IGHN Conference 2024 – Speakers

June 13, 2024

Irish Global Health Network Conference  

Fostering Humanity: Promoting Health Equity for a Better Planet 

Co-hosted with the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery  

02nd – 03rd October 2024  



Speakers – More to be Announced!


Dr. Tony Holohan is a highly respected medical professional with a distinguished career in public health. A 1991 medical graduate of University College Dublin, Dr. Holohan initially trained in general practice before specialising in public health medicine. He began his significant contributions to health policy as Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health and Children in Ireland in 2001. During his tenure, he worked extensively on key policy areas, including cancer control, prevention, primary care, health information, and health technology assessment.

In 2008, Dr. Holohan was appointed as Chief Medical Officer, a role he held until 2022. Currently, Dr. Holohan serves as the Director of the Centre for One Health and Adjunct Full Professor of Public Health at University College Dublin. He also holds an adjunct professorship in the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin. Beyond his academic and professional roles, he is a board member of the Irish Hospice Foundation and the Chair of FutureNeuro, reflecting his commitment to advancing healthcare and research.

Dr. Greg Martin is a distinguished medical doctor with specialist training in public health, currently serving as the Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in Ireland. Under his leadership, the HPSC stands as the nation’s premier agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases, playing a crucial role within the Health Service Executive. Dr. Martin is also the Editor-in-Chief of the esteemed journal *Globalization and Health*, contributing to the global dialogue on health policies and practices. Additionally, he is a prolific content creator, hosting two YouTube channels focused on global health and R programming, respectively. Beyond his contributions to public health and education, Dr. Martin is one of the founding directors of Wellola, a healthcare technology company. For more information on HPSC, please visit [www.hpsc.ie](http://www.hpsc.ie) or contact [email protected].

Breda Gahan is a Registered General Nurse (RGN, Mater Hospital trained) and Midwife (RM, Coombe Hospital trained) in Ireland, with a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (1994, with field research thesis on HIV prevention with young people in Tanzania).

Breda worked on HIV and AIDS as a nurse in St James’s Hospital in Dublin in the late 1980’s, before treatment was available.

Breda has 35 years field and HQ (Dublin & New York) experience in Health and HIV work in various countries with Concern including Iraq (pre-Concern 2 yrs), Sudan (2 yrs), Cambodia (3 yrs) and Mozambique (3 yrs). Breda was the recipient of the inaugural Dóchas Global Citizen of the Year Award in May 2015.

Until now, Breda has been Senior Health and HIV Adviser at Concern Worldwide leading on maternal, child health, HIV and health systems strengthening work with Concern country field teams and host country Ministry of Health partners.

Christian Acemah serves as Executive Director (also referred to as Executive Secretary) of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS). Previously, Christian was Director for Strategy and Program Development for the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Africa program. He was concurrently a Visiting Professor of African Studies and Social Sciences at Quest University, Canada, for six years.

Additionally, Christian experienced the internal workings of a global health partnership as Executive Officer, Policy and Research at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in Geneva, Switzerland. At the same time, GAVI transitioned from being part of UNICEF to becoming a Swiss foundation. He has worked in the Sudan-Uganda program of the Lutheran World Federation on refugee health and HIV/AIDS M&E. Christian holds a first degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from St. John’s College (Santa Fe, New Mexico), a graduate degree in International Development and Strategy from Georgetown University (Washington, DC), and qualified as an international corporate governance professional through The Chartered Governance Institute of UK and Ireland. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Crises from the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM).

Dr Ciara Conlan is a specialist registrar in Public Health, and a co-founder of Access to Medicines Ireland and Doctors for Vaccine Equity. Access to Medicines Ireland is a campaign group for a system of medical research and development that delivers the medicines, vaccines and diagnostics the world needs, at a fair price. She has previously worked clinically in infectious diseases and virology in Ireland and has also worked in Malawi. She holds a master’s degree in Public Health and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Emer O’Neill is a seasoned Moderator, Host and Public Speaker with vast experience in the areas of Sustainability, Global Citizenship, Racism, Inclusion and Equity, Women/Girls in Sport, Children and Youth Education and Mental Health Advocacy.

As a TV Presenter she has a bright and relatable presence on camera with an ability to connect with her audience and guests.

She is a mother of three with a BA in Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration with 15 years teaching experience. She is a retired Irish International Basketball player representing Ireland at multiple age levels and a recipient of a full scholarship to the USA to play basketball. Assistant Coach at Barry University, Miami, FL 2012/14 and Head Coach of the Under 20’s Women’s Irish Basketball Team 2015 competing in the European Championships in Montenegro.

Emer is an advocate for promoting positive body image and self love. She has a TV show on RTE2 “Keep It Up” investigating the question of “Why girls drop out of sport during the ages of 12-14?” It is a six part docoseries available on the RTE Player.

She is currently the Global Citizenship Education Officer with the Irish Girl Guides and is well known as a presenter on Home School Hub on RTE, educating our children during Covid with her segment “Exercise with Emer”. She also presented the Today show on RTE and has broadcast the St.Patrick’s Day Parade 2022 and 2023 live on RTE.

Emer is an anti racism activist working to bring awareness to the lack of diversity in the media, state jobs, positions of leadership and in our education system here in Ireland. Her Tedx talk, challenging unconscious bias and racism called “Don’t Put Me in a Box” consists of her own personal journey being Black Irish and challenges people to be actively anti racist.

She is a founding member of Bray For Love an anti racism group in Bray, Co.Wicklow. Emer has written policy on Anti Racism and developed EDI workshops for schools and organisations. Emer sat as a member on the steering committee for the Anti Bullying Action Plan 2023 under Minister Norma Foley.

Emer is the author of a children’s book called “The Same But Different” a tale about a little girl overcoming her self doubt and journey to embrace her differences and uniqueness. The book includes characters with a cochlear implant, hijab, wheelchair user and strives to be educational and inclusive. It is a book that has helped educators and parents start conversations surrounding racism, inclusion and loving yourself just the way you are!

Eunice is a current Global Health PhD scholar at the Division of Population Health, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Her study, which focuses on community-based participatory research (CBPR)approach and community capacity building in household air pollution in rural Malawi, is qualitatively implementing, exploring, and evaluating the different constructs of CBPR.

Before starting her research career in 2018, Eunice worked as a registered nurse in emergency, TB/HIV, and childhood immunisation departments and on several community-level projects, including the WHO ‘Kick Polio program’. She received her MPH from the University College of Cork, where she focused on Health Promotion Studies. Her thesis titled ‘Household air pollution and anaemia in women and children: a cross-sectional study of six sub-Saharan African countries’ was awarded the Jacqueline Hogan Bronze Medal in Public Health and Epidemiology in 2018.

As a student representative, she currently lends her voice and time with the Irish Global Health Network Student Outreach Team and RCSI Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion unit.

Eunice is passionate about reducing the inequalities in health systems, projects, climate change, and increasing the awareness of mental health amongst first responders. The vision is to increase engagement and participation and bring the voices of the farthest left behind to the forefront of global health solutions.

Fionnuala Moran is an Irish broadcaster, sustainability influencer & DJ, leading by doing in the sustainable living space.The London-born presenter moved to Ireland at the age of two, where she enjoyed a sport-filled upbringing in Bray, Co Wicklow, with the Garden of Ireland’s maritime mountainous landscapes influencing her love for nature.

Keep up to date with climate news by watching Fionnuala’s sustainability segments on Virgin Media’s The Six O’Clock Show. You can hear her celebrating new Irish music and more presenting on RTÉ 2FM. She also enjoys working as an event MC, DJ and voiceover artist.

She’s a double DCU graduate. Fionnuala’s BA in Communications and MSc in Climate Change: Policy, Media & Society inform her climate communications philosophies. From her extensive work in the space she finds a ‘support over shame’ and ‘progress over perfection’ framing approach to be the most impactful way to empower people to get involved with climate action.

Fionnuala uses her social and traditional media platforms to educate, showcasing fun and accessible ways people can up their sustainability. Her content has a particular focus on sustainable fashion and sustainable interiors, as she renovates her 1950s Dublin home with her fiancé Rebel Phoenix. They are the proud pawrents of two rescue salukis, Farrah and Alfie, from My Lovely Horse Rescue where Fionnuala serves as a charity ambassador.

An advocacy leadership professional with two decades of experience, Fionnula’s work has secured policy and financing outcomes from the UK government, with partners in low- and middle-income countries and at the United Nations. A graduate in both Law and Journalism, she has a passion for strong advocacy communications and a special interest in HIV prevention, human rights and gender equality. At Frontline AIDS, shelead a team of 15, focussed on these key areas alongside pandemic preparedness, health and community systems and vaccine justice in my current role as Head of Global Advocacy.

Professor Puyana joins RCSI from the University of Pittsburgh where he was Director of Global Health-Surgery. He is a renowned trauma/acute care surgeon and a global health educator. Professor Puyana is an expert in developing international capacity-building programmes in trauma, trauma registries, and trauma datasets in global surgery. He has established reciprocal mentoring collaborations with several universities and trauma centres from Latin America and Kenya.

He has been the principal investigator on six global health research and training grant programmes on capacity building, medical informatics, and e-health. These grants have supported short and long-term educational training programmes for health professionals for several Latin American countries.

During his time with the Pan-American Trauma Society, he was an influential leader actively promoting international collaborations and educational programs in the areas of trauma ultrasound, disaster and emergency response and trauma courses across Latin America. In 2017, Professor Puyana was appointed to the Global Health Committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and he co-authored the publication Global Health and the Future Role of the United States. As a global health trauma surgeon, Professor Puyana has worked in underserved emergency rooms and low-resource public hospitals in numerous Latin American cities.

A Political Scientist, Peggy has worked at the international, regional and national level over the last twenty-five years highlighting the need for gender equity in biomedical research, public health and social policy. Peggy is responsible for policy and strategy for the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH). Prior to her role as Director General at the EIWH, Peggy was Director of Development at the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin and Director of the Research and Education Foundation at the Irish College of General Practitioners.

As an advocate for a health literate public, Peggy developed a cancer communication and information initiative for and by women to ensure cancer information was women led. As part of her commitment to gender equality, Peggy has been a member of the WHO expert group on gender mainstreaming and contributed to the WHO Women’s Health Strategy for Europe. In 2014 Peggy worked on amendments to the Clinical Trials Regulation to ensure gender and age were included. Peggy is also former President of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA). Peggy has initiated and contributed to EU projects such as Engender-Inventory of good practices in Europe for promoting gender equity in health; Engendering Research Ethics Committees (RECs) and EUGenMed, leading the research and the workshop on the inclusion of Sex and Gender in Healthcare Professional Education. In 2019, the Minister for Health in Ireland appointed Peggy co-chair of the Women’s Health Task Force. Peggy’s research and advocacy work supports gender equity, ageing, patient and disability rights as well as the implications of social determinants on health and wellbeing.In October 2021, the WHO Academy Quality Committee announced the appointment of Peggy to its Board and chair of the patient and community engagement working group Peggy developed the EIWH EU Manifesto for Women’s Health and in October 2023 Peggy and the EIWH launched the Women’s Health Interest Group in the EU Parliament in Brussels.

Passionate about making a difference, Lawlor has spent over a decade wearing many hats - educator, communicator, community leader, researcher, trainer, facilitator, and grassroots activist - all in the pursuit of health equity, better HIV/sexual health education, and greater access to medicines. His journey has taken him from civil society initiatives to grassroots movements, always with a focus on human rights.

Co-founder of Access to Medicine Ireland and a member of the European AIDS Treatment Group and UNITAID Communities Delegation. He also loves co-hosting the PozVibe Podcast with co-star, Enda McGrattan, where they bring the voices of people living with HIV and our allies in Ireland and around the world to the forefront. Lawlor has recently completed his PhD at Dublin City University which explored HIV/HEP C treatment activism in Ukraine. And has been awarded his PhD (graduation pending).




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