ISHA President - Dr. Serena O Connell, University of Galway

Executive Committee Member

Dr. Serena O Connell was elected to the ISHA Executive Committee at the 2020 AGM.

Serena currently works as a GP in the Student Health Centre in University of Galway. Having graduated in Medicine from University of Galway in 2006 and following her internship year, Serena worked in Emergency Medicine in Ireland and Australia for a number of years where she gained significant experience across a wide number of specialities.

Serena entered the Ballinasloe GP Training scheme in 2010, graduating as a GP (MICGP) in 2014.

With a continued passion for emergency medicine Serena volunteers as a medic at various motorbike rallies around Ireland. Equipped with emergency medical supplies she rides alongside the other motorcyclists and is usually the first on scene if there is an incident.

Serena's areas of special interest in medicine include women's health (DRCOG London 2011), dermatology, oncology and she has a particular interest in mental health. 

Serena, who really enjoys working at the Student Health Unit at University of Galway, says "there is never a dull moment and I consider it a privilege to be involved in the care of our emerging generations"!

ISHA Secretary-Irene McHugh, University of Galway

Irene was elected to the ISHA Executive Committee in 2021. She has worked as a nurse at the Student Health Unit in University of Galway since 2019. She is a dual qualified nurse including general and children's nursing. Before joining third level health services, she was a GP practice nurse for over ten years. Irene enjoys all aspects of student health. Her main interests are sexual health and contraception.

ISHA Treasurer - Patricia Brady, UCD


Patricia was elected to the position of ISHA Treasurer in 2018.
She has worked as a Student Health Nurse for many years as part of UCD Student Health Services.
Patricia also has a keen interest in Travel Health, and is a member of the Travel Medicine Society of Ireland.

ISHA Executive Committee Member-Sarah Hickey, MTU

Sarah Hickey

Sarah was elected to the ISHA Executive Committee at the 2019 AGM in UCC. She currently works as a Student Health Nurse at Munster Technological University. Sarah qualified with a Diploma in Nursing from DCU / Beaumont Hospital in 2001 and completed a BSc Nursing at RCSI in 2006. She has a background in general nursing and worked as a Clinical Nurse Manager in the HSE and private sector as well as a Practice Nurse in the Primary Care sector.

Sarah has been working in Student Health at MTU since 2017. Her interests include health promotion and sexual health. She completed a foundation programme in sexual health promotion with the HSE in 2018 and a Postgraduate Certificate in Sexual Health Advising with Staffordshire University in 2019. Sarah graduated as a Registered Nurse Prescriber (RNP) at RCSI in November 2020.

ISHA PRO, Website and Social Media Officer-Theresa Lowry Lehnen, SETU

Theresa Lowry Lehnen

Theresa was first elected to the ISHA Executive Committee at the 2019 AGM in UCC, and again at the 2022 AGM hosted by UCD. GP employed, she manages the Nurse led Student Health Centre at SETU (Carlow campus). She is qualified as an RGN, Coronary Care Nurse, Specialist Practitioner in General Practice Nursing, Registered Nurse Prescriber (RNP) and as a Teacher of Science, Health Science and Nursing Studies. She holds a PhD, is a registered Teacher with the Teaching Council of Ireland, is an FSRH and BASSH accredited practitioner, and an IUHPE registered health promotion practitioner. Theresa is project lead, content creator, and lead author of the ISHA ‘Student Health Matters’ App. She has published five books and is a regular contributor to Medical, Nursing and Pharmaceutical Journals, with over 190 clinical articles published in recent years. Some of her academic work has been used to create CPD modules for Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacy teams. In addition to her clinical role, Theresa is employed as an Associate Lecturer at SETU, and also facilitates external lectures and workshops for Nurses

ISHA Executive Committee Member - Karen Darley, TCD

Karen completed her Nursing training in the Adelaide Hospital, Dublin and was involved in the transfer of the Hospital’s final patients when it was absorbed into the Tallaght Hospital in 1998. She spent the next 10 years in AMNCH, working in the Acute Stroke Unit and A&E, before side-stepping in to General Practice in 2008, and has not looked back since!  Karen has furthered her studies over the years, including BSc Nursing Management (UCD), Skin Cancer Screening & Dermoscopy (UK), Osteoporosis screening & DXA scanning, ICGP cert in Diabetes Care, IFPA Family Planning Course, HSE Sexual Health Course and Cert in Nurse Prescribing (TCD). She joined the College Health Team in Trinity College in 2015 and feels very privileged to be working there – the students’ energy and enthusiasm are like a breath of fresh air!

ISHA Executive Committee Member - Dr. Mary O Brien, UCC

Dr. Mary O Brien

Dr. Mary O Brien joined the ISHA Executive Committee in 2022. She graduated in medicine in UCD in 2000, and worked in emergency medicine in Australia for 2 years after her internship. After this, she spent 18 months working with MSF in South Sudan, returning to complete her GP training in Ireland and the UK.

Like most Cork people, Mary eventually returned back home, and has been working as a GP in Cork since 2007. Mary has been working in Student Health in UCC for 15 years. She has a special interest in women's health and contraception.