7 September 2023

Dear Fellows and Members,

As we welcome students and surgical trainees back to campus for the start of the new academic year, I hope you’ve been able to enjoy a break over the summer months and some time to rest and recharge.

RCSI is dedicated to inspiring quality and to maintaining the highest standards. Our mission to educate, nurture and discover for the benefit of human health underpins everything we do. Our undergraduate and postgraduate education and training is wholly focused on equipping our trainees and students with the knowledge, skills and competence they need to become outstanding leaders in their field. I am so proud as President to support and encourage our healthcare professionals and surgical trainees as they navigate their journey into, and through, their careers in healthcare.

We are immensely proud of our Fellows, Members and Alumni, what they have achieved and their commitment to excellence in patient-centred care. In August we were delighted to welcome many of them back for the 2023 Alumni Gathering, which was a resounding success. 520 alumni and guests participated in a three-day programme of events and activities. It marked the largest ever Alumni reunion, which is a testament to how engaged and supportive our community is with RCSI. The reunion ended on a high note with the magnificent gala dinner taking place in the Mansion House on Saturday evening.

I am just back from an inspiring 48th annual Peter Freyer Symposium with a rich programme of activity and speakers and where I delivered my keynote address ‘Journey out of Silence’ and had the pleasure of meeting colleagues from around the country.

It is deeply important to me that I connect with Fellows and Members and work together for meaningful change, and so I continue to seek opportunities to collaborate. On Thursday, 5 October, I will visit Cork University Hospital as part of our RCSI ‘Doing the Rounds’ Roadshow, which allows us to listen to your views and concerns about local issues so that we can support you. I very much hope that all surgical Fellows and Members, trainees and NCHDs from the South and South-West will be able to attend and join us for dinner locally later. You can register for the Cork Regional meeting here.

Later in October I will attend the ACS Clinical Congress, a hugely important meeting for us, where I will host the RCSI North American Chapter of Fellows reception. I want to extend a warm invitation to all of our Fellows and Members travelling to the Congress in Boston to join me on Monday, 23 October from 5-8pm in the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport, Boston. Please register here.

Shortly following our return from Boston we look forward to hosting the 45th Millin Meeting and Lecture on Friday, 10 November in Dublin, with an exciting programme including RCSI National Surgical Research Support Centre Millin Research Symposium and a Keynote Lecture, delivered by Professor Michael J. McKirdy, President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.  You can view the full programme and register here.

Back in RCSI Dublin, we continue to leverage the knowledge and insights of our experts to help people better understand their health. We were pleased to launch the RCSI MyHealth 2023/24 series. This fantastic programme brings reliable and trustworthy healthcare information to the public. You can see the upcoming episodes and register here.

In August the National Clinical Programme in Surgery, in collaboration with HSE Acute Operations and the Healthcare Pricing Office, launched updated standards for acute surgical assessment units in Ireland, providing a welcome roadmap to providing high quality acute surgical care in Ireland. You can read the full report here.

Also published recently by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in the European Heart Journal were new guidelines on acute coronary syndromes. Professor Robert Byrne, Chair of Cardiovascular Research at RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences and Director of Cardiology at the Mater Private Hospital, chaired the guidelines taskforce. See the new guidelines covering acute coronary syndromes.

Despite the reduction in student activity over the summer, the College was a busy place to be and RCSI welcomed over 150 people into 123 St Stephen's Green to celebrate Heritage Week 2023 and the 250th anniversary of the birth of Irish surgeon and anatomist Abraham Colles. With the support of Heritage Council funding, a dedicated virtual exhibition was launched celebrating Colles’ life as a student, educator, and innovator. Digitised material from the Abraham Colles Papers in the care of RCSI Library Heritage Collections was also published online for the first time on the RCSI Digital Heritage Collections website, a wonderful opportunity to explore the rich history of our College.

We will also open our doors to the public and celebrate this significant 250th anniversary on the evening of Friday, 22 September for Culture Night 2023, where visitors will be able to take a self-guided tour and enjoy a fascinating exhibition highlighting the life and legacy of Colles. For more information and to register, visit this page.

Speaking of rich history and RCSI’s commitment to our art collection and the intersection of art and science, I had the honour of accepting, on behalf of RCSI, the gift of a magnificent new stained-glass artwork called ‘Floreat’, meaning to flourish. This artwork was commissioned by the RCSI Association of Medical and Dental Graduates and gifted to RCSI in recognition of the ongoing relationship between the alumni community and the University. It was crafted by the artist George Walsh, who also created the stained-glass windows located in the Albert Lecture Theatre. The artwork is rich in symbolism with some elements of the RCSI Coat of Arms incorporated into this contemporary artwork and a few hidden nuggets. It is a fabulous addition to the RCSI collection.

Last week, Professor Karen Morgan marked her last day at Perdana University (PU-RCSI) before joining RCSI and UCD Malaysia Campus (RUMC) as President in September 2023. I know that Professor Morgan will be sorely missed by colleagues in PU-RCSI and we all wish her the best in her new role as RUMC President. The very best of luck also to Professor Raghu Varadarajan, who takes the reins as Dean of PU-RCSI.

Speaking of farewells, as we say goodbye to summer we look forward to a busy autumn and I very much look forward to meeting you at the events we are planning in the campus but also further afield, and to working with you in the pursuit of excellence in surgical care.

Best wishes,

Professor Laura Viani
RCSI President