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The Faculty of Paediatrics, in agreement with RCPI President Mary Horgan and RCPI Council, established the Kathleen Lynn Medal in 2018 to be awarded by the Faculty for exceptional service on behalf of children, especially in Ireland. It is the highest award in Ireland to recognise paediatricians that have been outstanding in their careers and in their contribution to paediatrics.
Last year the inaugural medal was awarded to Professor Karina Butler, Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases.
Dr Patricia Scanlan is a most worthy recipient. Since graduating from UCD medical school in 1997 and completing her RCPI membership examinations in 2000, she proceeded to undertake basic & higher specialty training in Paediatric medicine completing her Paediatric Specialist Registrar Scheme in 2007.
Her main area of interest lies in Paediatric Oncology and as part of her higher Masters degree in International Health, she travelled to Tanzania 12 years ago collecting and collating data pertaining to childhood cancer. What she saw there really impacted on her as a person and as a physician and changed the trajectory of her career.
Dr Scanlan’s career caring for children has taken her to many parts of the world where access to cancer care for children was very poor. In 2007, she joined the International Network for Cancer Research and Treatment in Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Through hard work and dedication, she rose to become the INCTR Programme Director and a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist.
In 2013, Dr Scanlan set up the Paediatric Oncology unit in the Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that provides care for children with malignancies. This has now been extended with links to seven designated regional centres and a network to support children’s cancer treatment.
Dr Scanlan has been based in Tanzania for the last 12 years where her tireless work has led to a significant improvement in the survival rate for children in Tanzania with cancer. A decade ago, only 5% of such children were offered treatment, and the vast majority of these treated children died. Currently, approximately one third of children are treated, with survival rates of up to 50%. This has been achieved primarily as a result of the vision, leadership, and dogged determination of Dr Scanlan.
We would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Scanlan on this wonderful achievement.
Dr Kathleen Lynn (1874-1955) was the daughter of a Church of Ireland rector in Co. Mayo and her upbringing and education were that of a staunchly Protestant and Unionist family. She was deeply affected by the destitution that she witnessed as a child among the local population and as a result decided to become a doctor. She graduated from the Royal University of Ireland (now UCD) in1899 and she was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1909.
She devoted most of her professional life in Dublin to caring for sick and malnourished children and with other colleagues established St. Ultan’s Hospital for infants. As well as treating sick and malnourished children, the hospital addressed the wider role of educating young mothers about breast-feeding and basic principles of hygiene and nutrition. Dr. Lynn was an ardent feminist and a patriot who supported the workers during the 1913 lockout and was Chief Medical Officer during the 1916 Easter Rising.
She also led the way for women working in Medicine in Ireland and St Ultan's was staffed mostly by female doctors. She did much to improve the lives of Irish children through medicine and education and we look forward to presenting this medal as our highest award to those making equally outstanding contributions to children's health.
This evening, Dr Ellen Crushell, Dean of the Faculty, welcomed the following at a ceremony in No. 6 Kildare Street.
The two recipients of Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty are Professor Flaura Winston and Professor Emily Logan.
Congratulations to all.
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