November 2012

Success at Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Scholarships and Prizes Competition

Mon, 12 November 12 09:00

Three medicine students took home awards and prizes at the annual Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Scholarships and Prizes Competition, administered by the National University of Ireland. Hilary Dowdall, Dearbhla Doherty and Julia Gleize won prizes in pharmacology (first prize), pathology (first prize) and physiology (second prize) respectively.

The recipients of the medical scholarships and prizes are determined by an agreed Extern Examiner in each subject, who consider examination material of students nominated by the Principals/ Deans of Medicine in the constituent Universities and RCSI.

Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart was born in Wicklow in 1799, the son of a clergyman. In 1829 he obtained the licence of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland and MD of Edinburgh. Early in his medical career he specialised in the treatment of mental illness and established an asylum in Lucan. This proved to be inadequate for the numbers seeking admission and, in 1873, he transferred to another house in Palmerstown where he set up the Stewart Institution. The existence of the Stewart’s Hospital today is largely due to the funds originally provided by Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart.

In 1888 a bequest was received by Trinity College, Dublin and the Royal University of Ireland, from the estate of Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart, for the establishment of Medical and Literary Scholarships. On the dissolution of the Royal University, its share of the Trust was allocated equally between the Queen's University of Belfast and the National University of Ireland.

The Trust is administered by three Trustees (representing the respective beneficiaries), one from Trinity College, Dublin, one from the Queen's University of Belfast and one from the National University of Ireland. Under the terms of the trust it is further provided that two-thirds of the income be allocated for the provision of medical scholarships and one-third for the provision of literary scholarships.

Hilary Dowdall, stage three Graduate Entry Medicine student and winner of first prize in the pharmacology category said:

I was given a choice of one of three essay topics and had just one week to prepare in advance of the competition. I chose to discuss the pharmacological approaches to the clinical management of depression. One challenge was to write a succinct essay as this is such a broad topic. Professor Kevin Malone and Professor Patrick Murray were very helpful to my preparation as they gave a good idea of what is currently clinically relevant in this field.

I gave a brief historical overview of the treatment of depression, and the physiology and epidemiology of the condition. My main focus was on the specific drug classes and their mechanisms of actions, indications for use, potential adverse effects and drug-drug interactions. I used guidelines from National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), American Psychological Association, and the Maudsley guidelines to inform my discussion. I touched on the use of antidepressants in pregnancy, bipolar depression and depression with psychotic symptoms. I concluded with an outline of gaps in existing practices and recent promising research that aims to fill these gaps.

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