6 April 2023

Dear Fellows and Members,

It has been a busy time here in the College and it gives me particular pleasure to see the increase in activity from month to month as we all get used to meeting up in person again.

Each event that returns from virtual or a period of suspension to bring people together gives me the opportunity to meet up with Fellows and Members of our surgical community both at home and abroad and reminds me how vital collaboration and personal connection are to every aspect of our work.

Here in Ireland it is just lovely to see the longer evenings, a bit more sunshine, and across the road in St Stephen’s Green all the spring flowers are in bloom.

At the end of February, Professor Oscar Traynor, Professor of Postgraduate Surgical Training, and Brenda Farrell, Development Executive in RCSI’s Department of Surgical Affairs, along with representatives of four other postgraduate training bodies in Ireland, travelled to the Gulf for the formal launch of a new collaborative website promoting opportunities for postgraduate clinical training in Ireland.

Last week RCSI announced the appointment of Professor Juan Carlos Puyana to the O’Brien Chair of Global Surgery. As a trauma/acute care surgeon and a global health educator, Professor Puyana brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role and I am very much looking forward to working alongside him, his team and the wider School of Population Health, and to seeing the important work they will do over the coming years.

Also last week Dr Niamh Keenan, Lecturer in Postgraduate Surgical Education, was delighted to welcome Professor Paul Ramphal of the University of the West Indies to RCSI, to facilitate a two-day cardiac surgical skills course for our cardiothoracic trainees. Professor Ramphal, a cardiothoracic surgeon, well known in the field of simulation, has developed the Ramphal Cardiac Surgery Simulator, a high-fidelity simulator allowing trainees to practice complete cardiac operations in a realistic environment. Dr Keenan and many of our own cardiac surgeons and trainees were hugely enthusiastic about the experience of bringing cardiac surgical theatre to the RCSI wetlab, a wonderful learning and teaching experience. We are extremely grateful to Professor Ramphal, who has allowed us the use of his simulator for the next year.

In March I had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Andrew Morris to the College to receive the 2023 Cameron Award. Professor Morris is the inaugural Director of Health Data Research UK, and this award recognises his life-long commitment to promoting data and informatics in population health.

Professor Morris is the second recipient of the award, which was established to honour the legacy of Sir Charles A. Cameron, a former president of RCSI and a leading public health doctor in Victorian Dublin. Through this award, we acknowledge the importance of the science and practice of population health. Our new School of Population Health builds on Cameron’s legacy and works across disciplines to leverage big data in order to reduce health inequalities as part of the global effort towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being.

On Wednesday, 19 April we will travel to Tullamore for our RCSI Doing the Rounds Roadshow. I hope as many surgical Fellows and Members, Trainees and NCHDs working in the midlands will meet with us, so that we can inform ourselves about the issues specific to the region and be better equipped to support all of you in our surgical community and represent your interests. I would be delighted if you would join me and the team for dinner afterwards. Registration is free and now open here.

On Friday, 28 April, I will confer an Honorary Fellowship on Professor Graham Clarke, ENT surgeon in Melbourne, who pioneered multi-channel cochlear implants to treat profound deafness, the first major advance in facilitating deaf children and adults to communicate in the world of sound. I had the pleasure of working with Professor Clarke early in my career so It gives me particular pleasure to present this award to him.

I am thrilled to see progress being made on our new Project Connect site at 118 St Stephen’s Green. In March a significant and visible milestone was reached, with the first of two tower cranes being erected just behind the Unitarian Church. This will remain in position for the duration of construction until completion of Project Connect in June 2025.

We truly have a lot to look forward to and I look forward to working with you as we make progress together.

With best wishes, 

Professor Laura Viani
RCSI President