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Professor Desmond O'Neill


PROFESSOR IN MEDICAL GERONTOLOGY (Trinity Inst. of Neurosciences (TCIN))


As a medical undergraduate of TCD, Prof O'Neill spent a year in Marseilles as a volunteer with a NGO working with older people, and with electives in Hamburg. He subsequently trained as a geriatrician in St James's Hospital and the University of Bristol. Following an appointment as consultant geriatrician in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham he returned to Dublin and currently is the senior academic in Medical Gerontology at the TCD campus at Tallaght University Hospital. His focus of research (h-index = 37) is rooted in gerontology and the neurosciences, with a strong emphasis on liaison with the humanities. He has pioneered a number of initiatives, including first Medical Director of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland; founder-Chair of Council on Stroke of Irish Heart Foundation; co-PI on first Irish longitudinal study on ageing (HESSOP-2); co-PI on Irish National Audits of Stroke and Dementia Care; founder-editor of first Irish gerontology journal 'Irish Ageing Studies Review'; chair of Irish government Working Group on Elder Abuse, producing blueprint 'Protecting Our Future'; co-founder National Centre for Arts and Health; member of team that developed the European Masters in Gerontology; co-PI on first Irish Cochrane Review on ageing; and founder member and subsequent president of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society. He has subsequently led on the Irish Traffic Medicine Programme, which has developed innovative Certificates in Traffic Medicine and Road Safety with the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. He has been extensively involved in the Age-Friendly University initiative, successfully proposing to adoption in TCD and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and on the steering committee of the founding Age-Friendly University, Dublin City University. He has been honoured as the first Irish gerontologist to be awarded Fellowship of the Gerontological Society of America, and first Irish geriatrician to be awarded Fellowship of the American Geriatrics Society.
  Age related diseases   AGED, AUTOMOBILE DRIVING   Ageing, memory and other cognitive processes   Ageing, stroke, dementia   ALZHEIMERS DISEASE   ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE   Biomedical ethics   DEGLUTITION   DEGLUTITION DISORDERS   DEMENTIA   DRIVING   Gerontology   MEMORY CLINICS   OLDER PERSONS   STROKE   TRANSPORT
 Healthy Ageing Research Project
 Irish National Audit of Dementia Care (INAD)
 A Collaborative International Knowledge Synthesis to Update Guidelines for Determining Medical Fitness to Operate Motor Vehicles
 Validation of the Profile for Communication Abilities in Dementia (P-CAD)
 Dementia Friendly Irish Hospitals: Opportunities, Barriers, Costs and Solutions

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Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
French Fluent Fluent Fluent
German Basic Basic Basic
Details Date From Date To
Co-organiser and lecturer on first three courses in Social and Applied Gerontology in Ireland (with the Irish Red Cross, and St Patrick's College, Maynooth, National University of Ireland) 1987 1989
Founder/Chair, Council on Stroke, Irish Heart Foundation 1997 2009
Secretary, Irish Gerontological Society 2003 2008
Secretary, European Union Geriatric Medical Society 2006 2008
Founder Board Member, European Union Geriatric Medical Society 1999 2006
Member, OECD Working Group ERS4, Ageing and Transport: Mobility Needs and Safety Issues 1998 2001
President, Irish Gerontological Society 2008 2011
President-Elect, European Union Geriatric Medicine Society 2008 2009
President, European Union Geriatric Medicine Society 2010 2011
Member, International Advisory Board, World Demographic Association Forum 2011 2014
Co-Chair, RCPI Working Group on Fitness to Drive 2010 2011
Chairman of scientific subcommittee and council member of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland 1987 1989
Chair, National Centre for Arts and Health 2010
Immediate Past-President and member Executive Board, European Union Geriatric Medicine Society Jan 2012 Dec 2013
Executive Board Member, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, European Region (IAGG-ER) 2011 2015
Member, Editorial Board, European Geriatric Medicine 2011
Provisional member, Humanities and Arts Committee, Gerontological Society of America 2014 2016
Member, Humanities and Arts Committee, Gerontological Society of America 2016
Chair, Policy Group on Ageing, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Feb 2016
Council Member, RCPI Oct 2014 Oct 2018
Chair of the Humanities and Arts Committee, Gerontological Society of America November 2018
Editorial Board, Journal of Transport and Health March 2018
Vice-Chair, Meath Foundation August 2017
Chair, Trainees Committee, British Geriatrics Society 1991 1992
Committee Member, Irish Transportation Research Network August 2018
Section Editor, Geriatric Medical Humanities, European Geriatric Medicine journal 01/06/2019
Director of Postgraduate Education, Robert Graves Postgraduate Centre, Adelaide and Meath Hospital Dublin 1994 2002
Member, Committee for Safe Mobility of Older Persons, US Transportation Research Board 1997 2000
Chair, Government Working Group on Elder Abuse 1999 2002
Chair, National Review Group on Implementation of Policy on Elder Abuse 2003 2010
President, Dublin University Biological Association 2001 2002
Medical Director, Alzheimer Society of Ireland 1993 2004
Driving assessment in, editor(s)O'Hanlon S, Smith M , A comprehensive guide to rehabilitation of the older patient 4e , London, Churchil Livingstone, 2021, [O'Neill D], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS
Health, ageing, authenticity and art in, editor(s)Sholl J, Rattan S , Explaining Health Across the Sciences, Basel, Springer Nature, 2020, pp137 - 147, [O'Neill D], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
O'Neill D, The Great Enigma: Tomas Tranströmer and the magic of geriatric medicine, European Geriatric Medicine, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Xidous D, Grey T, Kennelly SP, O'Neill D, Dementia Friendly Hospital Design: Key Issues for Patients and Accompanying Persons in an Irish Acute Care Public Hospital , Health Environments Research & Design, 13, (1), 2020, p48 - 67, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
O'Neill D, Warmth and humour in dementia, Lancet Neurology, 19, (7), 2020, p571 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Horgan E, Lawson S, O'Neill D, Oropharyngeal dysphagia among patients newly discharged to nursing home care after an episode of hospital care, Ir J Med Sci, 189, 2020, p295 - 297, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Benamer C, Fitzpatrick G, Ridgway P, O'Neill D, Persistent Perioperative Cognitive Impairment: prevention, management and sharing with patients , Ir Med J, 113, (5), 2020, pP68 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
O'Neill D, Kelly BD, O'Keeffe ST, Moss H, Mainstreaming medical humanities in continuous professional development and postgraduate training, Clinical Medicine, 20, (2), 2020, p208 - 211, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
O'Neill D, Protecting our Longevity Dividend during Covid-19, Ir Med J, 113, (4), 2020, pP50 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
Fallon A, Dukelow T, Kennelly S, O'Neill D, COVID-19 in Nursing Homes, QJM, 113, (6), 2020, p391 - 392, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL

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O'Neill D, Covid-19 deaths in care sector are a wake-up call to everyone, 2020, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, Is it wrong to prioritise younger patients with covid-19? Tackling the twin challenges of gerontological illiteracy and ageism, 2020, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D., Let's not forget care homes when covid-19 is over - Teasing out the many determinants of this perfect storm, 2020, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D. , Medicus, the Power of Knowledge: a Novel Approach to Medical History. , 2020, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, No means no for people living with dementia, 2020, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, The Humanities and Me: Desmond O'Neill, 2019, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, Material Medicine: Objects, and Bodies, AMH 2019, Plymouth, UK, 2019, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, A cut above - An Irishman's Diary on Hector Berlioz and medicine, 2019, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, BMJ Blog: Medicalisation as a pejorative term, 2019, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, RCPI Heritage Blog: What links Munchausen's syndrome with Ireland?, 2019, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Sheppard Memorial Prize, Irish College of General Practitioners 1982
Irish Heart Foundation National Stroke Champion 22 November 2011
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Humanism in Aging Leadership Award January 2013
Visiting Professor, Australian and New Zealand Geriatric Medicine Society June 2013
Guest Editor, Geriatric Medicine CME, Clinical Medicine April 2014
Fellowship, Gerontological Society of America June 2014
Joseph T Freeman Award, Gerontological Society of America Nov 2014
Inaugural Presidential Medal and Lecture, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Sept 2015
Irish Healthcare Award: Best Education Project: Traffic Medicine Project 5 Nov 2015
Irish Healthcare Award: Best Education Meeting: Traffic Medicine 5 Nov 2015
Adjunct Professor, Dept Psychology, Maynooth University 2018
Peter Beckett Memorial Prize, Dept of Psychiatry, TCD 1982
L J Hurwitz Memorial Lecture 2019, Queen's University Belfast 30 May 2019
Gordon Watson Lecture and Medal, XXIX Waterford Surgical Meeting 12 Oct 2019
Health Promotion Award for video on positive ageing: Health Education Bureau, Dublin 1982
Elizabeth Brown Prize, British Geriatrics Society 1988
Fellow's Travel Scholarship, American Geriatrics Society 1991
Fellow's Travel Scholarship, American Geriatrics Society 1992
Fellowship, American Geriatrics Society 2006
All-Ireland Inspirational Life Award March 2010
Marjory Warren Lecturer, British Geriatrics Society May 20111