RCSI celebrates the graduation of healthcare and research professionals

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Nurses, health research scientists and physiotherapists are among those who will graduate from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences at the university’s virtual November conferring ceremonies.

The first ceremony, which takes place on the morning of 19 November, will see the conferring of Postgraduate Academic Awards. Candidates will receive Doctoral and Masters degrees, including Master of Pharmacy, Master of Science, MD and PhD, plus postgraduate diplomas and certificates. Candidates from full-time undergraduate programmes in physiotherapy and medicine will graduate.

On Thursday, Dr Mary D’Alton will be awarded an honorary doctorate. Dr D’Alton is Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Willard C. Rappleye Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Columbia University Medical Centre, USA. In the course of her distinguished career in obstetrics and gynaecology, Dr D’Alton has focused on eliminating the gaps in women’s health, building and strengthening programmes in infertility, minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, gynecologic oncology, family planning, and integrated women’s health care.

On Friday morning, Ms Katie Piper will be awarded an honorary doctorate. Ms Piper is a best-selling international author, inspirational speaker, TV presenter and charity campaigner. Surviving a horrific acid attack in 2008, which caused extensive damage to her face and blindness in one eye, she set up the Katie Piper Foundation which supports survivors of burns, their families and carers and works alongside existing support networks. In 2019, the Foundation achieved a significant milestone, opening a rehabilitation centre in the UK which offers burn survivors the same treatment Katie received in France. In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation reaches out to survivors to provide remote individually tailored programmes of rehabilitation.

On Friday afternoon, Dr Richard Horton will be awarded an honorary doctorate. Dr Horton has been Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet since 1995. This year marks Dr Horton’s 25th year in charge of what has been described as ‘the world’s leading independent general medical journal’. He has a strong interest in global health and medicine’s contribution to culture and works to develop the idea of planetary health – the health of human civilisations and the ecosystems on which they depend. In his most recent book COVID-19 Catastrophe: What’s Gone Wrong and How to Stop it Happening Again, Dr Horton explores the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it the ‘greatest science policy failure in a generation’. He outlines how the world needs to learn from this pandemic and to ensure robust measures are put in place for the next pandemic.

Speaking on RCSI's latest honorary doctorate recipients, Professor Cathal Kelly, Chief Executive/Registrar, RCSI, said: “RCSI’s doctorate recipients could not be more deserving. We are very proud that they, as the most worthy candidates, will join our virtual ceremonies to accept the highest academic award of RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences – the Honorary Doctorate in Science.”

On Friday, 20 November the first ceremony will see more than 550 candidates graduate with Nursing and Midwifery awards, including masters, postgraduate certificates and diplomas. A number of awards will be presented at the ceremony, including the Florence Nightingale Committee of Ireland Award, Mary Frances Crowley Award, Rose Lanigan Medal and the Catherine Cummins Medal.

The conferring celebrations will conclude with the Postgraduate Academic Awards Degree ceremony, which will see a further 300 candidates graduate. Candidates will be conferred with Masters, Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates in Healthcare Management, Leadership, Leadership in Health Professions Education and Quality & Safety in Healthcare Management. At this ceremony, RCSI’s Institute of Leadership and the Irish Hospice Foundation will jointly award the Masters in Loss and Bereavement.