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

Meet the team

Division of Population Health Sciences Staff List & Profiles

Staff are listed by Department and Alphabetical Order


PHS Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine

Head of Department 

Professor Ruairí Brugha MB, BCh, BAO, MD, FFPHMI, MSc, DCH, Dip Obs, Dip Humanities

Associate Professor, Professor in Biostatistics and Research Methods 

Professor Ronán Conroy BA, MusB, DipEd, DSc

Honorary Senior Lecturer

Dr. Margaret Fitzgerald MB, FFPHMI, MSc, MRCGP 

Dr. Siobhan Jennings 

Senior Lecturers  


Professor Emer Shelley MD, MSc, FRCPI, FFPHMI, FFPHM 

Honorary Lecturer

Dr. Paul Kavanagh MB, MSc, PG Dip Health Ec, PG Cert Med Ed, MRCPI, MFPHMI


Dr. Regien Biesma BA, MSc, MPH,PhD

Patrick Dicker BA, MA, MSc, CStat

Dr. Patricia Kennedy  BSoc, MSocSc, PhD

Research Staff 

Nicholas Clarke BA, MSc 

Sophie Crowe BA, MA

Dr. Jakub Gajewski MSc, PhD

Dr. Tracey McCauley BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr. Aisling Walsh BA, MSocSc, Ph.D

ChRAIC PhDScholars


Anna Awor MStat

John Kadzandira MSc, BSc

Louise Mullen 

Diane Nurse B.Sc; BA Hons; M.Phil

Departmental Administrators (

Mary O'Connell

Kayleigh Woods Harley MA, PGCE


PHS Department of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine - Profiles


Professor Ruairí Brugha MD, FFPHMI, MSc, DCH, Dip Obs, DipHumanities


Head of Department

Ruairi's Publications

E-mail: Ruairi

Professor Ruairí Brugha qualified as a doctor at UCD in 1980 and spent six years in Africa in the 1980s-90s as a clinician, public health specialist and researcher. He completed his public health medicine training in the UK and joined the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1996 as a lecturer and then senior lecturer. He was co-editor of Health Policy and Planning from 1999 and Head of the Health Policy Unit from2003. In 2005, he joined the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as the first full time Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine. He conducts health policy and health systems research, mainly in Africa and Ireland. See for outputs from a multi-country network researching the effects of global initiatives on recipient country health systems, which he co-coordinates, and see Pubmed for journal publications. 


Professor Ronán Conroy BA, MusB, DipEd, DSc


Associate Professor, Professor in Biostatistics and Research Methods

Ronan's Publications

E-mail: Ronan

Ronán Conroy is the Associate Professor of Biostatistics. He was educated in Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, and obtained his Higher Doctorate from the National University of Ireland. He is the module co-ordinator for the Evidence Based Health module, which combines research methods, critical appraisal and research ethics. He teaches hands-on statistics courses on the PhD programmes. In addition, he provides statistical advice and analysis to College researchers.

His research interests are broad, with publications in the areas of health psychology, psychiatry, cardiovascular disease and low-technology approaches to infectious disease prevention in developing countries. He was responsible for the development of the SCORE risk chart, a simple chart used to estimate risk of cardiovascular disease which is part of the European Task force Guidelines on Cardiovascular Prevention. He also carried out the first public health trials of solar disinfection of drinking water. Together with his wife, Jeannette Golden, he has published research on mental health of the elderly in Ireland. 


Professor Emer Shelley MD, MSc, FRCPI, FFPHMI, FFPHM


Senior Lecturer

Email: Emer

Emer is a consultant in public health medicine and a part-time lecturer in epidemiology and public health at the RCSI. Her speciality is cardiovascular epidemiology; she was Project Director of the Kilkenny Health Project (1984-1992) and was subsequently Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF). From 2000 to 2006 she was National Heart Health Advisor at the Department of Health and Children. Emer is now the public health lead for the Stroke Programme in the Quality and Clinical Care Directorate of the Health Service Executive. She is Convenor of Examinations for the Faculty of Public Health Medicine and has served on international and national committees, for example in the Irish Heart Foundation. Her research interests include an alysisof trends in mortality, morbidity and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and establishing data standards for modules of cardiovascular registers.



 natasha rafter

Senior Lecturer

Email: Natasha

Natasha is a specialist in public health medicine and senior lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine. She graduated in medicine from Otago University, New Zealand, and worked in hospital and GP settings for five years before commencing specialist training in public health medicine. During her training she performed a cost utility analysis of anti-inflammatory medication, developed a business case for district wide cardiovascular (CV) risk assessment and worked in communicable disease and asylum seeker mental health. For her MD she was the clinical research fellow on the Irish National Adverse Events Study. Prior to joining RCSI, Natasha was involved in the set up and management of two randomised controlled trials of CV combination medication in high risk patients at the University of Auckland. Natasha has also worked in medicines and medical devices safety at the Irish Medicines Board and the New Zealand medicines regulator Medsafe. Her research interests include patient safety, pharmacovigilance, CV risk assessment, access to treatment, and adherence.


Dr. Regien Biesma BA, MSc, MPH, PhD 



E-mail: Regien

Regien is a lecturer in epidemiology and public health medicine in RCSI and coordinates the Population and International health module in the undergraduate and graduate program (GEP). She obtained her doctorate in Public Health fromMaastricht University, the Netherlands and holds Master's degrees in Epidemiology and Public Health. Regien worked as a coordinator of international academic cooperation in Eastern Europe, the New Independent States, and Mongolia and was involved in a cohort study on Diet and Cancer at Maastricht University. In her current position, Regien is involved in two research projects: a collaborative study on the effect of Global Health Initiatives on health systems in Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Angola and in the Ireland-Africa Partnership for Health Research Capacity Strengthening. Research interests include constraints to scale up of health programmes in low income countries, such as HIV/AIDS, maternal health and chronic diseases and changing patterns of diseases. 


Patrick Dicker BA, MA, MSc, CStat



Email: Patrick

Patrick is a lecturer and statistician in the departments of epidemiology and public health medicine and obstetrics and gynaecology (Rotunda) in the RCSI. Patrick obtained his primary degree in pure mathematics and statistics from University College Dublin in 1992, where he subsequently obtained his master's degree in statistics. He also has a master's degree in bioinformatics from Dublin City University. Prior to working in the RCSI, Patrick spent 10 years working as a consultant biostatistician in the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland, France and Switzerland, where he obtained extensive experience in clinical trials. His research interests cover broad areas, from molecular and cellular therapeutics to public health epidemiology and health systems research. His current collaborations include: intra-uterine growth restriction and neonatal outcomes, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder proteomics, skin cancer in renal transplantation, platelet aggregometry and cardiovascular disease, psychiatric profiling of the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, global HIV/AIDS initiatives and health systems in Africa. He is currently on the research board of the Irish Epilepsy Association. 


Dr. Patricia Kennedy BSoc, MSocSc, PhD



Email: Patricia

Patricia's Publications 

Patricia Kennedy joined the RCSI in 2016 to teach Qualitative Research Methods on the SPHeRE (Structured Population and Health-services Research Education) Programme. She is currently the Principal Investigator, leading 15 Peer Researchers from the Roma Community on the National Needs Assessment of Roma in Ireland (in collaboration with the Department of Justice and Equality and  Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre).

She was a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy in UCD from 1995 to 2014. Her research interests include conceptual and theoretical approaches to social and health policy; migration; sexual and reproductive health; maternity services and policy; and evidence based policy.  She has published ten books including Welcoming the Stranger, Irish Emigrant Welfare in Britain Since 1957 (2015); Maternity Policy in an International Context, Risk, Rights and Welfare Regimes (2015);  Key Concepts in Social Policy (2013); Motherhood in Ireland; Creation and Context (2004) and Maternity in Ireland: a Woman-Centred Perspective (2002). She has supervised PhD theses on topics including: Concealed Pregnancies; Sex Trafficking; Crisis Pregnancy and Migrants; Children’s Rights; Social Partnership; Transition to Motherhood; and Sustainable Development. She is currently developing and delivering online CPD modules on Comparative Maternity Services and Policy in collaboration with the University of Hawaii and Massey University, New Zealand.

She represented the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) on the Kinder Review of Maternity Services (2000-2001) in the North Eastern Health Board and the NEHSE Maternity Services Task Force (2001-2010) which was responsible for introducing Midwifery-Led Units and Consumer Liaison Committees in Ireland for the first time. She served on the boards of Smashing Times Theatre Company and WOVE (Women Overcoming Violent Experiences). She was a founder member of the European Research Network for the Promotion of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (ENHERA). She was one of the Principal Investigators in Semporforto Frame of Reference in the Prevention of Sexual and Gender-based Violence against and among Young Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Minors in the European Reception and Asylum sector, an 8 country study. With Dr Nessa Winston, UCD she co-founded the Irish Social Policy Association (ISPA). She is the first lay member of the Board of the Irish Commission on Emigration. 


Nicholas Clarke BA, MSc 

Email: Nicholas

Nick Clarke is a post-doctoral researcher and co-ordinates the HRB funded MedTrack study. MedTrack is Ireland's first medical graduate career tracking study and aims to report, analyse and track the specialty choices, career intentions and early career decisions made by Irish medical graduates, including decisions to work full or part-time, leave medicine, or emigrate. The study will also include estimates of the consequences to the Irish exchequer of medical graduate emigration. Nick obtained his primary degree in Anthropology (DBS) and obtained an MSc in Applied Social Research from Trinity College Dublin in 2002. Previously Nick worked with the National Cancer Registry where he received an Irish Cancer Society scholarship to complete his PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health (UCC) on factors associated with participation in colorectal cancer screening in Ireland. Prior to this Nick was a Men's Health researcher with the Centre for Men's Health and co- ordinated projects on the excess burden of cancer in men and best practice in suicide prevention in young men. 


Sophie Crowe BA, MA 

Email: Sophie

Sophie Crowe is research assistant on the HRB-funded, Doctor Emigration study at the RCSI. Sophie completed a BA in History (TCD) in 2009, a MA in International Security and Conflict Studies (DCU) in 2010 and a MSc. in Applied Social Research (TCD) in 2013. Prior to working at the RCSI, Sophie worked at Coventry University on studies of work experiences of social workers in England and young people's understanding of consent and sexual agency.


Dr. Tracey McCauley BSc, MSc, PhD


Researcher Staff

Email: Tracey

Tracey is a Post Doctoral Researcher on the Clinical Officer Surgical Training in Africa project (COST-Africa). COST-Africa is a collaborative project between the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Surgical Society in Zambia, the University of Malawi, and Stichting Katholieke Universiteit, Nijmegen Netherlands. Tracey obtained her doctorate in Exercise Physiology from Loughborough University, UK, as well as an MSc in Physical Activity and Health. Prior to working on COST-Africa Tracey worked in the School of Community Health Sciences, Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham, UK working on the largest randomised control trial (RCT) in the UK: ProACt65+ the promotion of physical activity in older adults. In her current position Tracey is involved in this 5 year RCT which will design, implement and evaluate the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and impact of a clinical officer surgical training programme at the district hospital level in Malawi and Zambia.


Dr. Jakub Gajewski MSc, PhD


Research Officer

Email: Jakub

Jakub is a Post Doctoral health sociologist who has previously worked at National University of Ireland in Galway at Health Promotion Research Centre. Prior to this he worked as a researcher in the Mother and Child Research Institute in Warsaw. He has been involved in several population based studies, including the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. The aim of this study is to gain insight into young people's well-being, health behaviours and their social context. This research collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe is conducted every four years in 43 countries and regions across Europe and North America. He was also working as a researcher on several studies focusing on the impact of social factors on people living with chronic illness - particularly Type 1 Diabetes. 


Dr Aisling Walsh BA, MSocSc, PhD


Research Fellow

Email: Aisling

Aisling is a Research Fellow on The Brain Drain to Brain Gain project, supporting the implementation of the WHO Code of Practice on the recruitment of health personnel, which aims to generate momentum and accelerate progress in Global Code implementation in Ireland. She was previously a Research Fellow and coordinator of Community Systems Strengthening for Equitable Maternal and Child Health (COSYST-MNCH), which to achieve a better understanding of community systems factors underpinning maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) services in Malawi. This project undertook research case studies of community settings in Malawi, in order to understand how community systems impact on MNCH service utilisation.

The second component was the development and delivery of a technology enhanced learning Masters in Community Systems Health Research. Prior to working on COSYST-MNCH, Aisling was a researcher and coordinator of the Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives Network (GHIN), a network of researchers studying the effects of global HIV/AIDS initiatives on health systems in 22 countries. She holds a PhD in Global Public Health from RCSI, a Master's degree in Social Science (M.Soc.Sc) from University College Dublin, and BA in Sociology and History from UCD. Aisling's primary research interests are in: health systems research, maternal and child health, the ethics of health research partnerships between the higher income countries and lower income countries, and reproductive technology. She previously worked as policy and research manager in Disability Federation of Ireland and as a research analyst in the Disability Database Division of the Health Research Board. 


Dr. Samuel E. Anya BMedSc, MBBS, MRCOG


PhD Researcher ChRAIC Programme

E-mail:  Sam

Samuel Anya obtained BMedSc (Pharmacology) and MBBS degrees from University of Port Harcourt Nigeria. He undertook postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynaecology and qualified as a Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons. In 2002, he moved to Gambia as a lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology and honorary consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist. Having experienced first hand how short comings in the health system contribute to poor maternal and new born outcomes, he has now committed himself to understanding and seeking solutions to these challenges. Samuel regards the PhD programme as an opportunity to further his understanding of health systems and reflect on options for strengthening them.


Anna Awor - MStat


PhD Researcher ChRAIC Programme

E-mail: Anna 

Anna C. Awor is a CHRAIC PhD Scholar in HealthSystems Research. Anna has a Bachelor Degree in Statistics and Masters Degree in the Biostatistics, both from Makerere University, Uganda. Prior to commencing her PhD she received a McGoldrick Biostatistics fellowship Scholars Award from Harvard School of Public Health. She worked as a Statistician for the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-Uganda) where she was involved in the protocol writing and analysis of research data and has co-authored a number of peer reviewed papers. For her PhD she will be working on integration of family planning and PMTCT services, her PhD supervisor is Dr.Elaine Byrne.

Diane Nurse B.SC; BA Hons; M.PHil


PhD Researcher

Email: Diane

Diane qualified as an Occupational Therapist at the University of Cape Town and worked in various settings in South Africa before moving to the Western Cape Department of Health as Assistant Director for Rehabilitation. In 2001, she moved to Ireland and was employed in the former Eastern Regional Health Authority as a Service Planner for Disability and for Social Inclusion. With the establishment of the Health Service Executive, she took on the role of National Specialist Planner for Social Inclusion. In this capacity, she has led on development of the HSE National Intercultural Health Strategy and has responsibility for coordinating its implementation. She presently heads the National Social Inclusion Unit of the HSE, which has a strategic remit including Addiction, Homelessness, Intercultural Health (including asylum seekers and refugees), Traveller health, LGBT health, and Community Development.  Her interests are in the area of health and social exclusion, with an emphasis on working towards improving access to health services by people from disadvantaged groups. 


Mary O'Connell


Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine Assistant

Tel: 01 402 2434

E-mail: Mary

Responsible for admin across teaching and exams within the department.


Kayleigh Woods Harley 


Department Coordinator

Tel: 01 402 2733

E-mail: Kayleigh

Kayleigh obtained her English Literature degree from the University of Edinburgh and PGCE in secondary English teaching from Newcastle University. She has worked in tourism and in higher education in Scotland, taking on roles within admissions, student recruitment and marketing. Her last role prior to joining the RCSI was in project managing the business case for implementing a customer relationship management tool with the University of St Andrews. 

Kayleigh looks after the coordination of the JC3 modules Evidence Based Health and Population Health Sciences, working closely with the course lecturers and examiners to facilitate the running of these modules. She also provides general administrative support to the department, including departmental research activities.



PHS Department of Psychology


Head of Department serving Head of the Division of Population Health Sciences

Professor Anne Hickey BA (Mod.), PhD

Senior Lecturer  

Dr Frank Doyle BA, MLitt, PhD

Dr. Mary Clarke BA, MSc, PhD


Dr. Sally Doherty BSc(Hons) PhD  

Dr. Caroline Kelleher BA(Hons) PhD

Dr. Lisa Mellon BA, MSc, PhD, Reg. Psychol PsSI ;nsbp;

Dr Karen Morgan PhD, Reg Psychol PsSI

Dr Maria Pertl BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD

Professor Hannah McGee BA(Mod.) PhD, RegPsychol. FPsSI, FBPsS, FEHPS  


Division Research Manager 

Laura Méchineau Phelan, BSc, MSc, MEcon, MSc (Hons)(Leadership & Management)


Associate Professor in Pharmacoepidemiology    

Kathleen Bennett BSc PhD,  


Ross Brannigan BSc (Hons) (Psy), 

Dr Caitriona Cahir BA (Mod), HDip (Psy), PhD; 

Dr Niamh Merriman BA (Hons), 

Dr Eithne Sexton PhD  


Department Secretary/Administrator  

Carole Carolan 


Staff Profiles 


Carole Carolan

Carole Carolan

Department Secretary/Administrator

Tel:+353-1- 402 2428

E-mail:  Carole

Carole has a Diploma in Sales and Marketing Management from Damelin College SA. Her background is in both academic literature and pharmaceuticals sales and marketing both in the office and the field. Carole also has over 20 years of administrative experience in pharmaceuticals and academic arenas.

First point of contact for the Psychology department and administrative support to the Head of Department / Division. Responsible for admin and secretarial duties across teaching and exams (5 year, GEM, HBPS Physio, Pharmacy). Assisting with research admin and conference organisation. 


Dr. Mary Clarke BA, MSc, PhD


Senior Lecturer and Vice-Dean for International Citizenship

E-mail:  Mary

Mary Clarke is a lecturer in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry and the Vice-Dean for International Citizenship. She was educated in Trinity College Dublin and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She coordinates and teaches neuroscience to medical and physiotherapy undergraduates. Mary is a member of the Psychiatric Epidemiology Research across the Lifespan Group (PERL) Her area of interest is the role of early life experiences in the aetiology of schizophrenia. In collaboration with colleagues from RCSI and The National Institute of Public Health in Helsinki she examines the effect of prenatal and neonatal risk factors for psychotic disorder, particularly prenatal infection, prenatal stress and the attainment of motor and language developmental milestones. Mary is also involved in projects looking at risk and protective factors for mental illness among young Irish adolescents. These projects examine the psychiatric, neurocognitive, electrophysiological and neuroimaging profile of young adolescents at risk for the development of psychotic disorder in adulthood.


Dr. Sally Doherty BSc(Hons) PhD CPsychol

Sally Doherty


Email:  Sally

Sally completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and PhD in the University of Ulster. She worked as a post doctoral researcher in the School of Psychology, NUI Galway on a HRB funded study exploring the impact of CHD on sexual functioning. She is involved in teaching health psychology at undergraduate level to medical, physiotherapy and pharmacy students. Sally has completed a post graduate certificate in teaching and will complete a masters in Healthcare Ethics and Law in July 2015. Sally’s research interests are in cardiovascular disease, cardiac rehabilitation and sexual health. Sally is currently on secondment to MUB (Medical University of Bahrain), where she is the Academic Lead in Pscyhology and Behavioural Science.  


Dr. Frank Doyle BA, MLitt, PhD


Senior Lecturer

Frank's Publications

E-mail:  Frank 

Frank Doyle is a senior lecturer in psychology in RCSI. He co-ordinates and teaches behavioural sciences and statistics to health professionals at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is the Associate Editor of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine: An Open Access Journal, and has also acted as a statistical consultant on several research projects. He has published in prestigious international journals on areas such as depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cardiac rehabilitation, health behaviours such as smoking and physical activity, quality of life, pain and stress. He is also interested in systematic reviews, meta-analyses and psychometrics. He was Chair of the Division of Health Psychology from 2013-2015.


Professor Anne Hickey BA, (Mod), PhD

 Head of Division - PHS - Head of Department of Psychology

Anne's Publications Publications

E-mail:  Anne 

Anne Hickey is Head of the Department of Psychology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the serving Head of the Division of Population Health Sciences. She is involved in coordinating and teaching health psychology to health professionals at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including medical, physiotherapy and pharmacy students. Anne has extensive experience in research in healthcare, particularly with neurological patient populations (stroke, multiple sclerosis), including terminal conditions (motor neurone disease); stigmatised groups (e.g., HIV and hepatitis C); and carers of people with stroke. Anne has considerable expertise in the area of method development and, as part of a research team, developed the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQoL), an individualised measure of quality of life that has received international acclaim. Anne is the RCSI Director of the Health Services Research Institute (HSRI), the first HRB structured PhD scholar's programme in Health Services Research, established in October 2007. She is immediate past Chair of the Division of Health Psychology of the Psychological Society of Ireland, a member of the Council of the Psychological Society of Ireland and Chair of the Scientific Affairs Board of the Psychological Society of Ireland.


Dr. Caroline Kelleher BA(Hons), PhD 



Email:  Caroline

Caroline is a lecturer in psychology in RCSI since 2012. She is involved in teaching Behavioural Sciences to medical, physiotherapy and pharmacy students at undergraduate level and is the module coordinator for pharmacy students. She has also been involved in module development at postgraduate level and acted as a methodological supervisor for students enrolled in the Masters in Surgery. She has a BSc in honours Psychology and is a previous Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) postgraduate scholar. Caroline completed her PhD in 2010 at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth where her doctoral research examined the psycho-social impact of rape and sexual assault in a sample of Irish women.

She joined the Department as a postdoctoral researcher on an IRCHSS-funded project (PI: Dr. Karen Morgan) entitled “Exploring trends in sexual activity, contraceptive use and pregnancy experiences in Ireland over the last decade” and has consistently engaged in health-related research with a range of vulnerable populations (e.g. palliative care, falls prevention in older people) since the beginning of her career. Her research interests include STIs/HIV, sexual health, sexual violence, behavioural surveillance and health-related research aimed at informing policy and service provision.


Professor Hannah McGee BA(Mod.), PhD,RegPsychol. FPsSI, FBPsS, FEHPS


Professor of Psychology

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences  

Hannah's Publications

E-mail:  Hannah

Professor Hannah McGee is a health psychologist, Professor of Psychology, founding director of RCSI's Health Services Research Centre - the first such centre in Ireland, established in 1997; and current Dean of the Faculty of HealthSciences of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Her research interests are in psychosocial aspects of health and illness and in health services research. She has led on national research programmes including on cardiovascular issues (acute coronary syndromes, cardiac rehabilitation, stroke); on vulnerable populations (older people, hepatitis C patients) on sexual health (population profiles of sexual health and sexual violence); and on professional issues (management of complaints against doctors; public perceptions of biomedical research).

Among leadership roles, she has been president of the Psychological Society of Ireland and the European Health Psychology Society and is currently Chair of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Section, European Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation. She has been a member of national boards or committees including the National Cardiovascular Advisory Forum. She was appointed in 2009 by the Minister for Health and Children to lead a Cardiovascular Policy Group in developing national policy. 


Dr. Lisa Mellon BA MSc PhD, Reg. Psychol PsSI 

Lisa Mellon


E-mail: Lisa

Lisa Mellon is a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. Prior to this she was a post-doctoral researcher on a project assessing the quality of care for smoking cessation services in Irish hospitals. Prior to this, she held a post-doctoral position with the ASPIRE-S Study (Action on Secondary Prevention Interventions and Rehabilitation in Stroke). Lisa has a BA in Psychology and an MSc in Health Psychology, both from National University of Ireland, Galway. Prior to commencing her PhD on the HRB PhD Scholars Programme in Health Services Research, she worked in frontline hospital departments, and was a research assistant on case control and RCT studies in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in Monash University, Melbourne. Her research interests include the examination of help-seeking behaviour during onset of an acute medical event, the provision of comprehensive post-stroke rehabilitation to stroke survivors and assessment of post-stroke cognitive impairment, and behaviour change interventions for risk factor management and secondary prevention. Lisa is the current Honorary Secretary of the Division of Health Psychology in the Psychological Society of Ireland. 


Karen Morgan PhD, Reg Psychol PsSI 


Senior Lecturer Psychology

E-mail: Karen

Karen is a senior lecturer in psychology in RCSI. She teaches psychology, behavioural science and research methods to both undergraduate and postgraduate students (medicine, physiotherapy and pharmacy) as well as healthcare professionals. Karen has a background in health and organisational psychology. She has a BA in psychology and an MA in social and organisational psychology. Her PhD (health psychology) was completed as part of the Healthy Ageing Research Programme at RCSI. Karen's research interests include population health, ageing, sexual health and quality of care. She is the current President Elect of the European Health Psychology Society.  Karen is currently on secondment to Perdana University (PU-RCSI School of Medicine) in Malaysia where she is the Academic Lead in Psychology and Behavioural Science


Maria Pertl, BA BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD

Maria Pertl


E-mail: Maria

Maria Pertl is a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. Before coming to RCSI, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience where she led a cohort study funded by The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Health Research Board, which examined relationships between stress and cognitive function in spousal dementia caregivers. Maria previously held a postdoctoral position in the School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin(TCD), investigating decision making among people with depression. Maria completed her PhD, MSc, and undergraduate degree in Psychology in TCD. Her doctoral research, conferred in 2013, investigated the contributing factors to cancer-related fatigue and evaluated the effectiveness of a psychological intervention for cancer survivors with persistent fatigue. Maria has taught health psychology and research methods to students in various health-related disciplines in TCD, University College Dublin, and St. Patrick’s College and has carried out several research projects on cancer screening and prevention. Her research interests include the impact of stress on health, cognitive aging,caregiving, psycho-oncology, cancer-related fatigue, and models that conceptualise the development of chronic conditions. Maria is the current Honorary Secretary of the Division of Health Psychology in the Psychological Society of Ireland. 

Research Staff

Kathleen Bennett, BSc PhD,

Kathleen Bennett

Associate Professor Pharmacoepidemiology

E-mail: Kathleen









Ross Brannigan, BA(Hons), Psychology,


 Ross Brannigan

PhD Student

E-mail: Ross 

Ross Brannigan obtained his Bsc in Psychology from Maynooth University in 2016. Additionally, Ross has carried out research in various areas through internships while completing his degree,these areas ranged from fear generalization and avoidance to circadian rhythms and the effects of social jetlag. Ross began his PhD in RCSI in September 2016 in order to further his education and continue researching interesting areas within psychology and epidemiology.



Caitriona Cahir, BA (Mod), HDip (Psy), PhD 


 Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow

E-mail: Caitriona

Dr Caitriona Cahir is senior post-doctoral researcher fellow at the Division of Population Health Sciences,Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She is working on a Health Research Board(HRB) funded project investigating quality and safety in medication use in the primary and secondary care settings. Prior to this Caitriona worked as a Research Officer in the Social Research Division at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and was employed as a HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) post-doctoral research fellow at Trinity College Dublin,Ireland. The research programme investigated novel approaches to cancer prevention, treatment and cost in conjunction with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) and National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). Caitriona holds a HRB Scholars PhD in Health Services Research from the Division of Population Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Her doctoral research nvestigated prescribing in older populations in Ireland by evaluating indicators of quality and efficiency. Caitriona obtained a Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin in 2007. Prior to this she studied Economics at Trinity College Dublin and worked as a risk and operations analyst and as a fund manager for a Global Asset Manager for a number of years. Research interests are in health services research, medication taking behaviour, patient safety and outcomes, behavioural interventions, health psychology and pharmacoepidemiology.


Niamh Merriman, BA (Hons),  PhD  

 Niamh Merriman

E-mail: Niamh

Dr Niamh Merriman is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at the Division of Population Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She is working on a Health Research Board (HRB) funded project called StrokeCog, which aims to model and modify the consequences of stroke-related cognitive impairment through intervention. Prior to this Niamh worked as a Senior Research Associate in Disney Research, Los Angeles. This research investigated factors which may improve the experience of guests in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts through the use of behavioural and virtual reality techniques. Niamh holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience in Trinity College Dublin. Her doctoral research investigated factors that mediate spatial navigation abilities in older adults, with the over-arching aim of developing and testing a multicomponent training intervention to improve spatial navigation abilities in healthy and fall-prone older adults. Niamh obtained a BA in Psychology from NUI Maynooth in 2009. Research interests include ageing, cognitive impairment,spatial navigation, cognitive interventions, multisensory integration, and balance control.




Eithne Sexton, PhD  




Divisional Staff - Profiles


Laura Méchineau Phelan BSc, MSc Fin, MEcon, MSc (Hons), Leadership & Management, LLB (Hons)  

Laura Phelan

Research Manager Division of Population Health Sciences 


Laura Mechineau-Phelan is the Research Manager for the Division of Population Health Sciences of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (incorporating Epidemiology and Public Health, General Practice and Psychology). Her qualifications include: BSc, MEcon, MSc Fin, MSc (Hons) RCSI-NUI (Ireland) and more recently a LLB (Hons) in Irish Law (UWE Bristol, UK). She authorship two thesis: "Efficience des Marches Financiers" (Paris XII) and "Research Governance: Development and Implementation of Research Data Handling Policies for the Division of Population Health Sciences of the RCSI" (RCSI-NUI). She worked as a researcher for the Banque de France for which she authorship two major reports before joining a trading room as Risk Manager Assistant & Back Office Manager (commodities, currencies markets).

She moved to Ireland in 1999 to become Director of an Irish company in charge of National and International operations. Since 2003 she has been involved in pre and post-awards management of over 80 projects: regulatory framework, proposal writing, coordination, reporting, financial and legal management, negotiation with National (HRB, MRCG, IHF, HSE, DoHC, IRC, IRCHSS) and International sponsors (NCI, Welcome Trust, NHS, EC: FP6, FP7, 3HP, H2020).  Professional interests: General and legal management of pre (drafting) and post-award, EU frameworks of research, interface law and research and research resolution / negotiaiton of complex issues.Strong track record: Since 2006 over 80 research applications, over 50 medium and large scales awards. Drafting, reviewing and negotiating over 90 legal documents (MoA, MoU, CA, RA, NDA). Strong expertise: EU and National research programmes and their regulatory frameworks. Pre- and post-award management. Negotiation with sponsors.Research Manager Division of Population Health Sciences. 


Department of Biostatistics


Dr. Fiona Boland, BSc (Statistics), MSc. in Statistics, PhD


Professor Gloria Crispino   


Finbarr Leacy BSc (Hons), ScM   


Stephen Madden   





Dr. Fiona Boland, BSc (Statistics), MSc. in Statistics, PhD



Email: Fiona

Fiona is a lecturer in Biostatistics and Research Methods. She graduate with a BSc. in Statistics in 2004 from University College Dublin (UCD), where she subsequently obtained her MSc. in Statistics and her PhD in 2009. For 3 years, prior to working in the RCSI, Fiona lectured in Statisitics in the School of Mathematical Sciences in UCD. Fiona was also a postdoctoral research fellow in the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care.

Fiona's research interests include development and application of statistical modelling techniques to complex problems, clinical prediction rules and randomised controlled trials. Fiona's current projects include investigating practice level variation, paediatric epidemiology and examining drug related mortality during methadone maintenance treatment.

Fiona teaches statistics courses for the Masters in Surgery (MCh) and supervises students on the completion of a minor thesis. Fiona also teaches on the Practical Course in Health Research Methods and coordinates RCSI's Biostatistical Consulting and Support Service which provides statistical advice and support to college researchers.


Professor Gloria Crispino




Finbarr Leacy BSc (Hons), ScM


Research Lecturer in Biostatistics

E-mail: Finbarr

Finbarr joined RCSI as a StAR Research Lecturer in Biostatistics in April 2016. His research focuses on the development, application and dissemination of statistical methodology for handling missing data and confounding in observational epidemiologic studies. He also has a longstanding interest in mental health research. Finbarr conducted his doctoral research at the University of Cambridge and MRC Biostatistics Unit. He holds an ScM in Biostatistics and a Certificate in Public Mental Health Research from Johns Hopkins University and a BSc (Hons) in Financial Mathematics and Actuarial Science from University College Cork.




 Dr Stephen Madden




E-mail:  Smadden


Stephen Madden







SPHeRE Programme Staff

SPHeRE- Structured Population and Health-services Research Education

  • Carlos Bruen BA, MSc - Assistant Director - Academic Affairs, SPHeRE Programme
  • Niamh Corbett MA, GradDip CompSc, MMII Grad, Dip PR
  • Elaine Healy, MSc by Research, PG Dip. Stats, B.A. (Mod) - Programme Coordinator (maternity leave)
  • Ciarán McCarthy BA, MPhil, GradDipSc - Programme Coordinator
  • Rebecca Kirrane B.Sc. - Learning Technology Officer, SPHeRE Programme




SPHeRE Programme & HRB PhD Scholars in Health Services Research - Profiles 


Carlos Bruen BA, MSc


Assistant Director - Academic Affairs, SPHeRE Programme

E-mail: Carlos

Carlos Bruen is public health researcher and PhD Candidate in the Dept of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine. He is also Assistant Director - Academic Affairs, for the SPHeRE Programme for the Structured Population and Health-Services Research Education (SPHeRE) Programme. His research and teaching focuses on global health policy, systems and governance, including the emergence and evolution of global health initiatives, and the role of individuals, organizations and networks in shaping health systems responses and institutional change. He has previously been involved as a researcher in the FP6 Global Health Initiatives in Africa project and the Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives Network (GHIN), a network of researchers from 22 countries, as well as conducting research for multilateral, national and non-governmental organizations. Prior to this, he was a teaching and research fellow at the University College Dublin (Equality Studies) responsible for modules in global politics and development.


Annette Burns BA (Psychology); MSc (Applied Social Research)


Email: Annette

Annette Burns is a scholar on the HRB SPHeRE PhD Programme in Population Health and Health Services Research. Annette has a first class honours degree in Psychology (NUI, Galway) and a first class honours MSc in Applied Social Research (Trinity College Dublin). Her research interests include psychometric measurement, smoking cessation and behaviour change. She gained practical experience in the area of behaviour change while employed at a specialist research company, where she worked on national and European-level projects employing interventions to change behaviour in the areas of travel, sustainability and physical activity. More recently, she worked as a Research Assistant within the General Practice department of RCSI assisting with a study on multimorbidity in a general practice setting by interviewing older patients about medicine management and adverse events. Annette has also worked with the Tobacco Free Research Institute, assisting with funding applications, survey design and analysis.


Orla Caffrey, BA (Hons); HDip (Finance); Msc (Health Economics)      


HRSI/ HRB PhD Scholar

Email Orla

Orla has a strong economic background. In 2005, she graduated, with honours, from the National University of Galway, Ireland where she studied Maths and Economics. Before moving into the field of health economic in 2007, she worked as a hedge fund accountant. In 2008, she obtained a Masters in Health Economics from the University of York.



Niamh Corbett MA, GradDip CompSc, MMII Grad, Dip PR 


Email: Niamh


Niamh has over 20 years academic administration experience, having previously held the position of Admissions Officer at Griffith College and Examinations Officer at Independent Colleges. More recently Niamh worked as a Research Officer for the PanCareSurFup (PanCare Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Survivor Care and Follow-Up Studies) project in the Boyne Research Institute. 


Nora-Ann Donnelly MA (SocSci), MSc 

Nora Ann Donnelly

HRB PhD Scholar

E-mail Nora-Ann

Nora-Ann is a HRB PhD Scholar in Health Services Research. Nora-Ann has an honours Masters Degree in Politics from the University of Glasgow and a first class honours MSc in Applied Social Research from Trinity College Dublin.  Prior to commencing her PhD Nora-Ann worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator with an International Humanitarian NGO for several years. Following this Nora-Ann worked with the Economic and Social Research Institute and the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science at University College Dublin. Before joining the Scholars Programme Nora-Ann worked with the National Centre for the Protection of Older People at University College Dublin.


Elaine Healy, MSc by Research, PG Dip. Stats, B.A. (Mod)

Elaine Healy

Email: Elaine 

Elaine Healy is the Programme Co-ordinator for the SPHeRE Programme and joined RCSI  in Feb 2011. Elaine leads the administrative team on the SPHeRE Programme and co-ordinates internal and external communication and events for the Programme. Elaine graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an MSc by Research in Behavioural Science, a PG Dip Stats and a B.A. (Mod) in Natural Science. She has previously worked in both undergraduate and postgraduate programme administration in Trinity College and Dublin City University.


Rebecca Kirrane, B.Sc.


Learning Technology Officer, SPHeRE Programme

Email: Rebecca

Rebecca is the Learning Technology Officer for the SPHeRE Programme, a HRB-funded PhD programme in population health and health-services research. Her professional background is in media education and she has taught art, multimedia, animation, video and design to students from ages 5 - 25. Her research interests include blended learning approaches, online pedagogies, flipped learning and gifted education. Rebecca holds a B.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University and an M.Sc in Technology and Learning from Trinity College in Dublin. 


 Ciarán McCarthy,BA, MPhil, GradDipSc



Email: Ciarán

Programme Coordinator SPHeRE  




Ciarán is the Programme Coordinator for the nationally based Structured Population and Health-services Research Education (SPHeRE) programme, a structured HRB funded PhD programme running across Ireland’s 8 university level HEIs. Prior to joining RCSI in early 2014, Ciarán completed a Grad Dip (Education & Training Management) at Dublin City University, an MPhil (Applied Linguistics) at Trinity College and a BA in Italian & Linguistics at University College Dublin. Ciarán's professional background includes project management at the ESRI’s longitudinal Growing Up in Ireland study, programme management on international postgraduate sales programmes and as Academic Director on an international foundation programme; with a background as an international Sales Director in EMEAA for a number of multinational educational organisations, he also has experience as Director at a number language training organisations.



Yvonne McGowan B.A. MSc


HRB PhD Scholar in Health Services Research

Email:  Yvonne 

Yvonne is a HRB PhD Scholar in Health Services Research. She has a BA in Psychology from DBS and an MSc in Applied Social Research from TCD. Prior to joining the Scholars Programme, Yvonne was a Research Officer within the Psychology department of RCSI. She led on a systematic review of quality of care, as part of the ORCAB programme (Improving quality and safety in the hospital: The link between organisational culture, burnout, and quality of care). She also worked on the Health Behaviour of Young People in Ireland study along with secondary analysis of SLÁN 2007 (Survey of Lifestyle Attitudes and Nutrition, 2007). Yvonne has also worked as a field researcher for the Economic and Social Research Institute on the Growing up in Ireland Longitudinal Survey. Her research interests include cardiovascular disease, quality of care and workforce planning.


Louise McMahon


HRB PhD Scholar

Louise McMahon is Director of Performance and Service Improvement with the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Board since September 2010.  The Board is responsible for Performance, Commissioning and effective Financial Management of all heath and social services contracting with the six Health and Social Care Trusts and a range of other statutory, voluntary and private sector providers.  Louise joined the health service as an NHS Graduate Management Trainee and worked in the former Western and Eastern Health and Social Services Boards and the North and West Belfast Community Trust. In recent years she worked as Senior Commissioner with the Eastern Regional Health Authority, and latterly with the Health Service Executive with particular focus on acute hospital services in Dublin. Louise is a graduate of Queen's University, Belfast, P.G.C.E., Dip. HSM, MBA and has studied at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  


Daniela Rohde

Daniela Rohde

HRB PhD student SPHeRE

Email: Daniela

Daniela is a HRB PhD scholar in Population Health and Health Services Research. Daniela holds a BA (Hons) in Psychology and an MSc in Applied Social Research, both from Trinity College Dublin. She has several years' experience working with homeless persons with severe and enduring mental health and addiction problems. More recently she worked as a Research Assistant in the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems on a number of different projects, including a national review of the Scope of Nursing and Midwifery Practice Framework. Her research interests include quantitative methodologies, mental health, cardiovascular disease, secondary prevention and health behaviours.


Áine Ryan, MSc, BSc (Hons) Physio., MISCP.


Email: Áine

Áine is a HRB PhD scholar in Population Health and Health Services Research (SPHeRE). She graduated from Brunel University, London in 2003 with a BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy. Prior to commencing the SPHeRE programme she worked clinically for nine years in a variety of clinical areas in the Irish Health Service as part of Physiotherapy and interdisciplinary teams. She has held senior roles in Rheumatology, Orthopaedic Triage, Musculoskeletal Outpatients and Pain Management. Áine completed her Masters in Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy in 2010 in University College Dublin. Areas of research experience include function and morphology of spinal muscles in Low Back Pain along with communication style and exercise compliance in Physiotherapy. Her areas of research interest are non-invasive interventions (physical activity and exercise promotion) and adherence to lifestyle modifications in individuals with multimorbidity.