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Posted: 07 August 2007

UCD, Mater, St Vincent’s sign agreement to create Dublin Academic Health Care
Thomas Lynch appointed chair of Dublin Academic Health Care

UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science has signed an historic agreement with the Mater University Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital to form Ireland’s first academic medical centre, Dublin Academic Health Care.  Dublin Academic Health Care will be an independent entity with its own board under the chairmanship of Mr Thomas Lynch and will be operational in September 2007. 

The UCD team working with the Chairs, senior medical staff and CEOs from the two hospitals was comprised of the President, Dr Hugh Brady, Head of the School of Medicine and Medical Science, Professor Bill Powderly, the Registrar, Dr Philip Nolan and the Vice President for Research, Professor Des Fitzgerald. The agreement was formalised in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the three institutions on 26th July 2007.  Under this MOU each of the partner institutions will have equal ownership of DAHC and the new board will shortly appoint a Chief Academic Officer.

“This initiative will build on longstanding ties between the founding institutions to create a world class hub of clinical care, teaching and research.  It will facilitate rapid and effective transfer of research ideas into clinical practice,” said Dr Hugh Brady. “DAHC will greatly enhance the capacity for leading bench-to-bedside medical research, and it will offer the very best environment to educate and train the health professionals and medical scientists of the future.”

The new entity, Dublin Academic Health Care (DAHC) will pool the expertise and resources of the three organisations to improve integration of patient care, enhance medical training and advance collaboration between biomedical researchers and clinicians.   

“This new venture will enhance medical education through all stages by combining the current responsibility of the medical school for undergraduate training with more co-ordinated training of doctors at the graduate level,” said Professor Bill Powderly.

As the first of its kind in Ireland, DAHC will enable the coordinated deployment of resources and the development of shared services across the three institutions to improve access and quality of patient care in Ireland.  The DAHC can expect to look after 290,000 outpatients and over 100,000 inpatients.  It has over 300 consultants and over 1,400 beds available.

According to Thomas Lynch, Chairman, the new DAHC will give patients access to a greater number of medical specialists and allow the hospitals to develop a range of additional subspecialties.  “Through the DAHC we will be able to create greater strength in particular sub-specialties so that patients can be treated by consultants who deal with their specific complaint on a constant rather than an intermittent basis.”

“International experience shows that where universities and hospitals combine and take a more holistic view of their core activities - patient treatment, education and research - they have the ability to make an enormous contribution to patient care.” he concluded.

During its initial stages, DAHC will focus on medical education, research and the establishment of joint medical departments for each speciality, including the integration of medical (consultant and non-consultant hospital doctors) staffing across the Mater and St Vincent’s.

The two hospitals are already linked to UCD with many of the consultants undertaking clinical research and medical student training in addition to their patient care.  More recently, the university has established clinical research centres with both the Mater and St Vincent’s hospitals to increase the volume of clinical research undertaken and to translate biomedical and clinical research into improved patient care1.  There is a clear benefit to increased co-ordination of biomedical and clinical research, and research outputs will cite each partner, as well as the DAHC. 

The number of academic healthcare centres across North America and Europe is increasing as internationally recognised medical and teaching centres develop their own models of cross-hospital collaboration in conjunction with universities. The Dublin model will be unique in that it reflects the profile of needs in the Irish healthcare environment and the combined strengths of the three institutions. 

The scale and coordination of activities afforded by the establishment of DAHC will contribute to the realisation of national policy objectives pertaining to healthcare delivery, medical education, and biotechnology research and development2.  

To head up the new entity, the three partner institutions have announced the appointment of Mr Thomas Lynch as chair of Dublin Academic Health Care. Mr. Lynch has an extensive background in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology field including the chairmanship of Amarin Corporation plc and Tripep AB (companies conducting research in the fields of neuroscience, cardiology and immunology) as well as directorships in other medical research companies and Institutes. Mr Lynch has been a director of IDA Ireland since 2001 and is chairman of the Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation.

The Board has a current membership of:

  • Thomas Lynch, Chairman (Chairman, Amarin Corporation plc)
  • Dr Hugh Brady (President, University College Dublin)
  • Mr Brian Conlan (CEO, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital)
  • Prof Desmond Fitzgerald (Vice-President for Research, UCD)
  • Mr Nicky Jermyn (CEO, St Vincent’s Healthcare Group)
  • Mr John Morgan (Chair, Board of Mater Misericordiae University Hospital)
  • Dr Risteárd Ó Laoide (Chairman of the Medical Board, St Vincent’s Healthcare Group)
  • Mr Kevin O'Malley (Chair, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Medical Council)
  • Prof Bill Powderly (Head of UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science)
  • Prof Noel Whelan (Chair, Board of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group)

Each of the partner institutions will have equal ownership of DAHC. Existing assets and liabilities of the institutions will remain with each of the founding institutions. Under the guidance of Mr Tom Lynch, the DAHC will be run by a newly created Board which will shortly appoint a Chief Academic Officer.


1 Current research includes inflammatory & infectious disease (e.g. arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic lung disease, hepatitis, HIV), cardiovascular diseases (pulmonary hypertension, COPD, heart failure, atherosclerosis, cystic fibrosis), cancers (e.g. breast, prostate, bladder and colorectal), psychiatric disorders and neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s Disease, schizophrenia, stroke, etc), diabetes, obesity and metabolic disorders.

2 Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation 2006-2013, Children’s Health First 2006, Strategy for Cancer Control 2006, Fottrell Report 2006, Buttimer Report 2006.

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UCD, Mater, St Vincent’s sign agreement to create Dublin Academic Health Care - Pictured: John Morgan, Dr Hugh Brady,Prof Noel Whelan