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RCPI annual meeting to focus on clinical leadership, resilience, and climate and health

By Dr Maeve Doyle - 10th Sep 2023

clinical leadership

Dr Maeve Doyle, Dean of Education and Academic Programmes, RCPI, previews the upcoming St Luke’s Symposium

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I am delighted to announce that the RCPI Annual Symposium – St. Luke’s – will take place from Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 October in No 6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2 and online. We will explore the themes of clinical leadership, resilience and climate and health across the three-day event. There are up to 11 CPD credits available.

The programme for our premier annual event has been informed by some of the priority issues identified by our trainees, members, and Fellows through nationwide consultation over the past year. Our expert speakers will share their experiences and learnings, and a series of panel discussions will propose opportunities and solutions as we continue to strengthen healthcare edu- cation in Ireland and work together to deliver the best possible care to our patients.


The Symposium officially begins on Monday 16 October with a visual art exhibition at No 6 Kildare Street, which will be open to event participants and to the public throughout the week. The exhibition features selected works from artists exploring the theme of climate and health in the medium of their choice. This exhibition is part of the College’s commitment to advocacy around the huge challenges we are facing triggered by climate change and its impact on the world’s population. Climate breakdown and human health are intrinsically interwoven. Art is one way of articulating the personal and collective feelings and stories around this challenge, and for envisioning shared solutions that protect our health and the planet.

The exhibition is open throughout the week (16-20 October) and there will be an opportunity to cast your vote in the public choice awards. The exhibition can also be viewed online.

As part of our commitment to providing a space for discussion about the challenges of climate breakdown and developing solutions towards addressing the climate crisis, this year’s public meeting will explore how changes to our own lifestyle can have a positive impact on the planet.

Healthy Planet, Healthy You, which is open to anyone who wishes to attend, will take place on Tuesday 17 October from 5.30pm, in person and online.

We need to find ways to protect our health and protect the planet. How we travel, how we eat, how we consume, how we provide essential services – these can be our stumbling blocks, or they can represent opportunities for a just future. Our speakers will pro- vide practical tips and advice for a healthy future, identifying simple changes we can make to improve our longevity while creating a positive impact on our environment.

Prof Des Cox, Chair of the RCPI policy group on tobacco, will discuss how disposable vapes are harming public health and the environment. GP Dr John Allman will share advice on sustainable diets, and Ms Janis Morrissey, Health Promotion Officer at the Irish Heart Foundation, will provide practical advice on how to become more active and sustainable. Prof Brendan Kelly, Professor of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dub- lin, will share strategies for coping with the challenges of climate change.

Art and medicine

Our much-anticipated Heritage Day, which takes place on the morning of Tuesday 17 October, puts a special focus on the RCPI’s portrait collection and the female artists represented.

Dr Joan Power, RCPI, will chair a unique session featuring talks on medicine and art from a variety of perspectives. Prof Ludmilla Jordanova, Emeritus Professor of History and Visual Culture, Durham University, UK, will present Ways of seeing: Portraits of physicians. Pioneering Cardio- thoracic Surgeon and patron of the arts, Mr Francis Wells, will share his thoughts on the cardiac anatomy of Leonardo DaVinci through the eyes of a contemporary cardiac surgeon; and Gynaecologist, Member of the RCPI Academy, and art enthusiast, Dr Carole Barry-Kinsella, will discuss the in- terface of medicine and the literary arts.

Then we will be joined by art historians Dr Kathryn Milligan (PhD) and Dr Margarita Cappock (PhD), and National Gallery of Ireland Curator Ms Niamh McNally. Dr Milligan will discuss the women and portraiture at the RCPI. Dr Cappock will explore the work of Sarah Cecilia Harrison – an artist, social campaigner, and city councillor; and Ms McNally will look at the life in pictures of Estella Solomons. The RCPI’s Annual Stated Meeting will take place on the morning of Wednesday 18 October, during which Dr Diarmuid O’Shea will be formally elected and sworn in as President of the College. The College will also welcome new Fellows that day.

We are all learning and training in an ever-evolving world, which requires constant agility and often looking at things in new ways

Clinical leadership and resilience

On Thursday 19 October, the flagship Symposium event commences from 9.45am with a welcome from new President Dr O’Shea.

We are all learning and training in an ever-evolving world which requires constant agility and often looking at things in new ways. Our first session features Dr Sean Casey, Training Lead, HSE National Doc- tors Training and Planning, who will discuss

physician wellbeing; followed by Dr Karolina Gorzel, SHO; Dr Ciara Kelly, SpR; Dr Asmaa Milyani, International Residency Graduate; Dr Feras Jawad Alkjarouf, International Fellowship Graduate; and Dr Orla O’Carroll, Consultant, who will share their personal accounts of their journeys in medicine.

Our keynote address will be delivered by Prof Helen Boucher, Tufts University of Medicine, US, who will receive an Honorary Fellowship of the College. Prof Boucher is a leading physician and expert in infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance. She is the first female Dean of Tufts Medical School and has led significant change in medical education and training at the school, with a strong focus on health justice and equity.

We will then hear a firsthand account of the fire at Wexford General Hospital from the leadership team who managed this major emergency as it unfolded on 1 March 2023. Ms Linda O’Leary and Dr Emma O’Sullivan, both from Wexford General Hospital, and Mr Ian Brennan from the National Ambulance Service, will discuss the critical response – a lesson in collaboration and resilience when faced with adversity. They will then be joined for a panel discussion by Mr Ben O’Sullivan and Prof Ríona Mulcahy from University Hospital Waterford, who had to implement an emergency plan to accommodate an influx of patients evacuated from Wexford.

Continuing the theme of preparedness, Prof Dara Byrne and Dr Paul O’Connor will discuss transformative simulation, sharing their vision for simulation and how it is transforming medical education and training to meet healthcare needs now and into the future. Prof Byrne is National Simulation Lead for the HSE, and Dr O’Connor is a Human Factors Psychologist at the University of Galway.

Climate and health

Our final session will focus on climate change and health, including voices from all of our faculties and institutes, to consider the challenges ahead for health systems, training and education, and population health.

During what promises to be a lively and wide-ranging discussion on this critical issue, Dr Philip Crowley, HSE National Director of Strategy and Research, will provide an update and discuss the role of all HSE staff in the success of the recently launched Climate Action Strategy 2023-2050.

We will also be joined by Dr Keith Ian Quintyne, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, who will share public health perspectives on climate and health; Dr Colm Byrne, Consultant Geriatrician at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, who will address the effects of climate change on the older person; and Dr Ana Rakovac, Consultant Chemical Pathologist, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, who will speak about making pathology sustainable.

Prof Trevor Duffy, RCPI Head of Health-care Leadership, and Dr Cathy Burke, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at Cork University Hospital, will present RCPI’s position paper on climate and health, which sets out some principles for future engagement and will be informed by this discussion.

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