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Chief Academic Officer Group

Chief Academic Officer Group 

The seven Chief Academic Officers (CAOs) of the Hospital Groups linked to the six Medical School Universities act as the bridge between the Universities, the Hospital Groups and the acute hospitals and their affiliated Community Healthcare organisations (CHOs).  As COVID-19 made itself known throughout Ireland in 2020 the CAO's began to harness their resources to focus on areas that needed urgent attention. The Chief Academic Officers of the 7 Hospital Groups began meeting weekly to discuss ongoing issues facing students and staff in their respective hospitals and universities. This group was established and originally chaired by Professor Timothy Lynch who was followed by Professor Anthony O'Regan with Professor Helen Whelton taking over as Chair in May 2023.

Chief Academic Officers
The CAOs foster partnership for the mutual benefit of both sectors through the pursuit of excellence in education, training, research and innovation. This two/three- way bridge is the key to develop an Academic Health Science System (AHSS) in Ireland as well as enhancing the core tenets of Sláintecare. The CAOs work with colleagues in all arms of the health sector and medical schools to enhance an academic approach in the hospitals and the community to improve integrated patient care. A key aim of the Hospital Group structure, established in 2013, is to deliver healthcare through the AHSS model. The appointment of CAOs to each Hospital Group was a formal recognition of this aim and of the need for a stronger relationship between Hospital Groups, acute hospitals and their university partners. As CAOs, our primary mission is to ensure that the people of Ireland get optimal healthcare. The CAOs established a national CAO weekly forum early in the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic to assist the State. The national CAO forum developed a very productive working relationship to facilitate key initiatives in medical simulation education, to improve clinical placements for students and to stimulate research and innovation through work on the National Research Governance model and the National Irish COVID-19 Biobank (NICB).

Chief Academic Officer Annual Reports 

Now, to ensure the continual development of sustainable quality and safe healthcare in Ireland, the CAOs seek to establish and drive the development of the AHSS model to assist with the implementation of Sláintecare. The AHSS can be the model that links service delivery and academia, supporting healthcare education as a career choice and enabling translational research and innovation. This will support excellence in healthcare and lead to significant benefits to the patients and to the State. Implementing Sláintecare via the AHSS is the best option to develop and improve Irish healthcare. We believe that there is a need for government policy to underpin the AHSS model of care.

UCD Health Affairs and Chief Academic Officer Group launch CAO Annual Report 2023

(A PDF version of CAO Annual Report 2023 can be accessed by clicking on the link below)

Annual report

The HSE move to the Health Region structure and implementation of Slaintecare was planned in 2023, with the changes coming into effect in 2024. This planning phase formed the backdrop to the CAO work in 2023.

In this report, you will find an overview of the work of the CAO group in 2023, including developments, progress, and challenges within the Education and Training of healthcare staff, and Research and Innovation within our healthcare sector. The report also outlines key Engagements and Partnerships of the CAO Group in 2023, some highlights from last year, and key priorities for 2024 -2025.

You are invited to read the report at your convenience and should you require any further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

For further information on the Chief Academic Officer Group, please visit https://www.ucd.ie/healthaffairs/chiefacademicofficergroup/.

UCD Health Affairs

Woodview House, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
T: +353 1 716 3481 | E: health.affairs@ucd.ie