NUI Galway Researchers Report Health and Educational Experience at Post Primary

NUI Galway Researchers Report Health and Educational Experience at Post Primary -image

Monday, 29 September 2008

The Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Support Service and the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway are pleased to announce the launch of a report entitled The Implementation of SPHE at post-primary school level: A case study approach commissioned by the Management Committee of the SPHE Support Service (Post Primary). The research for the report The Implementation of SPHE at post-primary school level: A case study approach was carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre, Department of Health Promotion, NUI Galway, led by Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn and Professor Margaret Barry. The overall aim of the study was to examine the contribution of SPHE to the experience of Junior Cycle students and to the Junior Cycle curriculum. In addition to the views of teachers, SPHE Coordinators, Principals and Regional Development Officers from the SPHE Support Service it also includes the views of two significant stakeholders in the SPHE process: students and parents. Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, of NUI Galway s Health Promotion Research Centre, said: "Schools and teachers are an important part of children s lives and together with parents and families play a key role in improving health and well-being". This research illustrates the value and of us all working together to help improve children s lives". SPHE is concerned with enabling young people to reflect on their attitudes and values and to adopt appropriate behaviours that will assist them in coping with life's challenges. One of the key aims of the SPHE programme is to develop the young person's personal and social confidence and to give them the skills to make responsible decisions that respect their own dignity and the dignity of others. The SPHE Support Service provides support to individual SPHE teachers and also offers school based in-service to support a whole school approach to the principles of SPHE within the context of the Health Promoting School. The report examines the quality and value of SPHE; supports for the implementation of SPHE; the contribution of SPHE to the health and educational experience of Junior Cycle students; the perspectives of stakeholders and the possible introduction of SPHE into senior cycle. The report finds that SPHE is challenging, worthwhile, valuable and helpful and that quality teaching and relevant resources are essential for successful implementation in schools. However, curriculum overload, timetabling pressures and lack of status influence SPHE provision. The report suggests that more emphasis needs to be given to whole-school in-service training in order to create a whole-school approach that will support the SPHE programme. It also states that the HSE plays a pivotal role in assisting schools to link with their local communities. The Support Service is a partnership between the Department of Education and Science, the HSE and the Department of Health and Children and is based in Marino Institute of Education, Dublin 9. -Ends-

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NUI Galway and Bank of Ireland Launch Affinity Credit Card

NUI Galway and Bank of Ireland Launch Affinity Credit Card-image

Monday, 29 September 2008

NUI Galway and Bank of Ireland are delighted to announce the launch of their new affinity credit card available exclusively to alumni, staff and students. Each time an Affinity Card is used the University will benefit, so Graduates of NUI Galway can show their association with the University and support it financially at the same time. The new NUI Galway Bank of Ireland Affinity Credit Card will be formally launched at a reception held in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle Building in the University today (Monday, 29 September) at 6.00pm. At the event, Dr James J Browne, President of NUI Galway, will make a presentation to Mr Richie Boucher, Chief Executive, Retail Financial Services, Bank of Ireland, to mark the launch of the card. The launch of the new affinity credit card also coincides with the renewal of Bank of Ireland's exclusive on-campus banking franchise at NUI Galway. Tom Joyce, Galway University Foundation Executive Director, said: "The proceeds from the uptake and use of these cards marks a significant contribution by alumni to the prosperity of their alma mater. It is fitting then that the funds will be directed to the NUI Galway Alumni Fund priority projects". When you become a cardholder, Bank of Ireland will make a donation for every account opened as well as contributing a percentage of the annual spend on your card to the Galway University Foundation at no cost to the cardholder, and without disclosing any confidential account details. For further information and application forms, drop down to your Bank of Ireland, NUI Galway branch or call 091 524555. -Ends-

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Renewable Energy breakthrough for NUI Galway Researchers

Renewable Energy breakthrough for NUI Galway Researchers-image

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Power Electronics Research Centre at NUI Galway has developed emergency power supplies for North Sea Wind Turbines. Over recent years' researchers at the Power Electronic Research Centre (PERC) in NUI Galway developed novel battery charging and monitoring principles with engineers from Convertec Limited in Wexford, under the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme. The newly developed charging regime has been validated and implemented into emergency backup systems for pitch control systems for wind turbines. The new developments play a distinct role in improving the safe and reliable operation of wind turbines in the North Sea. Professor Ger Hurley, PERC Director in the Department of Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway explained: "The work in Galway came to the attention of GE Research in Schenectady New York and subsequently a partnership between GE, PERC and Convertec developed the new generation of battery chargers for wind turbines. Initial tests were carried out in Canada and now in the North Sea. This technology is relevant to Wind Farms in Ireland and will lead to more reliable supplies" The underlying basic physical and electrical principles for the development of this backup power supply for wind turbine will be presented at a lecture on Tuesday. 30 September in NUI Galway by Professor Werner Wölfle, who has been Managing Director and head of the design group of Convertec Ltd. in Ireland since 1989. Convertec develops high reliability power converters for industrial applications and renewable energy systems. The aim of the Power Electronics Research Centre at NUI Galway is to foster links with industry by transferring technology from a strong research base in the University to the wider community. The Centre is now involved in a number of areas of research activities: renewable energy systems, automotive electronics; sensor technology; battery management, and power harvesting. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, 30 September at 3.30 pm in the Siobhán McKenna Lecture Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. The lecture will be followed by a reception. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. Please contact Sara Armstrong at 091-493270 or email -Ends-

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NUI Galway Author Wins Award for Global Health Book

NUI Galway Author Wins Award for Global Health Book-image

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Dr Diarmuid O'Donovan, Senior Lecturer in Social and Preventive Medicine at NUI Galway and Director of Public Health with HSE West, has been awarded two prizes by the British Medical Association for his book 'The Atlas of Health: Mapping the Challenges and Causes of Disease'. The book charts recent and emerging trends to show how health, poverty and human rights are inextricably linked – and how inequalities are both avoidable and unsustainable. With full-colour maps and graphics, and clear commentary, the atlas covers a wide range of topics, including: life expectancy; malnutrition and obesity; water and sanitation; cancer, heart disease and diabetes; infectious diseases, from malaria to HIV/AIDS; tobacco and alcohol use; mental health; urbanization; climate change; war, violence and abuse; avian flu and pandemic planning; antibiotic resistance. The Atlas of Health was awarded the British Medical Association (BMA) Medical Book award for Public Health. It was also chosen from the winners of all the short-listed books in all award categories for the BMA Board of Science Award for the Public Understanding of Science. BMA Chairman, Sir Charles George, commented: "This is a superbly accessible, beautifully produced, highly informative and well-written compendium of world health statistics. It will be of interest to a wide range of professionals and students in many areas. It is excellent value for money and should grace the book shelf of everyone who cares about human health". NUI Galway's Dr O'Donovan is a medical doctor who has lived and worked in Sub-Saharan Africa.: "People everywhere are more interconnected than ever before. Yet, as life expectancy and quality of life improve for the rich, millions are still dying for want of food, clean water, and affordable medicines. These gross inequities are unsustainable, and we all have a role to play in addressing them. Health and human rights are inextricably linked". Channel 4's Jon Snow who reviewed the book says: "Brilliant and original, this vividly informative book gives an incredibly holistic account of how our planet is divided by health and wealth, and generates another route into understanding the nature of our supposedly globalised world." Published as part of the multi-award winning Atlas series by EarthScan, the book is a major new graphic profile of global health. -Ends-

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Knighted Historian to Give Public Lecture at NUI Galway

Knighted Historian to Give Public Lecture at NUI Galway -image

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Professor David Watson, historian and Professor of Higher Education Management at the University of London will deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway Thursday, 2 October entitled "The Pearl of Learning: Historical Perspectives on University-Community Engagement". The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway in partnership with Campus Engage will host Professor Watson's visit, whose fields of expertise are strategic management of higher education institutions; higher education and civic engagement; and cross-national comparative study of higher education systems. Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Coordinator is delighted to welcome Professor Watson to the University: "Professor Watson's visit is a great opportunity for NUI Galway to look at its civic engagement strategy and the management of university community partnerships. Civic engagement is an essential component of higher education and through the CKI we are always looking for ways to get the wider community involved in University activities". An accomplished author, Watson's most recent books are Managing Civic and Community Engagement (2007), and The Dearing Report: ten years on (2007). His current project is a book on 'morale' in universities. Having contributed widely to developments in UK Higher Education, he was knighted in 1998 for services to higher education. The lecture will take place at 2.15pm in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in NUI Galway supports and promotes the ethos of civic engagement; among students, staff and the wider community. Through partnerships with community groups and organisations, CKI helps the University share with, and learn from, civil society. Ends

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Public Talks Focus on Civic Space at NUI Galway

Public Talks Focus on Civic Space at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Galway has grown and changed dramatically in the past fifteen years, with housing estates, apartment blocks and high buildings eating up space that was once green, public or simply derelict. Who is all this development for and how does the average citizen feel about it? Writer in Residence at NUI Galway, Mary O'Malley believes Galway is at the tipping point and has decided to offer a series of four public talks which she hopes will act as springboards for discussion. "The issue of civic space, from public allotments and parks, to hospitals and railway stations, has become increasingly urgent as such space is privatised, gobbled up or concreted over. Who decides what is happening to our city? What are the effects of the erosion of the civic, both in spirit and space? Who cares? It seems appropriate that the University, the largest civic space in the city, should host this discussion" she said. Artist Aideen Barry will start the programme with a talk on public art while Miles Kennedy will give a presentation on the Poetics of Space. Valerie Ledwith, a human geographer with special interest in the geography of social and demographic change, will discuss the link between housing and social stratification and the implications of such planning. The well known film maker and mountaineer Dermot Somers will discuss wilderness and the city, and after a short presentation the issues arising will be open to the floor. Other speakers to feature throughout the programme include: Irish playwright Marina Carr; Poets Sinéad Morrissey and Maurice Riordan; and writer Peter Sirr. The sessions will be chaired by the Writer in Residence, Mary O'Malley and Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies Professor Kevin Barry. Professor Barry commented in advance of the programme: "This project on civic space is especially important because it is interactive and open to all. Mary O Malley s planned sequence of events will enable new groups of people in the city to understand each other, and will make space for new kinds of thinking about what a city can become and how Galway may change for the better". All readings, discussions and workshops are free and open to the public, particularly those with an interest in community work, planning and the future shape of Galway city. The programme will begin with a writing workshop on Wednesday, 1 October at 7pm in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. For further information please call 091-495610 -ends-

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NUI Galway Lecture on Climate Change and Water Demand

NUI Galway Lecture on Climate Change and Water Demand-image

Monday, 22 September 2008

Executive Director of the American Geological Institute, Dr Pat Leahy, will visit NUI Galway on Thursday, 25 September to deliver a lecture entitled 'Climate Change and Increased Water Demand: A Volatile Mixture?'. The event will take place at 8pm in the Fottrell Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. Water shortages are becoming increasingly common in the east of Ireland, while the west has faced issues with the quality of drinking water and subsequent 'boil water' notices. Globally, similar problems are affecting millions of people, and, with a growing population and the effects of climate change, access to clean water is under threat. Dr Leahy's presentation will provide some international perspectives on these water issues. Dr Sadhbh Baxter, of the NUI Galway Department of Earth and Ocean Science comments: "We are delighted to welcome Dr Leahy to NUI Galway to talk on the water issue, an issue Galwegians are all too familiar with. His expertise could be very influential in resolving issues that are looming towards a water crisis in Ireland". Dr Baxter continued: "Despite the wet weather in Ireland this summer, the country is actually running out of clean, safe drinking water. This has serious implications for our health, the environment, and the economy. The ruling by the European Court of Justice which found that Ireland had broken EU directives on waste water treatment, and RTÉ's 'Future Shock' programme, have meant that water has been a topical issue in the headlines in recent weeks". Dr Leahy, who has been an influential writer on groundwater resources and other geological issues of strategic importance to society, was responsible for implementation of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program in the US. His lecture is one of a series that celebrate International Year of Planet Earth ( and is supported by the Geological Survey of Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy and the NUI Galway Earth and Ocean Society. A reception hosted by the NUI Galway Earth and Ocean Society (GEOS) will be held in advance of the lecture from 7.30pm. For further information contact -ends-

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Report Shows Investment In Mental Health Care Will Benefit Economy

Report Shows Investment In Mental Health Care Will Benefit Economy-image

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Mental Health Commission today published a report - The Economics of Mental Health Care in Ireland - prepared by Eamon O'Shea and Brendan Kennelly of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and Department of Economics, NUI Galway, showing the economic benefits of investment in services to deal with mental health problems. Such problems cost the economy over €3 billion a year. The report also contains economic survey results which show the public would be willing to pay more for community based mental health services. The estimated cost to the economy of mental health problems in 2006 in Ireland was over €3 billion, which is more than two per cent of GNP, the report says. The health care system accounts for less than one quarter of the costs. The main economic costs of mental health problems are located in the labour market as a result of lost employment, absenteeism, lost productivity and premature retirement. There are also costs imposed on the prison service, social services dealing with homelessness and informal care costs as well as lost output and productivity. The significant human and social costs associated with mental health problems, including pain, suffering, stigma, reduction in quality of life and suicide are not included in the baseline estimates. The Mental Health Commission strongly supports the implementation of the Government policy on mental health, A Vision for Change. This policy requires substantial investment in the development of community treatment facilities to replace the institutional care approach. "Resources are not infinite, so choices must be made between alternative uses of the same resource or service", said Bríd Clarke, Chief Executive officer, Mental Health Commission. "As the report says, 'economic analysis is therefore a crucial aid to decision making on resource allocation and on priority setting'." While decisions on resource allocation are grounded in values, economics is a central tool in the making of these decisions. The economic reasons for policy makers to invest more in mental health are: (1) The economic cost of poor mental health in Ireland is very significant; (2) The Irish public has expressed a willingness to pay extra taxation for a mental health programme that would enable more people to live in the community; (3) There is a burgeoning economic base of evidence about particular interventions which have a positive effect on the quality of life of people with mental health problems. The authors of the report used a well-known technique in economics – a contingent valuation survey – to estimate how much people would be willing to pay in extra taxation for a particular improvement in mental health services. The results from the survey demonstrated that people would be willing to make significant tax contributions to new community-based services for people with mental health problems. However, the survey also found that people tend to value spending on cancer and ageing programmes more than they do mental health care. The share of total public health expenditure spent on mental health services has fallen in the past twenty years from just under 14% in 1984 to 7.76% in 2007. However in absolute terms there has been a four-fold increase in per capita spending over this period and it has roughly doubled in the past decade. "We have not yet made the connection between increased public spending on mental health care and individual and societal gains", said Dr. Edmond O'Dea, Chairman, Mental Health Commission. "Making mental health a national health priority in Ireland would be an important first step in realising the potential gains associated with increased spending on mental health. As part of that prioritisation, we should set a target of 10 per cent for mental health care expenditure as a proportion of overall health expenditure, to be realised over a five year period." Dr. O'Dea said this study was commissioned because of the need to show the economic, as well as social and personal benefits of investment in mental health care. He said society's decisions to spend money on providing support and services to its more vulnerable members are based on values, not simply on cost/benefit analysis. "But an increased understanding of the economic benefit of spending on mental health care will help ensure it is prioritised. Individuals benefit from increased spending on mental health care, but so do communities, society and the economy. For all of these reasons, mental health must become a national health priority, with specific targets for expenditure, evaluation and outcomes." To download the report, please go to Ends

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Head of Amnesty International to Speak at NUI Galway

Head of Amnesty International to Speak at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The head of Amnesty International, Ms Irene Zubaida Khan, will deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 17 September, at 2.15pm in the Aula Maxima. Ms Khan was appointed Secretary General of Amnesty International in 2001, becoming the first woman, Asian and Muslim to lead the human rights organisation. Her lecture will be entitled 'At sixty, is it time for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to retire?'. Ms Khan has broadened the work of Amnesty International in areas of economic, social and cultural rights. She has led high level missions to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel/Occupied Territories, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Thailand, the Darfur region of Sudan, and Nepal. Deeply concerned about women's human rights, she initiated a process of consultations with women activists to design a global campaign by Amnesty International against violence on women, which was launched in March 2004. The event is being hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, a lecturer with the Centre, says Ms Khan is an inspiring individual: "She brings with her a wealth of experience, both personal and professional, which has helped to shape and direct the movement. There are huge challenges facing the human rights regime in the wake of the so-called 'war on terror'. Despite early criticisms, Irene was steadfast in her arguments that international civil society must not be consumed by the politics of fear, and she has led Amnesty's efforts to recapture this human rights versus security debate". In 1980, Ms Khan joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and worked in a variety of positions at Headquarters and in field operations to promote the international protection of refugees. From 1991 to 1995 she was Senior Executive Officer to Mrs. Sadako Ogata, then UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Appointed as the UNHCR Chief of Mission in India in 1995, Ms Khan was the youngest country representative at that time, and in 1998 headed the UNHCR Centre for Research and Documentation. She led the UNHCR team in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during the Kosovo crisis in 1999, and was appointed Deputy Director of International Protection later that year. Ms Khan studied law at the University of Manchester and Harvard Law School, specialising in public international law and human rights. She is the recipient of several academic awards, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, the 2006 City of Sydney Peace Prize, the Pilkington 'Woman of the Year' Award 2002, and the John Owens Distinguished Alumni Award of the University of Manchester. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by Ferris University (Japan) and Staffordshire University (UK). Ms Khan has been voted one of the 100 Most Influential Asians and one of the 100 Most Influential Muslims in the UK. -ends-

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Pharmaceutical and Biotech Expert Joins NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office

Pharmaceutical and Biotech Expert Joins NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office-image

Monday, 15 September 2008

Pharmaceutical and biotech business leader, Dr John Kavanagh, has taken over as NUI Galway's Director of Technology Transfer. He will work with the University's Ignite Technology Transfer Office to commercialise and license the work of researchers on campus. Dr Kavanagh will also further develop the University's partnerships with industry and the business community. Dr Kavanagh joins NUI Galway from Bioniche Teoranta, a company based in Inverin, Co. Galway, specialising in sterile injectables, where he was Managing Director for five years. Previously, he occupied senior positions at Abbott Laboratories, Sandoz/Novartis and Schering-Plough. Speaking about his new role, Dr Kavanagh said: "NUI Galway was the first University in Ireland to create a dedicated technology transfer office. I look forward to building on the excellent work that has already taken place." He added: "Never more so, than when there is an economic downturn, does the entrepreneurial approach to business need to be nurtured. The University, with its world-leading research and strong industry partnerships is well positioned to continue its technology commercialisation success." So far this year, the University's Ignite Technology Transfer Office has filed 42 invention disclosures, 15 patents and licensed six technologies to industry. Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed Dr Kavanagh to the University: "John brings with him a wealth of experience in all aspects of technology transfer and the commercialisation of research. He will, no doubt, lead the further development and growth of the Ignite Technology Transfer Office in the coming years." Originally from Dublin, Dr Kavanagh is a graduate of UCD, having completed a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry. He also holds a Diploma in Applied Finance from the Irish Management Institute. -ends-

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