Report from ISHA 2019 AGM & Conference
ISHA 2019 AGM & Conference Report
The first weekend in March saw the hosting of the ISHA 2019 Annual Conference and AGM, in the lovely and comfortable surrounds of The Kingsley Hotel, by the banks of the beautiful River Lee. Delegates from all corners of the country gathered for the beginning of the conference on Friday, 1st March. Indeed, the ISHA executive committee were delighted in particular, to have Dr Gregor Murdoch, President of the UK Student Health Association, attend as their special guest, having made the lengthy journey from Stirling University in Scotland.
Welcome & Keynote address
Attendees received a warm welcome from Dr Michael Byrne, Head of the Student Health Dept, UCC, before the opening address was provided by Prof. John O'Halloran, Deputy President & Registrar of UCC. He spoke of the value and importance of student health services, as part of the overall student experience, and thanked ISHA members for the work that they do. He mentioned how impressed he was at the list of topics included on the agenda for the two days, and commented on how we generally tend to learn most from one another. Prof O'Halloran also referenced his own personal connection with the conference's keynote speaker, Mrs Margaret Murphy, who was a former work colleague of his in UCC. Mrs Murphy, an External Lead Advisor for the W.H.O.'s Patients for Patient Safety, subsequently went on to deliver a hugely insightful and emotional presentation, which provided some important reflective learning points for all in attendance, regarding the importance of patient-centred care, proper systems to reduce the risk of errors, and above all, the importance of acknowledging mistakes whenever they do occur and of being honest and open with patients at all times. This inspirational talk, from a thoroughly amazing lady, provided a subject for discussion as all the delegates then broke for tea, coffee and refreshments afterwards.
ISHA 2019 AGM
It was quickly on to the various section meetings, following which, attendees gathered once more in the main conference room for the 2019 AGM. Outgoing President, Laura Tully gave an overview of the various projects that she that she had been involved in and overseen over the course of the previous year, and she thanked all her colleagues who had worked with her on the ISHA executive committee during her tenures as PRO and President. ISHA Treasurer, Patricia Brady gave an overview of the ISHA account and the various income and expenses during the past year. Dr Eoin Mac Donncha, ISHA PRO, then provided an update regarding the follow-up from the ISHA Telemedicine Policy and the communications and issues relating to same. Two motions from Dr Mary McFadden, LYIT, regarding calling for ISHA to formally communicate with Government Depts in relation to calling for free contraceptive care and equitable funding of student health services across both university & IT sectors, were both discussed and adopted. The election of officers for the ISHA executive committee then took place, with Dr Aoife O'Sullivan, UCC elected as President. Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer positions were unchanged, with Patricia and Sharon Lane continuing in their roles, while Eoin remained in place as PRO. UCC's Liz O'Donoghue joined the executive committee as secretary, while Theresa Lowry-Lehnen (IT Carlow) was elected as Assistant PRO. Four other new members, Jessie Byrne (DCU), Sarah Hickey (CIT), Dr Clare Kelly (TCD & TUD) and Karita Cullen (TCD) were also elected and welcomed onto the executive committee. The AGM was brought to a close with Trinity College Dublin being confirmed as the hosts for the ISHA Conference in 2020.
Gala Dinner & Professor David Thomas Award
Delegates and guests then retired to their rooms to prepare for the evenings social gathering, which proved to be a hugely enjoyable night. Following a lovely meal, outgoing President Laura Tully addressed the crowd to explain the background to the ISHA executive committee's decision to establish the Prof. David Thomas Award, before the great man himself spoke to all in attendance, humbling expressing his gratitude at having the award named in his honour. Laura subsequently read the eloquent submissions from a host of various colleagues, nominating Dr Brendan Clune (DIT/TUD), Nurse Jessie Byrne (DCU), Dr Eimear Hally (IT Carlow), with the inaugural Prof. David Thomas Award eventually being presented to Dr Eoin Mac Donncha (NUIG).
Saturday Conference - Opening Session
The second day of the conference began early on Saturday morning and was opened by Prof. Colin Bradley, Dept of General Practice UCC, who acted as chairperson for the day. He took the opportunity to compliment the range of topics on the schedule for the weekend, and in particular, greatly praised both the number and the wide variety of research posters on display at the conference. While the administrative members then broke for their workshop with Asumpta Gallagher of Best Practice Training, Dr Deirdre Lundy of the ICGP Women's Health Programme, kicked off the clinical session with a hugely engaging, entertaining and educational overview on contraception for young adults. As part of her talk, she detailed the relatively new 'tailored regimens' from the UK Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health regarding the use of COCPs, as well as the importance and the outstanding efficacy of the various LARC options. We then heard from a trio of speakers on the highly topical issue Concussion. Dr Niamh Lynch, Consultant Neurologist, and Mr Derek O'Neill, Chartered Physiotherapist, who both work as part the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre's Concussion Network, provided a summary around concussion and the changing evidence-based guidance which advocates more proactive management and rehabilitation of this common neurological injury. Dr Judy Dwyer also gave an interesting insight into the experiences around, and the variety of, concussion presentations in a Student Health Centre setting.
Saturday Conference - Closing Session
After a break for some mid-morning refreshments, Dr Trish Horgan, GP in Cork city and one of the founding members of the Start Doctors group, gave an excellent presentation on Crisis Pregnancy and the new Emergency Medical Abortion services. She provided some welcome clarity on all the legislative, clinical and administrative steps and issues related to this relatively new area within the Irish health services. The final run-in of the conference had a very strong focus on research, with the newly installed ISHA Assistant PRO, Nurse Theresa Lowry-Lehnen providing an inspirational talk educating and encouraging colleagues regarding clinical guidelines and writing for publication, during which many delegates were left in awe at the the breath of her own impressive body of work as outlined in her presentation. Dr Muireann de Paor, from the RCSI, then provided an update on her Infectious Mononucleosis study, which she had previously discussed at the 2017 ISHA Conference, and for which she was seeking a final push for participant recruitment. The final two talks were given by researchers from both the REACT & Mi-USE projects based out of UCC, on the extremely relevant student health related issues of alcohol and recreational drug use.
Pauline Carbery Memorial Award
The conference was brought to a close with a touching remembrance of our late colleague, nurse Pauline Carbery, of the Student Health Centre in Maynooth University, in whose memory and honour the inaugural award for the ISHA Poster Presentation competition was established. The ISHA executive committee were delighted to have a large number of Pauline's family in attendance for the launch and presentation of the award. Pauline's close friends and ISHA nursing colleagues, Orlagh Fleming and Patricia Brady, reflected on the beautiful person that Pauline was and her lasting and valued contribution to the lives of all the students she cared for and of the friends she worked with. Pauline's husband, Paddy, thanked ISHA for the gesture in honouring Pauline through the new award. He relayed, in a touching speech, how delighted the whole family were to have been invited to attend and to present the award. Prof. Colin Bradley then addressed the conference delegates, once again praising the variety and quality of research work on display, and after commending the various posters that had been shortlisted, he announced Nurse Claire Kearns from UL, as the ultimate prize winner. Claire was then presented with the inaugural Pauline Carbery Memorial Award by Paddy, in the company of Pauline's father and her extended family. It was a fitting end to a fantastic conference weekend, with huge credit due to Dr Aoife O'Sullivan, Dr Michael Byrne and all of the staff in the UCC Student Health Dept, for doing such an exceptional job in organising and hosting the conference. ISHA members can now look forward to the trip to Trinity College Dublin in 2020.