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Personal Information
Name Coffey, Mary Anne
Main Department Radiation Therapy
College Title Associate Professor Part-Time
College Tel  
I established the School of Radiation Therapy at St. Luke's Hospital in 1982 and I led the discussions that culminated in the integration of the School into the University involving development of the academic and clinical curriculum and ensuring that current trends in radiotherapy are adequately reflected in the degree programme. I established the first European Committee for radiation therapists within the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and co-founder of the radiation therapy committee within the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO). I was a member of the first council of the Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy (IIRRT) and held both Secretary and President positions. I have worked extensively with the ESTRO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to improve the standard of education of radiation therapists and the quality of treatment delivered to cancer patients. I was a member of the Irish Department of Health and Children's working party which developed the national plan for radiation oncology in Ireland.
Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations, Societies
Details Date From Date To
Member of Board of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) September 2011 2014
Member of the Board of Trinity College 2005-2008 2009 2012
European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology Radiation Therapy Committee past Chairperson 1992 2010
Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy President 1998/9 1996 2008
Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy Qualifications Recognition Board 2000 2010
More Memberships>>>
Awards and Honours
Award Date
ESTRO Emmanuel van der Schueren award for contribution to education and the profession September 2009
First fellowship of the Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy for contrbution to the profession November 2007
Gunilla Bentel award for service to radiotherapy awarded by the Indian Association of Radiation Therapists 2006
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
Research Interests
AUDIT Adult & Continuing Education Allied Health Education Basic Skills Education
Education and training Education/Instructional Programs Educational Improvement Educational Reform
Educational Restructuring Educational Studies--Developing Countries Evidence based practice Higher Education
International Education/Training Learning Motivation Lifelong Learning QUALITY ASSURANCE
Research Projects
Project title Best Practice in Radiation Oncology: Training RTT Trainers
Summary An initiative supported by ESTRO in conjunction with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)chaired by Mary Coffey. It has been increasingly recognised that across much of Europe insufficient time and focus is given to the practice of radiation therapy as an integral part of the education of radiation therapists. This has an impact on both recruitment and retention of staff in the clinical departments and on the level of additional training required following qualification. To attempt solving this issue, ESTRO and the IAEA supported this project which was structured to provideparticipants with the skills to be able to design, prepare and present a short course on a topic that they identified as an important area for radiation therapists in their own country. The first element of the project was a short course designed to cover all aspects of course preparation and presentation including the definition of academic content and the practical issues such as venues, cost, faculty etc. The project is divided into four phases: the first week an introductory workshop during which the participants defined the topic and began to prepare their individual course. The second phase, the presentation of the first short course in their own country monitored by a member of the teaching faculty; the third a three day feedback session for the full group and the fourth is the presentation of two further short courses. The long term aim is integration of the topic into the basic education programme for radiation therapists and a raising of the academic content relating to radiation therapy. The first project commenced in 2008 with the short course held in Vienna from 31st August 4th September, 2008 attended by 24 participants representing 8 countries. Ideally, three participants from each country were invited representing clinical, academic and professional society. It was felt that this would give weight to the courses designed and presented and ensure that all interested parties would support the initiative. This course was a mixture of lectures, workshops and interactive feedback sessions. The lectures focused on the best approach to preparation of academic content and on the factors that must be considered from a practical perspective when organising a local course. This was a learning experience for both participants and faculty and was therefore flexible in terms of ensuring the maximum benefit gained. participants identified the topics most appropriate for their country and, together with the faculty, agreehow this could be best constructed within the confines of a three day course. In some instances the aim might be to develop and present a single course to three different kinds of participants, for others the three courses developed would be presented as a continuum to the same audience. The topics covered a wide range of topics including practical implementation of patient management systems, site specific management and professional development. The second phase is the delivery of the first short course monitored and if necessary supported by input from the faculty and the delivery of a further two courses within a two year period. Discussions with the educational facilities in the country should commence to address issues of curriculum relevance and development.
Funding Agency Supported by the ESTRO and the IAEA
Type of Project Educational improvement
Date from August 2008
Date to
Person Months

Project title Revision of the European core curriculum for radiation therapists including scope of practice
Summary Education programmes for radiation therapists vary widely both internationally and across the European member states. Many programmes have very limited radiation therapy content focusing mainly on diagnostic imaging or, in some instances, general nursing. The technological aspects of radiotherapy are constantly evolving and the level of responsibility taken by the radiation therapists is frequently not supported by academic knowledge or clinical education. The original European core curriculum published in 1995 attempted to address this issue by recommending the introduction of a minimum standard across the then member states. This met with only minimal success and the revision of the European core curriculum in 2004 gave more specific guidelines relating to the educational experience, recommended academic content and duration and quality of clinical education. With the development of technology and raised public profile of the high level of risk associated with radiotherapy there is a increased acknowledgement of the need for appropriate education programmes for the staff involved in treatment delivery. The second review of the European core curriculum has therefore included an extensive survey of scope of practice and will aim to link the academic and clinical content to the scope of practice and level of responsibility undertaken by radiation therapists across the member states
Funding Agency European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
Type of Project Educational improvement
Date from end 2008
Date to end 2010
Person Months

Project title Accuracy requirements and uncertainties in radiotherapy
Summary The preparation of an IAEA human health publication on accuracy and safety in radiotherapy. A working group met initially to define the areas and draft a table of contents. Sections for writing and second checking were defined and a second workshop will review the draft document and allocate further review tasks in preparation for publication.
Funding Agency International Atomic Energy Agency
Type of Project Safety
Date from July 2009
Date to Beg 2011
Person Months 2

Project title Education and professional development for Radiation Therapists
Summary A working group was established in May 2010 to review the professional profile, working practices and education level of radiation therapists internationally. A preliminary draft document was outlined and will be circulated for discussion prior to task allocation and review
Funding Agency International Atomic Energy Agency
Programme Education and professional development
Type of Project
Date from May 2010
Date to
Person Months

Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Simulation in the Determination and Definnition of Treatment Volume and Treatment Planning in, editor(s)Seymour H. Levitt, James A. Purdy, Carlos A. Perez, Philip Poortmans. , Technical Basis of Radiation Therapy: practical clinical applications. 5th edition, Springer Verlag, 2011, pp133 - 156, [Sasa Mutic, Mary Coffey, James A. Purdy, Jeff M. Michalski and Carlos A. Perez]
Issues in patient safety in, editor(s)Pawlicki et al. , Quality and Safety in Radiotherapy, New York, Taylor and Francis Group, 2010, [Mary Coffey]
Aude Vaandering and Mary Coffey, Patient setup for PET-CT acquisition in radiotherapy planning, Radiotherapy and Oncology, 2010
Non Peer Reviewed
Cronin B, Menezes G, Coffey M, Continuous Professional Development in Radiation Therapy within Ireland, Radiotherapy & Oncology, 8th Biennial ESTRO Meeting on Physics and Radiation Technology for Clinical Radiotherapy, Lisbon, Portugal, 24-29 September 2005, 76, (Supplement 2), Elsevier, 2005, ppS81
Menezes G, Craig A, Coffey M, Gillham C, Hollywood D, Development of an Oncology Teleconferencing System in Ireland, Radiotherapy & Oncology, ESTRO 23, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 24-28 October 2004, 73, (Supplement 1), Elsevier, 2004, ppS538-S539
More Publications and Other Research Outputs >>>

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Last Updated:21-SEP-2014