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The RCPI awards Canavan Medal and Reuben Harvey Memorial Prize to top scoring MRCPI and final year medical students

By Mindo - 22nd Feb 2021

The RCPI has announced that Dr Georgia Richard, St James’s
Hospital, Dublin, is the winner of this year’s Canavan Medal. This major award is given to the doctor who scored the highest marks in the MRCPI in General Medicine examination each year, demonstrating outstanding knowledge and skill in passing every component of the Membership examination on their first attempt.

The award is named in honour of the late Dr Desmond Canavan, an esteemed past President of the College and a former Director of Examinations. It is awarded annually, at the discretion of the President of the College and on the recommendation of the Examiners.  

The College has also announced the 2020 winners of the prestigious Reuben Harvey Memorial Prize, which is awarded by the RCPI each year to the students who achieve the highest marks in their class for final year examinations in medicine, surgery, and obstetrics. The winners are as follows:

  • University of Limerick: Dr Natalie Coyle.
  • University College Dublin: Dr David O’Driscoll.
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland: Dr Dónal Roche.
  • Queen’s University Belfast: Dr Jason Nicoletti.
  • National University of Ireland, Galway:
  • Dr Jennifer McGarry.
  • University College Cork: Dr Colm Hannon.
  • Trinity College Dublin: Dr Jack Hartnett.

Commenting on the achievement of this year’s award winners, Prof Mary Horgan, President of the RCPI, said: “Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. As former Dean of the School of Medicine in University College Cork, I know that passing final year exams is a big moment in the life of a young doctor and it is important to recognise those students who achieve the highest grade in their respective schools. You are very welcome as new members of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland – your College looks forward to supporting you throughout your medical career.”

About the Reuben Harvey Memorial Prize

Dr Reuben Joshua Harvey was born on 17 April 1845, the only child of Dr Joshua Harvey of Cork. Dr Harvey studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin, as well as in Wurzburg and Vienna. He won a number of prizes from Trinity, before graduating with MB and MCH in 1870 and with an MD in 1873.

An excellent anatomist and physiologist, Dr Harvey lectured in physiology in the Carmichael College of Medicine and was a demonstrator in anatomy at Trinity College. He was a popular teacher and his reputation attracted many students to his classes. Dr Harvey also held appointments as Assistant Physician to the House of Industry Hospital, Physician to the Cork Street Fever Hospital, and the Hospital for Diseases of the Throat, all in Dublin.

As former Dean of the School of Medicine in University College Cork, I know that passing final year exams is a big moment in the life of a young doctor

Dr Harvey died in December 1881, at the age of just 36, from typhoid fever. He left a wife and three young children, with a fourth born posthumously.
In 1882, a number of Dr Harvey’s friends established the Reuben Harvey Memorial Prize in his memory.

Open to students from the Dublin schools of medicine, it was originally awarded triennially for an essay on animal physiology based on original research. The first prize was awarded in 1885 to Henry Bewley for an essay on the changes occurring in the skin in some forms of disease. Bewley, a member of the family who owned Bewley’s café, went on to become Treasurer of the RCPI for over 40 years.

In 1972, the criteria for the prize were changed, and it was decided to award the prize annually to the student with the highest aggregated mark from each of the final year medicine classes of the RCSI, Trinity College, and University College Dublin.

In 2018 the RCPI announced that all final year medical students in Ireland were now eligible for the Reuben Harvey Memorial Prize. This meant that the top scoring final year medical students in the National University of Ireland, Galway, University of Limerick, University College Cork, and Queen’s University Belfast also receive this award in recognition of their academic excellence.

To find out more about the awards and this year’s winners, visit

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