November 2018 | Samhain 2018

Prof Butler Honoured with Kathleen Lynn Medal

Thu, 1 November 18 14:40

Dr Paul O' Connell, Dr Patrick Gavin, Prof Mary Horgan (RCPI President), Prof Karina Butler and Dr Ellen Crushell, Dean of the Faculty of Paediatrics.

The Faculty of Paediatrics at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland have awarded that the inaugural Kathleen Lynn medal, in recognition of an outstanding contribution to Child Health, to Professor Karina Butler (UCD Medicine 1978), UCD Clinical Professor of Paediatrics, Consultant Paediatrician and Infectious Diseases Specialist at Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin and Temple Street Children's University Hospital.

The Faculty of Paediatrics, in agreement with RCPI President Mary Horgan and RCPI Council, established the Kathleen Lynn Medal in 2018 to be awarded by the Faculty for exceptional service on behalf of children, especially in Ireland. It is the highest award in Ireland to recognise paediatricians that have been outstanding in their careers and in their contribution to paediatrics.

The medal was presented to Professor Butler at the Faculty of Paediatric Autumn conference on 12 October 2018.

Exceptional Service on Behalf of Children

Professor Karina Butler's professional life has been one of exceptional service on behalf of children. She is recognised internationally as an authority on Paediatric Infectious Diseases and a world expert in the field of Paediatric HIV/AIDS, particularly in the area of prevention of mother to child transmission. Cases of mother to child transmission of HIV are now a rarity in Ireland. The UCD Medicine alumna took up the position of Consultant Paediatrician with special interest in infectious diseases in Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin in 1994. There she established the Rainbow Clinic National Centre for HIV Medicine in Children, where she works to this day. In addition to HIV infected children, the Rainbow clinic is the national referral centre for paediatric infectious diseases.

A Tireless Advocate for the Benefits of Vaccination

Karina was a leading force for the development of national guidelines for the management of congenital Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Herpes simplex, Syphyillis and Toxoplasmosis. She is a longstanding member and the current chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and a tireless advocate for the benefits of vaccination for the children of Ireland.

Karina's efforts in the areas of prevention of congenital infection and childhood immunisation are all the more remarkable as they were achieved while she carried out her duties as the sole paediatric infectious dieases specialist in Ireland for over a decade.

About Dr Kathleen Lynn

Dr Kathleen Lynn (1874-1955) was the daughter of a Church of Ireland rector in Co. Mayo and her upbringing and education were that of a staunchly Protestant and Unionist family. She was deeply affected by the destitution that she witnessed as a child among the local population and as a result decided to become a doctor. She graduated from the Royal University of Ireland (now UCD) in1899 and she was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1909.

She devoted most of her professional life in Dublin to caring for sick and malnourished children and with other colleagues established St. Ultan’s Hospital for infants. As well as treating sick and malnourished children, the hospital addressed the wider role of educating young mothers about breast-feeding and basic principles of hygiene and nutrition. Dr. Lynn was an ardent feminist and a patriot who supported the workers during the 1913 lockout and was Chief Medical Officer during the 1916 Easter Rising.

She also led the way for women working in Medicine in Ireland and St Ultan's was staffed mostly by female doctors. She did much to improve the lives of Irish children through medicine and education and we look forward to presenting this medal as our highest award to those making equally outstanding contributions to children's health.

Reproduced with kind permission from the Royal College of Physicians Ireland.