HSE NDTP Awards Dr Richard Steevens' Scholarships

HSE Press Release: Tuesday, 10th  September 2019

The HSE National Doctor’s Training and Planning Unit (NDTP) has announced the awarding of four scholarships and four bursaries under the Dr Steevens’ Scholarships Programme for 2019.

Since the establishment of the Dr Steevens’ Scholarship programme by the HSE in 2007, trainees with a strong track record in clinical practice have been given the opportunity to undertake a clinical fellowship abroad in an area of practice where specialist training is either limited or unavailable in Ireland. This has enabled a cohort of trainees to access international centres of excellence where new, exciting advancements in patient care have developed.

Applications for the Dr Steevens’ Scholarship and Bursary in 2019 were of a notably high calibre and many excellent proposals were considered by the expert assessment panel comprising of Professor Frank Murray, Director, National Doctors Training and Planning, Ms Deborah McNamara, Surgery, Dr Dara Breslin, Anaesthesiologist and Professor Edward McKone, Medicine.


After due consideration four Scholarships were awarded to the following outstanding candidates (in alphabetical order):

Dr Laura Aalto (University Galway Hospital) SpR in Histopathology will undertake a clinical fellowship in Perinatal Pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. vDr Aalto will be under the supervision of Dr Patrick Shannon, Consultant Perinatal Pathologist and Medical director of the Mount Sinai Hospital autopsy service. She will have responsibilities for placental sign-out and performance of perinatal autopsies in a large department, functioning as a regional referral centre for placental and developmental pathology with 7,000 deliveries per year, 2,000 of which are high risk. The pathology material is comprised of more than 2,500 placentas and more than 200 perinatal autopsies per year. Fellows are exposed to a wide spectrum of placental pathology and congenital abnormalities including genetic, dysmorphic and metabolic disease and many cases of maternal-fetal vascular insufficiency.

The Histopathology department at Mount Sinai hospital is active and prolific in both novel and clinical research with several high yield publications in high impact journals, continuously promoting best practice in the field of perinatal pathology with Fellows actively taking part in research. The department of Perinatal pathology is fully integrated with the Department of Medical Genetics and the hospital’s outstanding Maternal-Fetal Medicine unit and the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Dr Mark Hensey (St Vincent’s University Hospital) SpR in Cardiology will undertake a clinical fellowship in Interventional Cardiology – special interest in valvular and structural heart interventions at The Centre for Heart Valve Innovation (CHVI) in St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. It will be under the tutelage of Dr John Webb. St Paul’s is a large tertiary hospital and serves as the designated heart centre for the province of British Columbia. The fellowship has a combined coronary and structural focus. CHVI is internationally recognised as a go-to centre for transcatheter heart valve intervention with vast experience in both established and emergent technology. Dr Hensey is training in, amongst other things, coronary interventions, transcatheter aortic valve implantation, mitral valve plication, transcatheter mitral valve replacement, transcatheter tricuspid interventions, valve-in-valve procedures, left atrial appendage closure and interventions for adult congenital heart disease. He will complete his fellowship in January 2020 at which point he hopes to return to Ireland to bring his skills home.

Dr Adrian McArdle (Mater Misericordiae University Hospital/Temple Street Children’s University Hospital) is a Specialist Registrar in Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic surgery. He has commenced a clinical fellowship in Oncologic and Microvascular Reconstruction at the University of Toronto. The fellowship provides advanced training in complex oncologic reconstruction with a focus on microvascular free flaps.

Dr Eleanor Ryan(Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin - formerly Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin [OLCHC])

SpR in General Paediatrics will undertake a clinical fellowship in Paediatric Emergency Medicine and Paediatric Point of Care Ultrasound at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia.  RCH Melbourne is an institution with a global track record of training paediatricians and paediatric emergency physicians.  The Department of Emergency Medicine provides secondary, tertiary and quaternary care to children including a level one paediatric major trauma centre. POCUS is now becoming a core clinical skill for acute/ emergency paediatric care provision and the fellowship will provide a designated paediatric point of care ultrasound guided procedures program in an emergency department who have fully integrated POCUS into paediatric emergency care supported by peer reviewed publications and international recognition as a leader in paediatric point of care ultrasound. The exposure and hands-on experience of emergent point of care ultrasonography and its diagnostic and procedural applications though the fellowship will bring with Dr Ryan’s return a skill-set placing Ireland at the fore-front of international best practice in providing paediatric emergency care to the children of Ireland.


In addition to the prestigious and highly competitive Dr Richard Steevens’ Scholarships the HSE NDTP has also awarded four Bursaries in 2019.  Out of the rich pool of talent the following four HSE doctors (in alphabetical order) were awarded a bursary:

Dr Breffini Anglim (Wexford General Hospital) SpR in Obstetrics and Gynaecology will undertake a fellowship in Urogynaecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto incorporates training in other specialities to develop a holistic approach to pelvic floor reconstructive surgery. This includes subspecialty exposure to urology, colorectal surgery, gastroenterology, chronic pain, paediatric gynaecology and sexual medicine, thus providing a multidisciplinary approach to managing women with urogynaecological issues. The Urogynaecology Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital is a busy clinical investigative and research unit involved in caring for women with complex genitourinary and pelvic floor problems. The unit is a referral centre for interesting surgical problems, many of which involve previous failed continence and pelvic floor operations, and other genitourinary procedures. Areas of special interest are: laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy, mid-urethral slings, laparoscopic Burch urethropexy, revision of mesh complications and mesh removal, ambulatory intravesical Botox (and exposure to neurostimulation), anorectal dysfunction including a Post-Partum Perineal Clinic, geriatric urogynaecology, chronic pain syndromes and a basic science programme affiliated to the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute.

Dr Emma Duignan (Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital) SpR in Ophthalmology is a highly capable trainee who has met all of the expected surgical and clinical competencies to date. She has unique experience as a trainee in the particular field of inherited retinal degenerations & electrophysiology interpretation having completed one year of research with Dr Paul Kenna in the Research Foundation at the RVEEH. She has published in highly respected journals and presented internationally on this topic, which makes her a highly suitable candidate for this Fellowship.

Dr Aisling Ní Eochagáin (Mater Misericordiae University Hospital) SpR in Anaesthesiology at The Mater Hospital, will undertake a senior clinical fellowship in Major Trauma Anaesthesia at St. George's Hospital, London in 2019/2020. This fellowship is integrated within the Pan London Major Trauma System and provides advanced training in major trauma systems and simulation and training.

Dr Riana Haydar, SpR in Anaesthesiology at St Vincent’s University Hospital and Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin - formerly Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin [OLCHC]) will undertake a specialist interest year in paediatric intensive care in the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne in 2019/2020. She will be gaining vital experience in congenital cardiac disease which will include Ventricular assisted devices and solid organ donation including heart transplant. Other areas of interest to her will be the use of Extra Corporeal Membrane oxygenation for significant respiratory disorders. Both these areas of care are currently unavailable in Ireland but she feel’s with the influx of the congenital cardiac patients from Northern Ireland and the amalgamation of the 2 paediatric centres in Dublin into the coming National Children's hospital in the future, having experience in these areas of care will be invaluable.

A broad range of specialties is represented in this year’s intake to the Dr Richard Steevens’ Scholarship and Bursary programme.  The NTDP wishes all the participants every success in the coming year and looks forward to their valuable contribution to the care of HSE patients in coming years.


Last updated on: 10 / 09 / 2019