Can health and business collaborations help Ireland survive the pandemic?

A novel in-person and online conference, Leadership during a Pandemic: Charting a course for healthcare, society and the economy, will take place on September 19, 2020, bringing together health and business leaders to examine the initial COVID-19 wave in Ireland from a healthcare delivery and organisational point of view and to understand emerging aspects of the societal and economic fallout from the pandemic in Ireland.

“Ireland is widely regarded as having prepared for and responded well to the pandemic,” said Sinead Ryan, Superintendent Pharmacist, lecturer and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School Executive MBA alumni. “This came about by exemplary leadership in many sectors to find solutions to seemingly unfathomable problems. The objective of the conference is to bring these leaders together to determine what worked well and how we can position Ireland to move forward together.”

Sinead, along with fellow EMBA alumni Dr Knut Moe and Director of the UCD Smurfit School Professor Gerardine Doyle, founded the new UCD Leadership in Healthcare Network which is designed to bring those with an interest in healthcare and leadership together to share in each other’s knowledge, experience and expertise. The trio recognised the potential of a network of UCD Smurfit School graduates from across the healthcare sector to provide a base for such a network.

Founded in January 2020, just before the full impact of the pandemic was felt in Ireland, the network focuses on promoting excellence in healthcare leadership through collaboration, innovation and shared learning.

“Little did we realise when setting up such a network how relevant it would become with the emergence of COVID-19,” continued Sinead. “The pandemic and its rapid evolution called upon those in healthcare, as well as nearly all other sectors, to rapidly adapt to prepare for the virus. Red tape and bureaucracy were swapped for innovation and adaptability.”

A collaboration between UCD Smurfit School and the Royal College of Physicians, the inaugural event of the UCD Leadership in Healthcare Network aims to join the extensive networks and alumni in business, medicine and healthcare faculties, to develop and enhance meaningful solutions to society’s most pressing challenges.

Speakers include:

  • Professor Gerardine Doyle: Director, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
  • Professor Mary Horgan: President, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland
  • Dr Ronan Glynn Acting Chief Medical Officer
  • Oonagh O’Hagan MD Meaghers Pharmacy
  • Emma O’Grady, Senior Clinical Pharmacist (Cystic Fibrosis)
  • Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE
  • Martin Shanahan: CEO, IDA
  • Danny McCoy: CEO, IBEC
  • Fergal O’Rourke: Managing Partner, PWC Ireland
  • Emer McGrath: Partner, KPMG Ireland
  • Michael Dowling: CEO, Northwell Health, New York
  • Dr Patricia Scanlon: Founder of ‘Their Lives Matter’, Paediatric Oncologist, Tanzania
  • Dr Nuala O’Connor: Covid-19 Lead, Irish College of General Practitioners
  • Alan Sharp: Interim CEO, Mater Hospital
  • Dr Eanna Falvey: Team Doctor, Irish Senior Rugby Team
  • Professor Kathy Harvey: Oxford Saïd Business School
  • Professor Mark Lawler: Queen’s University Belfast School of Medicine
  • More to be announced

The event will be streamed live from UCD Smurfit School, Blackrock, with a combination of in-person and pre-recorded interviews on Saturday, 19 September 2020, from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Business and medical professionals are invited to attend the online event.

More information at

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