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Trinity College Dublin

Personal Information
College Photo Name Comiskey, Catherine
Main Department Nursing
College Title Professor
College Tel +353 1 896 2776
Professor Comiskey holds a B.A.(Mod) degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin University, Ireland and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in biomathematics with statistics and epidemiology from Dublin City University, Ireland. In 2007 she was appointed by Minister of Education and Science to serve on the board of The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, (IRCSET). Prof. Comiskey has over 20 years research experience in statistics and mathematics applied to healthcare. As former Director of Research, inaugural Director of the Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation (CPHI) and Professor of Healthcare Statistics at the School of Nursing and Midwifery she has had responsibility for developing and implementing the Schools strategic plan for research and is currently leading on directing and promoting innovation and research in healthcare practice. Professor Comiskey's personal research interests are in implementation, modelling of treatment and intervention outcomes with a special interest in substance misuse, infectious diseases and children.
Details Date
Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) 2013
Inaugurial Chairperson of the Children's Research Network of Ireland and Northern Ireland (CRNINI) 2010 to present
Member of board of The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, (IRCSET). 2007-2010
Invited external consultant and expert statistical reviewer for the Health Techology Assessment (HTA) funding programme of the National Health Service, UK 2008 to present
Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations, Societies
Details Date From Date To
Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, Chartered Mathematician 1998
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Basic Basic Basic
Irish Medium Basic Medium
Description of Research Interests
Professor Comiskey has a particular interest in the design, implementation and execution of evaluations of treatment and intervention programmes with a view to providing research based evidence for policy and service delivery decisions. She has an interest in using bio-mathematical and statistical models to identify key factors which improve the implementation and the outcomes from these treatments and interventions. Areas of application that Comiskey has worked in include substance misuse, treatment for heroin and opiate use, cocaine use, prevalence estimation of hidden phenomena, infectious diseases including HIV and AIDS, HepC, measles, HIB meningitis, HPV and cervical cancer, immunisations, physical and mental health outcomes for children from disadvantaged areas, obesity and randomised control trials.
Research Interests
Addiction Addiction and substance abuse Biostatistical methods Cervical cancer
Child centred research questions, study design, data analysis Clinical research, trials Drug Abuse Epidemiology
Health outcomes Infectious diseases Mathematical modelling Population Studies
Substance Abuse Surveys & Survey Research
Research Projects
Project title The BREATHE Project
Summary A study of the development and use of assisted living technology by informal care givers and people living with chronic health conditions.
Funding Agency Enterprise Ireland and The European Union
Programme Assisted living programme
Type of Project Development and use of technology
Date from June 2013
Date to September 2016
Person Months

Project title Evaluating a Healthy Schools Intervention
Summary The aim of this research is to provide a longitudinal evaluation of the Healthy Schools Program and its implementation. The principal objective of this study is to evaluate the implementation and outcome of the Healthy Schools Program. The study will assess cause and effect whereby causal inference will be achieved through the measurement of key variables and comparisons of samples on the basis of pre- and post-outcome measures. Hence, we realise our objective by measuring improvements in outcomes. There are several levels at which these outcomes can be defined and measured. In other words, to what extent is the outcome positive for the child, their family and local community as well as for society at a more global or national level. We then examine these levels within a health, social and economic context. The various elements of the survey instrumentation described model, measure and assess improvements at all of these levels.
Funding Agency CDI with Atlantic Philanthropies and The Office of the Minister for Children
Type of Project Research and Evaluation
Date from October 2008
Date to October 2012
Person Months

Project title Health Outcomes of Opiate Users and Their Children
Summary International evidence on treatment outcomes for opiate use demonstrates that treatment works (Simpson and Sells, 1990, Gossop et al, 2003, McKeganey et al (2006) and Teeson et al 2006). Within Ireland Cox, Comiskey and Kelly (2007, 2007a, 2007b) has demonstrated that while treatment improves outcomes for drug use, crime, and social functioning little change was observed among the physical and mental health outcomes of opiate users in treatment in Ireland. Comiskey and Stapleton (2010, 2010a) in their work on additional services accessed by opiate users in treatment have highlighted that further researcher encompassing a greater range of health measures is required. Furthermore Comiskey et al (2009) found that while substances are used by the individual, the effects of substance use on the family and in particular children are considerable. Cox and Comiskey (2007) found that many current opiate users are either caring for their child in the home or have children in foster care. Children living with substance using parents are exposed to an assortment of threats to their development (Keane, 2007). Studies have found that families with a member who used drugs, whether active or stable, had consistently lower levels of well-being than families that were drug free (McKeown and Fitzgerald, 2006). The aim of this study is to provide baseline 12 and 24 month assessment of the health and well being of 200 opiate users and their children. Participants were interviewed at treatment intake and one year and two years post treatment. For ethical reasons it was not possible to implement a randomised control design however a comparison group of opiate users not in treatment were recruited. Baseline results on physical and mental health outcomes using the MAP, SF12, BDI, BAI and Kidscreen 25 are now available for opiate users in Ireland and their children. To date funding for baselineonly has been obtained.
Funding Agency Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and Trinity College Start-up Fund
Type of Project
Date from September 2009
Date to October 2014
Person Months

Project title ROSIE, The Research Outcome Study in Ireland evaluating drug treatment effectiveness.
Summary The Research Outcome Study in Ireland (ROSIE) is the first large-scale, prospective, multi-site, drug treatment outcome study in Ireland. Using a structured questionnaire, the substance use, health, crime and social problems of 404 opiate users were assessed at treatment intake (6-months, 1-year & 3-years later). (see
Funding Agency National Advisory Committee on Drugs
Type of Project Lonitudinal treatment Evaluation
Date from 2002
Date to 2009
Person Months

Project title National Consultation with Children and Young People on a New National Children’s Strategy, 2012 - 2017
Summary In 2011, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (now Department of Children and Youth Affairs, DYCA) commissioned a team from Trinity College Dublin to conduct a nationwide consultation with children and young people. The consultation was underpinned by Article 12 from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) which meant respect for children’s views and using a child centred perspective in our research methods. The purpose of the consultation was to ensure that the needs of children and young people would be heard and documented. The aim was to provide children and young people with an opportunity to contribute to the development of the new National Children’s Strategy (2012-2017). The new National Children’s Strategy will set out the key objectives to guide children’s policy for the next five years. The Strategy aims to improve the lives of children and promote the enhancement and protection of their rights. This wide ranging consultation will target every Primary and Post-Primary school student in Ireland.
Funding Agency OMCYA
Type of Project
Date from 2011
Date to 2012
Person Months

More Research Projects>>>
Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
McGilloway, S., Ni Mhaille, G., Bywater, T., Leckey, Y., Kelly, P., Furlong, M., Comiskey, C., O’Neill, D. and Donnelly, M. , Reducing child conduct disordered behaviour and improving parent mental health in disadvantaged families: A 12-month follow-up and cost analysis of a parenting intervention. , European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry , (1), 2014
Wynne C., Comiskey CM, McGilloway S, Quirke MB, O'Sullivan K, Hollywood E. , The relationship between body mass index and health related quality of life in urban disadvantaged children, Quality of Life Research, 2014
Comiskey, C.M. , A 3 year national longitudinal study comparing drug treatment outcomes for opioid users with and without children in their custodial care at intake. , Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment , 44, (1), 2013, p90 - 96
Tobin, K. and Comiskey, C.M. , A novel application of a classical method for calculating the basic reproductive number, R0 for a gender and risk structured transmission dynamic model of Human Papilloma virus infection., International Journal of Biomathematics, 6, (6), 2013, p1350046-
Notes: [ ]
Emma L. Murphy, Catherine M. Comiskey , Using chi-Squared Automatic Interaction Detection (CHAID) modelling to identify groups of methadone treatment clients experiencing significantly poorer treatment outcomes., Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment , 45, (4), 2013, p343 - 349
More Publications and Other Research Outputs >>>

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Last Updated:24-SEP-2014