Conference Speakers – DICE 2019

DICE 2019 – Conference & Exhibition for Medical Health Professionals

February 22nd  in Croke Park Conference Centre



Molly is a Professor of Health Psychology at the School of Psychology, in NUI Galway.

In 2014 Molly was awarded a Health Research Board (HRB, Ireland) Research Leadership Award (2014-2019) to establish and direct the Health Behaviour Change Research Group (HBCRG),


which aims to improve population health by developing and promoting an evidence-based behavioural science approach to health behaviour change interventions.

Molly is interested in developing novel approaches to increase the implementation and impact of evidence-based behaviour change interventions, especially in the areas of diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention and management. She is a member of the D1 Now Study team, which aims to improve outcomes for young adults with Type 1 Diabetes.

Molly is a member of the National Diabetes Prevention Programme Working Group. She is on the Executive Committees of the International Behavioural Trials Network and the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland. She sits on national and European advisory boards, including the Scientific Advisory Board of the EU Joint Programme Initiative – Healthy Diet for Healthy Life and the Advisory Board of the National Institute of Preventive Cardiology.

Molly has published over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and been awarded research funding of €7.9 million as either Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI from a range of national and international funders.


Dr. Maeve Durkan is an Irish Medical Graduate from RCSI ( Class of ’89).  Maeve completed post graduate training in both Ireland and the UK , and subsequently went to the USA and completed another Internal Medicine Residency at St Raphael’s Hospital, Yale University School of Medicine. She went on to complete a Fellowship in Endocrinology at Brown University RI, USA.




Maeve is a Diplomat of the  American Board of Internal Medicine , a Diplomat of  the American Board of Endocrinology, and a Fellow of American College of Physicians. Upon returning to Ireland, she completed a Masters in Clinical Education at NUI Galway.Maeve is the former Dean of the 1st co-joint  UL GEMS & NUIG School of Medicine Academy.



Maeve is the new incoming President of the European Union Medical Specialties  (UEMS)  Board of Endocrinology in May 2018. She has also been elected  Vice Chair of  the UEMS Council for European Postgraduate Medical assessment ( CESMA ) in December 2017, which is responsible for providing support to all post graduate specialty training and assessment in Medicine & Surgery in Europe.


She is a  Member of UEMS Examinations Board which  in collaboration with ESE  ( European Society for Endocrinology ) and other partners has now delivered the 1st European exam in Endocrinology June 2018 .

Maeve has also been  appointed to the ESE ( European Society for Endocrinology ) Clinical Committee. She sits on  the CESMA Appraisals Committee , whose role is to assess post graduate exam processes , methods and delivery in Europe. She was co-author in the new ETR ( European Training Requirement ) curriculum in Endocrinology and presented this for ratification to the European Council where it was unanimously adopted as the official European Curriculum document in Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Dr. Durkan is the Outgoing Chair of the Diabetes section IES , and  is now collaborating with the newly founded Metabolic Surgery Section of IES . She is a   Member of new national Steering group for lipid disorders.

Maeve is currently practicing in Bon Secours Hospital Cork &  has been appointed as  Senior Clinical Lecturer in Medicine at  UCC, School of Medicine .

Professor Fidelma Dunne

MD, PhD, M Med Ed., M Clin Res.

Fidelma Dunne is a Professor in Medicine at the National University of Ireland and a Consultant Endocrinologist at Galway University Hospitals group.

She obtained her medical degree from NUIG, MD from UCC, PhD from the University of Birmingham UK, Masters in Medical Education from the University of Dundee Scotland and Masters in Clinical Research from NUIG. Fidelma is a former Dean of the School of Medicine (2009-2013) and currently is a board member of the Irish Medical Council (IMC) (2013-present).


Her major research interest is in the area of pregnancy and diabetes with >200 peer review publications, >15m euro in grant funding. Her research group are conducting a number of studies as part of the ATLANTIC DIP programme including a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Metformin in GDM pregnancies (EMERGE).


In addition, she has been involved in international studies including a multicentre European funded (FP7) trial on prevention of GDM using Vitamin D and lifestyle intervention (DALI), CONCEPTT a JDRF funded trial examining the benefits of CGMS in women with Type 1 Diabetes during pregnancy and EVOLVE a pan European collection of outcomes for women with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes treated with insulin. She is currently contributing to the EXPECT study examining Tresiba insulin in women with Type 1 Diabetes in pregnancy.


Professor Dunne is a committee member of the Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group (DPSG) of EASD and is the current President of the International Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) from 2016-2020. She was a Fulbright scholar for 2014-2015 at Columbia University New York.

Professor Frances Game has been a consultant Diabetologist at the University Hospital of Derby and Burton NHS FT since 2011. She is also the Clinical Director of R&D and the Derby Clinical Trials Support unit.

Her main clinical and research interest is the Diabetic Foot and she has published over 80 papers and book chapters on the subject.


Frances has an active research interest, running several multicentre/multinational trials in this field. She is especially interested in service development, particularly the need to manage diabetic foot disease in a more cost-effective way, closer to home for patients.

She is an active teacher both locally, nationally and internationally, being regularly asked to lecture at major diabetes conferences. She has worked with Diabetes UK on their Putting Feet First campaign, and chaired the International Working Group of the Diabetic Foot wound healing subgroup from 2012-2016 and currently chairs the classification subgroup. She currently co-chairs the East Midlands Diabetic Foot Network and was appointed the NHS England Co-Clinical Director for Diabetes and Vascular Diseases for the East Midlands in May 2018.


Dr. Susan Connolly Consultant Cardiologist


Dr. Connolly graduated from University College Dublin and undertook her specialist training in cardiology in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.



After gaining her PhD, she then took up a research post in Imperial College, London and in 2006 became a Consultant Cardiologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

She has a special interest in preventive cardiology and was the Clinical Lead for the Imperial Cardiovascular Health Programme. In 2017 she moved to the Western Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland as a Consultant Cardiologist with a special interest in Preventive Cardiology.

Susan previously was the UK National Coordinator for CVD Prevention for the European Society of Cardiology on behalf of the British Cardiovascular Society. She is a past member of the Council for the British Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation and a co-author of the 2012 BACPR Core Components and Standards.

Susan was also a member of the writing group for the 3rd Joint British Societies Consensus for CVD Prevention in Clinical Practice 2014. More recently she joined the advisory board of the National Institute of Preventive Cardiology in Ireland as well as Education in Heart as a section editor for the preventive cardiology curriculum.


Claire Pesterfield is a registered nurse and works at Medical Detection Dogs as their Medical Liaison & Applications Coordinator.  Her role is to assess applications for Medical Alert Assistance Dogs and to advise with anything medical within the charity.

Previously Claire worked as a Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for 17 years and before that in intensive care and general paeds medicine for 5 years.


Medical Detection Dogs is a UK based charity who train and place assistance dogs to alert individuals to impending health crises for a number of conditions including diabetes, Addison’s disease, PoTS collapses and severe allergic reactions.  More information can be found at

Claire also has type 1 diabetes and is accompanied by Magic, her Medical Alert Assistance Dog who is trained to assist her with detecting hypo and hyperglycaemia with a sensitivity of 98%.

Joe Gallagher is a GP in Gorey, Co Wexford and the ICGP Clinical Lead in Cardiovascular Disease.  He has undertaken research in heart failure diagnosis and prevention, eHealth and global health and has been principal investigator on a number of research grants in these areas.



Joe is an Associate Clinical Professor in University College Dublin and is involved in developing research and clinical pathways for chronic diseases in Malawi.

Tomás Ahern qualified from Trinity College Medical School in 2002. He completed his senior house office training in a broad range of specialities including cardiology, pulmonology, gastroenterology and acute medicine prior to being appointed as a Specialist Registrar in Endocrinology with the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

During his training, Tomás completed speciality fellowships in Obesity and Andrology.


In 2015 he was appointed a Consultant in Endocrinology at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, which is an international centre of excellence for cancer and endocrinology.


Tomás took up his present appointment as Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist in the Louth Hospital Group in 2016. He has several publications in peer reviewed endocrinology journals and has a particular interest in reproductive endocrinology and metabolic bone disease. He has conducted clinical trials using steroid hormones and incretin therapies. He is currently a referee for the Open British Medical Journal and for Clinical Endocrinology.





 Professor Mike Lean MA, MB, BChir, FRCP (Edinb), FRCPS (Glasgow), FRSE holds the Glasgow University chair of Human Nutrition, based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where he is also a consultant physician with NHS responsibilities for an acute medical ward and emergency receiving duties.


His primary training was in Medicine, completing a Cambridge MA degree in History and Philosophy of Science. Medical undergraduate training was at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and postgraduate training mainly in Aberdeen and Cambridge.


He received research training as an MRC Clinical Scientist for 4 years at the MRC and University of Cambridge Dunn Nutrition Laboratories, and on a Leverhulme Scholarship to the University of Colorado in Denver, in 2003.  He has held Visiting and Adjunct Professorships at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen; the University of Otago, New Zealand (currently) and at University of Sydney, Australia (also currently).


He has been a non-executive director of the Health Education Board of Scotland for 8 years, and chaired the Food Standards Agency Advisory Committee on Research. He was awarded the Rank Nutrition lectureship by Diabetes UK in 2013; the Tenovus Medal in 2017 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2018.


Professor Lean has published over 450 peer-reviewed papers.  H-Index (November 2018) = 98 (61 since 2013).  Visit his Google Scholar page. His research, and related PhD training programmes, encompass the wide range of molecular, clinical and public health aspects of Human Nutrition, a body of integrated sciences underpinning all biomedical and health research. In 2014 he was one of only 19 Scottish researchers in the top 1% of their fields world-wide for international citations, on the Thomson-Reuters ‘Highly Cited’ Researcher listing.  He is PI for the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial, the largest research programme ever funded by Diabetes UK.

Kate Gajewska is a Psychologist (MSc) and a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Her HRB funded PhD project is on the determinants of the access to insulin pump therapy by adults with type 1 diabetes in Ireland. Before she moved to Ireland, Kate had worked for many years as a diabetes educator, psychoeducator and certified d insulin pump trainer in one of the biggest Paediatric diabetes centres in Poland (Mother and Child Institute, in Warsaw, Poland).


In 2014 she moved to Dublin, where she worked as a researcher in the Diabetes & Endocrinology Centre in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital and as an assistant psychologist in Diabetes Day Centre in the Connolly hospital, Blanchardstown. She is a member of Diabetes Ireland, Irish Endocrine Society, Psychological Society of Ireland, and Irish Psychologists in Diabetes group, and actively supports the International Society of Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) as a member of Advisory Council and Communications Board. She is not only a health care professional, but also a patient (type 1 diabetes diagnosed in 1987).


She engages in a lot of initiatives aiming to improve the quality of life of people with type 1 diabetes. Her project ‘Edu-Cukrzyca’ (and Edu-Diabetes T1’ aims to educate people in all age groups on how to live well with diabetes. She has organised and conducted around 100 workshops for people with type 1 diabetes, and created a YouTube video-blog on diabetes self-management (observed by thousands!). In her free time she likes to run, sail, dive and travel – together with 2 year-old daughter, husband and two pets.




Professor Catherine McHugh – Consultant Endocrinologist, Clinical lead for Diabetes and Endocrinology at Sligo University Hospital, and Lead Physician in the Specialist Eating Disorder Unit at Sligo University Hospital.

She has a particular interest in education and examinations and is Member of the Board for the Royal college of physicians of Ireland (RCPI) membership examinations, convenor of clinical Examination in Sligo, and on Junior Council of the RCPI, Regional Lead for Basic Specialist Training in General medicine, RCPI national mentor for BST Trainees, Strand Lead for General Medicine in Undergraduate medicine at the NUIG/Sligo Academy, and is currently the Lead for Postgraduate Education at Sligo University Hospital.


Pauline Wilson is a Clinical Specialist Podiatrist who co-ordinates a multidisciplinary foot team which serves a large population based in Dublin, Ireland. She is the current Irish delegate to D-Foot international as well as a member of the POINT working group for both D-Foot and FIP-IFP. Additionally she is the current chairman of the International Academy of Podiatric Medical Educators for FIP-IFP. She has represented podiatry on a number of local, regional and national committees and is currently an honorary lecturer for the RCSI and visiting lecturer at Trinity College in Dublin.


Pauline has presented widely at international conferences on a variety of topics in relation to the management of diabetic foot disease. Pauline  has a keen interest in clinical based research with over 20 publications in the last 2 years.




Dr. Anna Clarke is Health Promotion and Research Manager with Diabetes Ireland, based in the Dublin office with a national remit for all Diabetes Ireland professional services. She developed and rolled out throughout Ireland the structured diabetes education programme CODE, led the development of an online education programme DIABETES SMART and was part of the development team for the Galway University Health Promotion Module. She has an in-depth knowledge on Diabetes and has extensive contacts and support within the Health Care, Patient Support Groups and Political sector.


Her main focus is as an advocate for people with diabetes on the National Diabetes Working Group, National Paediatric Working Group and other national bodies. She appears frequently as a media spokesperson for Diabetes Ireland on all diabetes related issues, research and services.


Alison Barnes is a Senior Research Dietitian working with Professor Roy Taylor at Newcastle University on two ongoing research studies investigating remission of type 2 diabetes, the DIabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), training and mentoring practice nurses to deliver a complex weight management intervention in a primary care setting, and ReTUNE (REversal of Type 2 diabetes Upon Normalisation of Energy intake), investigating the effect of weight loss upon type 2 diabetes remission at lower body mass indexes (BMIs under 27 kg/m2).



She is a graduate of the Diabetes UK Clinical Champions programme, and for the past 2 years has been privileged to act as a group head judge for the Quality in Care (QiC) annual diabetes awards. Alison’s background is as a UK Registered Dietitian specialising in diabetes and weight management across both primary and secondary care. In addition to her research post Alison has an honorary contract as a Diabetes Specialist Dietitian within Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust.


Having been  diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes aged 8, Alison has an insight into the kinds of day to day challenges faced by people living with long-term conditions, and advocates an approach which empowers people to better understand and manage their own health, including proactively discussing the different dietary approaches which are supported by UK diabetes.


Seán F. Dinneen, MD, MSc, FRCPI

National Lead for the Diabetes Clinical Programme, HSE

Consultant Endocrinologist, Galway University Hospitals, Galway, Ireland

Professor of Diabetic Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland



Seán Dinneen graduated from University College Cork Medical School. After a period of postgraduate training and work experience in the USA (Mayo Clinic), Canada (McMaster University) and the UK (Addenbrooke’s Hospital) he returned to Ireland as an Academic Endocrinologist.


Seán was part of successful bids that brought a School of Podiatry and a Clinical Research Facility to NUI Galway. He served as Head of the School of Medicine from 2013 to 2016. In June 2016 he was appointed National Lead for the Diabetes Clinical Programme of the HSE and received a Personal Professorship from NUI Galway.



His professional interests include developing and evaluating programmes of self-management education and support for people living with diabetes, developing optimal models of community-based diabetes care and understanding the diabetic foot. He is a Regional Editor (for UK and Ireland) with Diabetic Medicine, the journal of Diabetes UK and is Clinical Lead for Schwartz Rounds in Galway University Hospitals.




Dr. Michael Higgins is the Diabetes Programme Manager at Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI), an Irish Life Science company leading one of the largest and most ambitious population scale research studies in the world. The aims of this diabetes study including using genomics to identify disease causing variants to allow for more accurate/ earlier prediction of disease risk and the identification of drug targets for the development of novel therapeutics.


Michael holds a BSc in Pharmacology from UCD which was followed by a PhD in Pharmacology specialising in the area of Renal Toxicology working under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Tara McMorrow in the Conway Institute in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, UCD. Following his PhD, Michael worked in the clinical trials department of a large pharmaceutical company prior to transitioning over to the exciting world of genomics.



Dr. Neil Black graduated in medicine from Queens University Belfast in 1999 and trained in endocrinology and diabetes in Northern Ireland. He graduated MD in 2007 after a 2-year research programme investigating insulin resistance.


On completion of training he took up the position of consultant physician in Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry/Londonderry in 2009, taking over lead for the Western Trust Diabetes Network in 2012.


He works full time in the NHS and practices in both endocrinology and diabetes, including both outpatient and acute inpatient management. He is a member of the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record Clinical Content Group and is a clinical advisor for the design and development of the NIECR Diabetes Pathway clinical record system.

Neil sits on the NI Diabetes Strategy group which is currently forming a NI-wide network. Over the last 3 years he has been reforming diabetes services in his area with his team to improve service delivery and the experience of the person living with diabetes using it. His interests outside medicine are too obscure to be of interest and of little use to anyone.

Helen Strapp began her nursing training in Our Lady’s for Sick Children, Crumlin. She then went on to do a post graduate course in general nursing in the Meath Hospital, were she all staff for a number of year. Following that Helen moved to St. Vincent’s University Hospital, where she worked for a total of 12 years of which the last five years was as a Clinical Nurse Manager on a vascular thoracic ward with a four bedded HDU unit.

Helen  developed an interest in wound management and after completing a post graduate course in wound healing and tissue repair in the University Of Wales College Of Medicine, Cardiff, she became involved in wound care and education.


Helen completed her MSc in the RCSI. Her research was on nurses knowledge of pressure ulcer prevention and management. Helen has done her Nurse prescribing and also wound debridement course in Bradford University. Helen is a founder member of the Wound Management Association of Ireland and pasted member of the Leg Ulcer Form. She is a horary lecturer with the RCSI.


At present Helen is working in Tallaght University Hospital as a Registered Advanced Nurse Practice Tissue Viability.