well as education and research, with a focus on tuberculosis (TB), respiratory diseases and other infectious diseases. CDC is a member hospital belonging to Hamad Medical Corporation which is the largest healthcare provider in the State of Qatar.
In addition to her RCSI undergraduate qualification, Ms Rustom was also awarded an MSc in Healthcare Management from RCSI Dubai in 2013.

Holding the position of Pharmacy Director since March 2018, Ms Rustom has worked in several areas of pharmacy practice in Qatar including in the role of Assistant Pharmacy Director at the Heart Hospital, and, prior to that, as Hospital Pharmacist at the National Centre for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR).

Ms Rustom, who opened the pharmacy department at the Heart Hospital, led a fundamental role in the planning and implementation of the first complete automated pharmacy dispensing system in Qatar. She has been widely acknowledged for the role she had in the establishment of the medication safety and quality as well as pharmacy automation and informatics programs.

Moreover, Ms Rustom has participated as a pharmacy subject matter expert for designing and testing the electronic Clinical Information System (Cerner) at corporate level and as a change manager for the project's implementation at hospital level within Hamad Medical Corporation. 

Leading research on positive ageing...


Emer Shanley

Dr Emer Shanley, RCSI School of Nursing & Midwifery, PG Dip 2011; MSc 2012; PhD 2018, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (Tissue Viability) working in community care in West Cork. Her studies in RCSI began in 2009 on a pathway programme, followed by PG Dip Tissue Viability & Wound Management in 2011, MSc (Research) in 2012 and culminated in the completion of PhD in November 2018.

The focus of her research has been on older persons living independently in the community, a key component of the positive ageing strategy in Ireland as it relates to the prevention of disability, chronic disease and premature mortality as people age. Her research, "Evaluation of the Shanley Pressure Ulcer Prevention Programme (SPUPP), for older persons at risk of pressure ulceration, living in the community setting", focused on the prevention of pressure ulcers as a key step for enhancing health, and the utilisation education as a means to empower people to take an active role in health promotion.

As a result, Dr Shanley combined her clinical and academic skills to develop interventions in response to clinically recognised patient needs, such as the Shanley Pressure Ulcer Prevention Programme (SPUPP), developed to provide structured education for patients at risk of developing pressure ulceration and the Patient Knowledge of Pressure Ulcer Prevention tool (KPUP).
This approach, advocating patient involvement as the central tenet of person centred care, has been recognised as providing a significant advancement for the practice of pressure ulcer prevention. Furthermore, given the dearth of evidence pertaining to patient led pressure ulcer prevention within the community care setting, this work is crossing the frontiers of pressure ulcer prevention.

Mastering business and science...


Kelly Aylward

Dr Kelly Aylward, RCSI School of Postgraduate Studies, PhD 2005, entered the RCSI postgraduate programme in 2001 having graduated from University College Dublin with a BSc (Honours) in Biochemistry and a MSc in Molecular Medicine from Trinity College, University of Dublin. Following her PhD from RCSI, she subsequently took up two short postdoctoral positions at INSERM in Paris and at Katholiek Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. She then became Innovation Consultant at CREAX, an SME in Belgium dedicated to technology transfer and solution marketing to support technology-driven companies.

Within three years after gaining her PhD, Dr Aylward and two colleagues set up the independent company Mint Europe in early 2009 ( Mint has since become the largest independent subsidy consultancy company in Belgium with a dynamic multidisciplinary team of 23 consultants including ten PhD scientists. Mint's focus is predominantly in subsidy advice relating to innovation and strategic business development in all sectors including pharmaceutical, biotech, energy, IT and manufacturing, but also in management consultancy relating to personnel and organisation. Mint's ambitious clients include start-ups, SMEs and multinationals, e.g. Bayer, BAM, Siemens and biotech companies Ablynx and Biocartis. In addition to Flemish regional subsidies, Mint is supporting organisations at an EU level in the framework of H2020 EU projects.

Dr Aylward, the scientific/technical partner of Mint's management board, is the company's Chief Operations Officer. She is responsible for contributing to and translating the company's vision into daily operations, service quality and business development to help ensure its sustainable growth for the future. Furthermore, she trains new recruits and remains their mentor throughout, supporting them in their own career and personal development and, as such, she continues to help to strengthen the Mint team.

Directing the frontline of Irish Healthcare...

 Martin Dunne

Mr Martin Dunne, RCSI Institute of Leadership, MSc Leadership 2015, has held the position of Director of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) of Ireland since July 2013.

In this role, Mr Dunne is accountable for the strategic and operational direction of the NAS and is also has accountability and responsibility for ensuring the efficient and effective delivery of pre-hospital and intermediate care services to the population of the Irish State. He also leads the development of the service within the framework of national policy on Health Services, and within agreed targets and resources laid out in the National Service plans.

Mr Dunne is the Chairperson of the NAS Leadership Team, with a Ministerial appointment to the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) of Ireland, and is chairperson of many committees involved with the NAS. He is also a member of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives of the UK and is also assisting NHS Improvement with the strategic direction of the Ambulances Service across the UK.

Mr Dunne has also secured a Service Level Agreement with the Higher College of Technology in Dubai, in relation to paramedic training in Dubai and supports the development of the Ambulance Services in Georgia and in Pakistan.

Mr Dunne has served within the National Ambulance Service and its predecessor the Health Board Ambulance Services and the Eastern Region Health Authority since 1987. During the course of these years, Mr Dunne has operated in every aspect of patient care delivery and remains to this day a registered and responding paramedic.

Mr Dunne initially, after completing his Leaving Certificate, was on a mechanical fitter career pathway having studied in Bolton Street College of Technology, gaining City and Guilds qualifications alongside Irish mechanical qualifications and worked in this area for six years before joining the former North Eastern Health Board Ambulance Service in 1987.

In addition to his MSc in Leadership from RCSI, Mr Dunne has pursued his personal development through obtaining a range of qualifications both in the pre-hospital and management environment.


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