Introducing UCD Health Affairs
By Professor Tim Lynch, Vice Principal for UCD Health Affairs and Chief Academic Officer for IEHG
UCD Health Affairs’ role is to assist the health science schools, and other schools (Science, Engineering, Business, Architecture etc.), at UCD to enhance collaboration with their affiliated academic hospitals. Health Affairs provides a formal channel for cooperation between the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) and UCD, its primary academic partner. We facilitate a closer working relationship between various schools at UCD and their related academic hospitals via the IEHG.
Although many colleagues will be aware of our work, UCD Health Affairs would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to the wider UCD community.
UCD Health Affairs was re-established in 2018 and forms part of the UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences (CHAS) – we are based in Woodview House, one of Belfield’s period houses.
UCD Health Affairs is led by Professor Tim Lynch, Vice Principal for UCD Health Affairs and Chief Academic Officer for the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG). Professor Lynch’s job is, not only to facilitate a closer relationship between UCD and the IEHG, but also to develop teaching, training, research and innovation across the 11 hospitals and their related community health organisations within the IEHG. This includes implementing the strategic vision and direction for healthcare education, research and innovation across the group and ultimately the successful creation of an Academic Health Science System (AHSS). In an AHSS patients in hospitals and the community do better as a result of a better educated staff and improved access to novel research and innovation.
Academic Health Science System (AHSS)
An Academic Health Science Centre is a partnership between a university and a healthcare provider focusing on quality and safe clinical services underpinned by teaching, training, research and innovation. AHSCs ensure that medical research breakthroughs lead to direct clinical benefit for the patient. The Ireland East Hospital group, with its associated General Practices, Community Health Organisations and academic partner UCD, is evolving into an integrated Academic Health Science System – “system” implies not just a hospital-based approach but treating the patient closer to home i.e. in the community. This is a fundamental reshaping of the hospital-university model.
This integrated approach to healthcare, with strong collaboration across the various hospitals, University and community healthcare organisations will drive the development of an Academic Health Science System (AHSS).
Patients have better outcomes when managed in an AHSS because integrating teaching, training, research, and innovation with the clinical services improves recruitment and retention of quality staff, hence ensuring the provision of high-quality evidence-based care and linking staff recruitment and retention to better patient care.
Collaboration between the clinical services and academia hugely benefit patients & society and this clinical-academic collaboration will aid the development of an Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) encompassing IEHG and UCD.
The IEHG will use the strengths of its 11 hospitals linked with UCD to develop academic clinical excellence particularly in genetics, cancer, cardiovascular, women’s and children’s health, clinical neuroscience, radiology, immunology and informatics.
Ireland is known for providing world-class undergraduate education in medicine, nursing and Allied Healthcare Professionals. However, we need to further develop postgraduate education to dovetail seamlessly with the undergraduate programmes. For example, the opening of the Pillar Centre for Transformative Healthcare at the Mater Hospital will allow postgraduate students to train in their speciality and study within a structured innovative academic environment. We will work closely with the various teaching bodies including the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland on this project.
We believe that the development of an Academic Health Science System (AHSS) is a key to the further evolution of Irish healthcare and the Irish economy taking advantage of key societal changes such as the internet of things, rapid access to information via social media, big data and artificial intelligence.
Recent projects and collaborations include the following:
National Irish COVID-19 Biobank (NICB)
The Chief Academic Officers (CAOs) across the 7 Hospital Groups and UCD Health Affairs welcome the announcement from the Minister for Health on the €2 million investment in National Irish COVID-19 Biobank (NICB) on 27th July 2021. Since June 2020, the 7 CAOs from 7 hospital groups proposed the idea of a NICB and have actively engaged with other international biological biobanks, the Department of Health, HSE, and the HRB from concept to application and on to the firm establishment of the National Covid-19 Biobank with the HRB. Read more.
UCD Health Affairs assisted in designating UCD as Dublin’s 5th Vaccination Centre
Dublin’s 5th COVID-19 vaccination centre opened in O’Reilly Hall at UCD on 31st May 2021. It is operated by IEHG, in partnership with UCD. UCD Health Affairs worked closely with IEHG and CHAS management to establish the links required to designate UCD as Dublin’s 5th Vaccination Centre, where many health science students will act as vaccinators. Read more.
Health Affairs Launch COVID-19 Vaccination Webinar
UCD Health Affairs, with the assistance of the Dean of Students Office in UCD, have created a webinar answering some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination on 11th May 2021. The webinar also gives an insight into research in the area of COVID-19 vaccination and treatment. The video is now viewable on the UCD Health Affairs Youtube page: https://youtu.be/rkk4shbcBkc This webinar was chaired by Prof Tim Lynch, VP for UCD Health Affairs and CAO for IEHG. Speakers included Dr Karina Butler, Dr Cathal O’Broin and Dr Nuala O’Connor. Read more.
UCD Health Affairs and Chief Academic Officer Group Annual Report 2020
As Chief Academic Officer of IEHG and Vice Principal of UCD Health Affairs Prof Tim Lynch has been working with his CAO colleagues across the 7 hospital Groups throughout 2020. These meetings were initially established to direct a response from the Universities and Hospital Groups around COVID-19 research at the start of the pandemic in 2020 but progressed to include areas of concern in Irish healthcare – such as genomics, biobanking, simulation training and student placement. List of projects by the CAO Group in 2020 is available on its annual report.