Ireland Rugby Coach, Joe Schmidt receives Hon Fellowship

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Ireland Rugby coach, Joe Schmidt receives Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Paediatrics at a ceremony in Dublin this evening  

 

Joe Schmidt, best known as Ireland’s rugby coach will be awarded with Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Paediatrics for his advocacy work for epilepsy services. 

Joe is joined by children’s rights advocate and former Senator Jillian Van Turnhout, Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Professor Michael O’ Keeffe and Paediatric Oncologis,t Professor Sir Alan Craft, who will also receive this award, the highest honour the Faculty bestows. 

It is conferred on individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the practice of Paediatrics and also to individuals who have made significant contributions to improve the lives of children.

Joe Schmidt is an inspirational rugby coach and the Faculty of Paediatrics is honouring him in recognition of his significant contribution to children's health and wellbeing.  He has brought his own experience, as father of a teenage child with epilepsy, to highlight the need for support for all children with this condition. 

 

 

We are delighted to confer Honorary Fellowship today to four very deserving candidates in recognition of their activities, advocacy and work for the benefit of children in our society.

Dr Ellen Crushell

Dean, Faculty of Paediatrics

Joe has been involved in countless charitable efforts - in particular for epilepsy and for people with acquired brain injuries but also many other conditions. He has been a very keen fundraiser for Epilepsy Ireland and many other charities. 

Joe is a highly inspirational coach who, in the words of one of the Irish team doctors practises evidence-based rugby. His formula for success is simple and apt for us as paediatricians: Enduring high performance reflects fundamentally simple, common–sense notions executed outstandingly well.

Professor Alf Nicholson

Consultant Paediatrician

Jillian Van Turnhout, a leading children’s rights advocate and former Independent Member of Seanad Éireann was honoured for her advocacy, particularly in the area of child protection and children's rights. She spoke at the Faculty of Paediatrics Autumn Conference today highlighting the importance of listening to children and putting them at the centre when decisions are being made about their care. 

“Children are one of the most important and often vulnerable groups, particularly those on the margins of society. They cannot speak for themselves so we must ensure to work and speak on their behalf to protect their welfare.” 

“I am chuffed to receive this tribute of an Honorary Fellowship by the Faculty of Paediatrics of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Throughout my working life, I have advocated for children’s health and well-being through legislative and policy changes. I will continue to campaign both in Ireland and internationally to improve outcomes for children and promote timely intervention to ensure the best outcomes for all children.” 

Prof Michael O’ Keeffe, Newman Clinical Professor of Paediatric Ophthalmology was recognised for his significant contribution to children's health. said he was very pleased to receive this award. “This is completely unexpected. It is great to be recognised in this way by my paediatric colleagues, many of whom I have worked closely with over the years.” 

British Paediatric Oncologist, Professor Sir Alan Craft, was honoured for his  significant contribution to children's health. He has a special interest in palliative care services for children with life threatening and life limiting diseases.  He said: “It is a great honour for me to be given this honorary Fellowship by my Irish colleagues.”

Professor Sir Alan Craft

Professor Sir Alan Craft is a British paediatric oncologist and Emeritus Professor of Child Health at Newcastle University. He was one of nine founders of the Children's Cancer Study Group, focusing his research on paediatric oncology, especially the epidemiology of bone tumours that further led to an oncology research unit which has been involved in aetiological studies and in particular the role of irradiation in the development of childhood cancer.

Palliative care for children with cancer led to him helping develop services for children with life threatening and life limiting diseases and he has been President of the Association for the Care of Children with Life Limiting Disease, now Together for Short Lives, since 2005.

He was President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health from 2003 - 2006.

He was awarded the James Spence Medal of the RCPCH in 2008 and knighted by her majesty the Queen in 2005 for services to medicine and paediatric oncology.

Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt is the Ireland Rubgy coach and an Epilepsy Advocate.

Besides his sporting achievements he has been a huge advocate for people with epilepsy and has been involved in countless charitable efforts - in particular for epilepsy and for people with acquired brain injuries but also many other conditions. His son now 14 suffers with epilepsy.

Joe has been a very keen fundraiser for Epilepsy Ireland and many other charities.

Professor Alf Nicholson, who will be formally presenting Joe for Honorary Fellowship at the Faculty's Admission ceremony, said, "Joe is a highly inspirational coach who, in the words of one of the Irish team doctors practises evidence-based rugby. His formula for success is simple and apt for us as paediatricians: Enduring high performance reflects fundamentally simple, common–sense notions executed outstandingly well."

Former Senator Jillian van Turnhout

Jillian van Turnhout is a leading children’s rights advocate in Ireland and a former Independent Member of Seanad Éireann.

Her areas of focus include: initiating the ban on the corporal punishment of children; campaigning against the holding of child beauty pageants in Ireland; developing strategies to tackle online child sexual abuse material (CSAM); children in Direct Provision, transgender children; children in conflict with the law, early childhood education and care; protecting children’s health from tobacco smoke; childhood obesity; housing and homelessness; neuro-rehabilitation services and end of life care, in addition to alcohol misuse, alcohol related harm and in her opposition to any alcohol industry involvement in public health campaigns, and education space.

Jillian Van Turnhout is involved with a number of organisations. She is Chair of Early Childhood Ireland; Chair of Children in Hospital Ireland; Vice Chair of European Movement Ireland; former board member of Women for Election; and former Chief Commissioner of the Irish Girl Guides.

Professor Michael O'Keeffe

Professor Michael O’Keefe is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon. He was formerly a consultant in the Children’s University Hospital and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital Dublin. He is still a consultant at the Rotunda Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.

He is the Newman Clinical Professor of Paediatric Ophthalmology at University College Dublin.

His special interests include congenital cataract, ROP and Refractive Surgery. He is a book and chapter editor and has published over one hundred and fifty peer review papers. Professor O’Keeffe reviews articles for six international peer review journals.

He was awarded the Claud Worth Medal for his contribution to Paediatric Ophthalmology in 2004 by the British Child Health Foundation. In 2008 he was awarded the Eustace Medal for his research and contribution to Ophthalmology. 

Yvonne McCahill

Press Officer, Communications Department

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