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Prof Laura Viani elected as new President of RCSI

By Reporter - 07th Jun 2022

Prof Laura Viani (right) and Prof Deborah McNamara have been elected as President and Vice President of RCSI, respectively. It is the first time these positions have been held by females concurrently. Photo: Conor Healy/Picture It Photography

RCSI has announced the election of Prof Laura Viani as the new President of the College and Prof Deborah McNamara as Vice President. Prof Viani takes up office following the College’s biennial Council elections, which have seen a female President and female Vice President elected together for the first time in RCSI’s history.

Prof Viani is a Consultant Otolaryngologist and Neurotologist at Beaumont Hospital and the Children’s University Hospital Temple Street. She is Director and Professor of the National Cochlear Implant Programme and Hearing Research Centre and is founder of this national specialty.  She replaces outgoing President Prof P. Ronan O’Connell.

Prof Deborah McNamara, a Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon at Beaumont Hospital, has been elected as the new Vice President.  She has built a deep experience of the healthcare system as co-lead of the National Clinical Programme in Surgery and as a national healthcare quality improvement leader. 

Speaking on her appointment, Prof Laura Viani said: “It is my great honour to be elected today as President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

“My presidency of RCSI follows the global pandemic and HSE cyber-attack which have presented our surgical community with challenges that will shape the future of surgery for years to come.

“With unprecedented numbers of patients having operations cancelled and on surgical waiting lists, it is critical that we secure the future of surgical services for our patients. Providing the highest standards of surgical training and fostering of surgical professional excellence is central to maintaining these vital services.

“The rise of online learning has opened up new opportunities to bring together surgeons from around the world, united in the task of re-establishing safe, timely and equitable access to elective surgery. I look forward to working with our community of 10,000 Fellows and Members across 87 countries and sharing our expertise as we build a virtual network for continuing surgical education.

“I am particularly conscious of supporting our surgical trainees whose training has been disrupted over the past few years.  RCSI will continue to use the excellent facilities of the National Clinical and Surgical Skills Centre at 26 York Street to provide innovative ways of training to complement hospital experience. I will advocate on behalf of our trainees to ensure our future surgeons will gain a world-class training experience.”

Prof Viani is internationally renowned as a leader in hearing sciences and surgery.

Over 30 years ago, she conceived of the idea of a National Cochlear Implant Programme. Prof Viani persuaded the Department of Health of its necessity and established the programme at Beaumont Hospital.

In 2016, she set up a multi-institutional hearing research centre involving RCSI, Trinity College Dublin and universities in the US and Latin America.

For more than 25 years she has been involved in RCSI training and as a member of Council in which role she has chaired and co-chaired many committees. She has contributed to surgical education by her contribution to the training programmes, organising conferences at home and abroad, supervision of higher degrees and delivery of keynote lectures and through her published work.

Prof Viani is past-President of The Royal Academy of Medicine of Ireland – Otolaryngology Section, Honorary Associate Professor of Surgery at RCSI, Honorary Adjunct Professor at Trinity College Dublin and Visiting Professor to centres in Australia, Middle East and Latin America. She completed her training in Ireland, UK and Switzerland and is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin.

The 2022 – 2024 Council comprises the following members:

President: Professor Laura Viani

Vice-President: Professor Deborah McNamara

Council: (in order of year of Fellowship)

Mr James Geraghty

Professor Kevin Conlon

Mr David Moore

Professor K. Simon Cross

Professor Michael Kerin

Professor Thomas H. Lynch

Ms Margaret O’Donnell

Professor Camilla Carroll

Mr Sean Johnston

Mr Paddy Kenny

Professor Kilian Walsh

Mr John Caird

Ms Bridget Egan

Mr Keith Synnott

Professor John Quinlan

Professor Paul Ridgway

Professor Ronan Cahill

Professor David Healy

Professor Calvin Coffey

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