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Speaker Biographies

Keynote Speaker

A registered nurse for more than 20 years, Prof. Diana Baptiste specialises in cardiovascular care and prevention. Her sustained scholarship focuses on cardiovascular health across the care continuum for underserved populations, grounded in responding to social justice issues influencing health outcomes. Through funded projects, she has served in the role of principal and co-investigator to advance cardiovascular care and reduce health disparities. Her work in identifying cardiovascular disease risks among Black populations has been nationally recognized through (opens in a new window)American Heart Association EPIǀLifestyle council.

She has published peer-reviewed papers in areas of cardiovascular disease, nursing education, diversity, and cultural humility. Dr. Baptiste is a certified nurse educator whose teaching is grounded in cutting-edge, evidence-based instructional methods with a strong commitment to health equity in practice, research, scholarship, and academic service. She is an exemplary integrated scholar who is committed to transforming patient care as well as supporting nurses of the future. Dr. Baptiste is the principal faculty for the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing’s (opens in a new window)Center for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care, guiding continuing education programmes and dissemination of research from students, faculty, and international collaborators. Dr. Baptiste also demonstrates influential leadership in several professional organisations including the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and is a fellow and board member of the (opens in a new window)Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

Twitter: @BaptisteDiana

Prof Jane Ball (RN, PhD, FRCN) started undertaking research into nursing workforce and related policy in 1990. She has worked at the Institute for Employment Studies, as Policy Adviser at the RCN, as Deputy Director of the National Nursing Research Unit (King’s College London) and since 2014 has been based at the University of Southampton.

Her research focusses on exploring how features of nursing employment and deployment (such as staffing levels or shift patterns) impact on care quality, patients, nurses themselves, and organisational effectiveness. She is currently leading a national evaluation of the N50k programme to examine the efficacy of recruitment and retention activity undertaken to increase the number of RNs working in the NHS in England by 50,000 by 2024. She is also leads the Magnet4Europe study in England, and a national survey into the work lives and wellbeing of nurses working in Mental Health.  

Professor Hugh P. McKenna CBE, PhD, B.Sc(Hons), RMN, RGN, RNT, DipN(Lond), AdvDipEd, FFN RCSI, FEANS, FRCN, FAAN, MEA, MEASA

Professor Hugh McKenna is a general and mental health nurse by background and until recently, was Dean of Medical School Development and PVC Research and Innovation at Ulster University. He has over 250 publications, including 17 books. His research has been cited 21,500 times.  He is a Fellow of four prestigious international nursing organisations. In 2013, he received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Royal College of Nursing and in 2014, a lifetime achievement Award at the College of Psychiatry. In a 2018 Government report he was named one of the most influential nurses in the 70-year history of the NHS.

In 2021, he chaired the UK Research Excellence Framework Expert Panel for Pharmacy, Dentistry, Allied Health Professions, Biomedical Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery and had chaired similar panels in 2014 and 2008. The results determine how millions of pounds in research funding is distributed to UK universities. He also chairs panels in Sweden and Hong Kong. In 2019 and 2020, he received two Honorary Doctorates and held 7 international visiting professorships, was appointed Member of the Academia Europaea, and a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

He is a member sits on the Department of Health’s Clinical Ethics Forum, advising on ethical issues facing health and social care.  Until recently he was chair of the largest mental health, learning disability and addiction charity on the island of Ireland. In 2020, he was appointed Non-Executive Director of the Western Health & Social Care Trust, serving a population of 300,000 people; he chairs its clinical ethics committee.  In 2022, he was appointed Auditor for the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Council.  In 2023, he was appointed Vice Chair of the Alzheimer’s Society UK, became a member of the Hong Kong Standing Review Board, named by Stanford University as one of the World's Top 2% of scientists, received the Sigma Theta Tau’s Europe Award as one of the top 100 nurses over the last 100 years, awarded by Nursing Times as one of the top 70 nurses since 1948 and became Editor in Chief of the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. In 2024 he gave keynote presentations at international conferences in England, South Korea, Hong Kong, Slovenia and Italy. 

Contact the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems

Health Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4
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