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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 43 (Scopus), 51 (Google), 225 (i10)) 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
Vice-Chair, Meath Foundation August 2017
Editorial Board, Journal of Transport and Health March 2018
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
Chair, Irish Society of Physicians in Geriatric Medicine 01/10/2020
Member, Editorial Board, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 01/01/2021
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
O'Neill D, Ageing through the lens of arts and humanities: a core element of gerontology, Societas Gerontologica Fennica, Helsinki, 27 April, 2023, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Fitzpatrick N, O'Neill D, Stereotypes and Benevolent Ageism: Lessons from Tatie Danielle, J Amer Geriatr Soc, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Noonan D, Ryan M, Whelan D, O'Neill D, Medical fitness to drive, emergency service vehicles and crash risk, Ir J Med Sci., 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Donnell DO, Romero-Ortuno R, Kennelly SP, O'Neill D, Donoghue PO, Lavan A, Cunningham C, McElwaine P, Kenny RA, Briggs R., The 'Bermuda Triangle' of orthostatic hypotension, cognitive impairment and reduced mobility: prospective associations with falls and fractures in The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. , Age and Ageing, 52, (2), 2023, pafad005 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
O'Neill D, Conflicting COVID-19 excess mortality estimates, Lancet, 401, 2023, pP431 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Clifford A, Byrne S, Ni Bhriain O, Cheung PS, Sheikhi A, Woods C, O'Neill D, Gowran R, Glynn L, Moss H, Louw Q, Thebane L, Coote S, Salsberg J., Preliminary findings from the early phases of the Music and Movement for Health study: the feasibility of an arts-based health programme for older adults., Rural and remote health, 23, (1), 2023, p8142 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Grey, T.; Xidous, D.; O'Neill, D.; Collier, M.J., Growing Older Urbanism: exploring the nexus between ageing, the built environment, and urban ecosystems, Urban Transformations, 5, 2023, p8 , Notes: [Background Some of the main urban issues we currently face include ageing populations, the impact of the built environment, and the treatment of urban ecosystems. Yet the dynamic relationships and synergies between these issues, and how they are influenced by urban growth and evolution, receive little attention. Research focus We explore the nexus between people, the urban built environment, and ecosystems as they grow, age, change, and evolve and propose an integrated approach to examine the relationships, synergies, and challenges that may emerge over time within urban neighbourhoods. We argue that this should draw on the lived-experience and wisdom of older people as part of an intergenerational approach underpinned by local, traditional, and ecological knowledge. We propose Growing Older Urbanism as an ecological, co-evolutionary, and complex-adaptive-systems-based framework to explore the nexus between ageing, the built environment, and urban ecosystems and to reveal the synergies and antagonisms that might exist between these three elements. This framework is designed to be used for various types of urban neighbourhoods, and by a diverse range of stakeholders. As part of this approach, we provide a preliminary visual canvas to illustrate how the framework might be used within a selected neighbourhood over an agreed timespan. Conclusion This paper presents some early thinking around the Growing Older Urbanism concept, while also outlining questions and a proposed transdisciplinary research programme to further develop the framework. We argue that understanding the relationship between ageing and the co-evolution of people, place, and ecosystems may teach us about our past, present, and future, and help us grow towards inclusive and sustainable communities.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Offiah C, Tierney S, Egan B, Collins RD, Ryan DJ, McCarthy AJ, Smith DR, Mahon J, Boyle E, Delaney H, O 'Donohoe R, Hurley A, Walsh RA, Murphy SM, Bogdanova-Mihaylova P, O 'Dowd S, Kelly MJ, Omer T, Coughlan T, O 'Neill D, Martin M, Murphy SJX, McCabe DJH, Frequency of inter-specialty consensus decisions and adherence to advice following discussion at a weekly neurovascular multidisciplinary meeting, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Donoghue J, Xidous D, Grey T, O'Neill D, Residential Long-Term Care and the Built Environment: Balancing Quality of Life and Infection Control, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Leinert C, Fotteler M, Kocar TD, Dallmeier D, Kestler HA, Wolf D, Gebhard F, Uihlein A, Steger F, Kilian R, Mueller-Stierlin AS, Michalski CW, Mihaljevic A, Bolenz C, Zengerling F, Leinert E, Schütze S, Hoffmann TK, Onder G, Andersen-Ranberg K, O'Neill D, Wehling M, Schobel J, Swoboda W, Denkinger M, SURGE-Ahead Study Group., Supporting SURgery with GEriatric Co-Management and AI (SURGE-Ahead): A study protocol for the development of a digital geriatrician., PloS one, 18, (6), 2023, pe0287230 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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O'Neill D, Integrating Humanities and Arts in Gerontology and Age-Friendly Education, Advancing Age-Inclusivity in Higher Eduction, a Newsletter of the Gerontological Society of America, (Winter), 2022, p1 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D,, Gerontology for Geriatricians - with Style, 2022, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, You should care about the state of our nursing homes - you may well end up in one: It is time we start identifying with nursing home care as being a significant possibility in our own futures, 2022, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, Irishman's Diary: Grief and remembrance: Desmond O'Neill on Verdi's Requiem , 2022, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
O'Neill D, And for unto us Medicine, Messiah, and Christmas, 2022, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
CIECA Fit to Drive Expert Group, Setting Standards for Disabled Driver Assessment, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, International Commission for Driver Testing (CIECA), January , 2021, Report, 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


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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
Sir William Taylor Lecture, Association of Medical and Dental Graduates RCSI 19 May 2022
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