RCSI Vice-President Prof Deborah McNamara awarded Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons

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Professor Deborah McNamara, RCSI, at the conferring of her honorary fellowship of the American College of Surgeons.

Professor Deborah McNamara, Vice-President RCSI, consultant general and colorectal surgeon at Beaumont Hospital and co-lead of the National Clinical Programme for Surgery, has been made an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Professor McNamara completed her basic and higher surgical training in general surgery in Ireland and published her MD thesis on the subject of angiogenesis under the supervision of Professor David Bouchier-Hayes. She then completed fellowship training in coloproctology at Hôpital Saint Antoine, Paris, where she specialised in the operative management of rectal cancer.

Professor McNamara also holds qualifications in quality improvement, leadership and implementation science. 

During her training, Professor McNamara received the Patey Prize of the Surgical Research Society, the Meath Hospital Senior Clinical Medal in Medicine and Surgery, the Arthur Ball Prize in Surgery, and the De Renzy Centenary Prize. In addition, she delivered the 2005 Millin Lecture, a prestigious award recognising excellence in original surgical research. 

Following her appointment as a consultant general and colorectal surgeon at Beaumont Hospital in 2003, she was appointed clinical director for surgery at Beaumont Hospital, where she has led the development of the hospital’s colorectal cancer biobank and contributed to research collaborations between Beaumont clinicians and RCSI-affiliated scientists.  

She founded the betterbeaumont quality improvement learning collaborative in 2014 to support a range of hospital-based improvement activities.  

A leader in surgery 

Among her many roles in leadership and teaching, she has guided the Rectal Cancer Lead Clinician Group of the Health Service Executive National Cancer Control Programme.  

Through her work with the National Clinical Programme in Surgery, she has helped colleagues in all surgical specialties to publish implementable evidence-based policies and care pathways that will improve the delivery of surgical care in Ireland. 

Professor McNamara is the first woman to be appointed a consultant colorectal surgeon in Ireland and has participated in efforts to advance gender equity in the surgical profession, including as chair of the RCSI Short-Life Working Group on Gender Diversity in Surgery, which generated a groundbreaking report that inspired changes in Ireland’s surgical environment. Her recent honors have included the 2019 Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award from the Association of Women Surgeons. 

Professor Laura Viani, RCSI President, said: “Professor Deborah McNamara is an outstanding leader and role model for the surgical profession. Across her career she has emphasised the importance of quality improvement and evidence-based decision-making and her leadership continues to shape the delivery of surgical care in Ireland. I extend my sincere congratulations to Professor McNamara on the occasion of her Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons.” 

Mr Kieran Ryan, Managing Director for Surgical Affairs at RCSI, said: “Professor McNamara continues to have a transformative impact on the practice of surgery in Ireland, and further afield. She is a leader in promoting excellence in the profession of surgery and in collaborating with the health service to drive improvements which ultimately benefit patients. We are proud that she has been awarded the highest recognition by the American College of Surgeons, an award that is richly deserved.”