Operation Childlife Travel Fellowship awarded to Dr Danielle McLaughlin and Dr Dawn Deacy

  • Global surgery
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Dr Danielle McLaughlin and Dr Dawn Deacy have been announced by Operation Childlife and RCSI as the first recipients of the Operation Childlife Fellowship.

This prestigious bursary, awarded jointly by RCSI and Operation Childlife, aims at supporting surgical trainees or medical professionals in gaining additional expertise by participating in international paediatric healthcare missions, while also conducting research into the areas of altruism and global health in collaboration with local medical professional and Operation Childlife members.

Dr McLaughlin, who has recently completed Higher Specialist Training in Paediatric Surgery at RCSI, is currently undertaking subspecialty training as a locum consultant paediatric surgeon in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Her academic achievements are reflected in a number of awards and prizes, the completion of a PhD, as well as over 40 peer-reviewed publications and presentations. She has particular interests in leadership, mentorship, quality improvement and simulation training.

Dr Deacy is undertaking GP training in Dublin, due for completion in 2026, and is currently posted in Beaumont Hospital. She holds an honours degree in mathematics and had previously undertaken training in paediatric surgery at RCSI. She is a medical director of Hand in Hand, a children’s charity and has volunteered in Tanzania with paediatric patients from Children’s Health Ireland. She has postgraduate qualifications in medical device science, has a master’s degree in bioinnovation from the University of Galway and is completing a diploma in children’s health with the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health.

Dr McLaughlin said: “I am enthused by the honour and opportunity afforded to me by the award of this fellowship. Exposure to global surgery has influenced my drive and dedication for training in paediatric surgery. I view this fellowship as a formalised route to establish a relationship with Operation Childlife, to understand the needs and challenges that missions embrace, and so form a beginning to a consultant career marked by altruism and involvement in global surgery provision.”

Dr Deacy said: “I am beyond excited to have received the fellowship. I have admired the work of Operation Childlife for many years and am delighted to have the opportunity to join their team.”

Upskilling professionals

Operation Childlife is an Irish based charity with the vision 'that all children deserve compassionate and expert healthcare, which should be delivered in their own environment'.

To this end, Operation Childlife brings bring life-saving and transforming surgeries and other healthcare initiatives to children in low and middle-income countries, while also educating and upskilling local medical professionals, thereby adding capacity and making local healthcare systems more sustainable.

Global health

Operation Childlife’s mission, vision and values are all driven by medical altruism, which underpins all of their activities and a central goal of their operation is to encourage and grow a commitment to altruism amongst medical students, trainees and professionals.

Operation Childlife operates to best international practice and wish to be both evidence-based and to contribute to the evidence base in the areas of medical altruism and global health.

This fellowship reflects RCSI’s commitment to improving health and well-being, which is Sustainable Development Goal 3. The institution has a track-record in supporting the global effort to improve access to safe and timely surgical care in communities with significant unmet need.

Find more information about the Operation Childlife Clinical Travel Fellowship here.