West Northwest Hospitals Group and NUI Galway, 27th Nov. 2013
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Bill Maher, CEO, West Northwest Hospitals Group

Bill Maher was appointed CEO of the West Northwest Hospitals Group by the Minister for Health in December 2011 and took up the post in January 2012.

The Hospital Group was established to deliver improved performance and effectiveness in the safe delivery of acute hospital services as the first step in the formation of a Hospital Trust as part of the Government’s reform of the health service.

As CEO, Bill is responsible for group performance which includes developing a single management structure with a single clinical governance model and managing all hospitals under one budget and one employment ceiling. His remit also includes developing the role of the smaller hospitals. The hospitals in the group are Galway University Hospitals, Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe and Roscommon Hospital.

Bill who is originally from Tullow, Co Carlow, was previously Acting CEO of St Vincent’s University Hospital. Before joining St Vincent’s University Hospital in 2006, Bill worked for 16 years with the NHS in a career spanning mental health services, senior management at City Hospitals Sunderland (an Acute Trust providing a wide range of hospital services such as A&E, surgical and medical specialties, therapy services, maternity and paediatric care) and as Chief Operating Officer for North of Tyne Commissioning Consortium which has a staff of 8,000 people and a budget of £1.2bn.
Bill has an MBA, an MSC in Health Information and is currently studying towards a BA (Hons) in Law. Bill is passionate about Patient Care and Performance Management and looks to build strong relationships with all stakeholders to deliver sustainable service improvement.


Dr. James J. Browne, President, NUI Galway


On 6th March 2008 Dr James J. Browne became the twelfth president of NUI Galway. A native of Athlone, Co Westmeath and an engineering graduate of NUI Galway, Jim Browne (59) is a former Dean of Engineering (1996-2001) and has served as Registrar and Deputy-President of the University from 2001 - 2008.

He has a record of achievement in academic leadership, strategic planning and change management within NUI Galway. Dr Browne has published over 200 academic papers and 15 books, including translations into French and Chinese. He was awarded the degree of DSc by the University of Manchester for published work in 1990, is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the Irish Academy of Engineering.

Dr Browne’s leadership roles include: member of the editorial board of a number of international research journals; member of Irish Universities Quality Board since 2004; President of Engineers Ireland 2008/2009; Member of the Senate of the National University of Ireland since 2001; member of the Board of CAO; Member of the EPSRC Review Group on Engineering Research Centres in the UK; member of the Board of Galway University Foundation since 2001; and Member of the Board of Music for Galway.

Dr Browne also has considerable experience of working with overseas universities, public and private bodies. He is married to Maeve; and they have four children.


Paul O’Sullivan, CEO, Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute–Texas
Medical Center


Since 2010, Paul O’Sullivan has served as the chief executive officer of the
Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center, which is the first freestanding heart hospital to open in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center. In his role, he oversees operations for the 147-bed hospital, and is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Institute to ensure growth, quality and operational excellence, as well as patient, employee and physician satisfaction. He also serves as leader for the heart and vascular service line across the Memorial Hermann Health System.

Under O’Sullivan’s leadership, the Institute opened the Center for Advanced Heart Failure in 2011 and established a comprehensive program for heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support in the fall of 2012. In addition to his role as CEO for heart and vascular services, O’Sullivan also has administrative responsibility for International Services and Signature Suites & Services for the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Campus.
O’Sullivan has spent much of his career working in a range of leadership roles in hospitals throughout the Memorial Hermann Health System. Prior to being named as CEO of the Institute, he served as the chief operating officer for Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital, which was recognized by Thomson Reuters in its annual 100 Top Hospitals® National Benchmarks study during his tenure. He also played an instrumental role in the $113 million expansion of the Katy Campus, while serving as administrative leader of the Orthopedic, Neuroscience, Oncology, and Heart & Vascular service lines.
Concurrent with his role at Memorial Hermann Katy, O’Sullivan served as market service line coordinator for the Southwest Market with responsibilities for orthopedics and sports medicine. He also served as an officer and board member of Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy.
O’Sullivan is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served as an adjunct professor of management at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. He earned a bachelor’s in public administration from the Whittaker School of Government at the Institute of Public Administration in Ireland, and he received a master’s in economics from the University of Dublin, Trinity College.
O’Sullivan lives in Bellaire with his wife Mary and his daughter Rachel.


Jim Mackey , Chief Executive of Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust


Jim Mackey is a qualified accountant who joined the NHS in 1990 becoming a Director of Finance at North Tyneside Healthcare NHS Trust and then Deputy Chief Executive for the new Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust.  Jim spent 18 months on secondment as Regional Director of Finance before returning to Northumbria as Chief Operating Officer in 2002. He was appointed Joint Chief Executive in 2003.

Jim acted as interim Chief Executive of Northumberland Care Trust in 2004/5 and returned to Northumbria Healthcare as sole Chief Executive in August 2005, leading the Trust to Foundation Status in 2006.

Noel Daly, Chairman, West Northwest Hospitals Group

A native of County Roscommon, Noel Daly has had a distinguished career in the health services at home and overseas: he was chief executive of An Bord Altranais (The Nursing Board) from 1982-1988 and served in senior management positions in healthcare in the UK and USA before establishing The Health Partnership in Ireland in 2004.

He also worked as a consultant to the World Health Organisation and other appointments included Chair of London First Health Group (appointed by Mayor of London) 2000-2002 and Chair of Meret Healthcare (Primary Care Company) 2008-2011. Noel retired as managing director of The Health Partnership in Dec 2011 and as voluntary chairman in April 2012.

Noel was appointed to the role of Chair of the Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group by the Minister for Health on 11 June 2012. The appointment is for three years and the Board has been established initially on a non-statutory basis.

Dr Patrick Nash, Clincial Director,West Northwest Hospitals Group


Dr Pat Nash was appointed Group Clinical Director in December 2012. In this role he is responsible for clinical governance for the Group and he is also the lead for quality and patient safety across the Group.


Pat is from Newcastle West, County Limerick and is a graduate of UCC. He did his training in Cardiology in Cork and Dublin before moving to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio where he completed subspecialty fellowships in Cardiac Imaging and Heart Failure. In 2004 he returned to Ireland to take up a post as a Consultant Cardiologist in UHG; from 2008 to 2012 he was Clinical Director for Medicine at the hospital. In 2013 Pat was appointed to the National Board for Nursing and Midwifery by the Minister for Health.


Noreen O’Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner, An Garda Siochana


Deputy Commissioner O’Sullivan joined An Garda Síochána in 1981 and has almost 30 years of professional policing experience across a wide range of both operational and administrative function areas and has worked in a broad range of police disciplines at both national and international level.

2000: Promoted to Superintendent and served in the Garda College with responsibility for specialist training and as a Detective Superintendent in the Garda National Drugs Unit.

2003: Promoted to Chief Superintendent and served as Detective Chief Superintendent at the Garda Technical Bureau and also in Human Resource Management.

2007: Promoted to Assistant Commissioner and served in the Western Region followed by Human Resource Management and was appointed Assistant Commissioner, Crime and Security in June 2009.

2011: Promoted to Deputy Commissioner Operations.


Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery, NUI Galway


Michael Kerin is Professor of Surgery in NUIGalway, Council member of the RCSI and a former Board member of the Health Research Board. He is a general surgeon with a special interest in Breast/Endocrine Surgery and runs a surgical education and large breast cancer research programme with local, national and international academic collaborators.  He has published more than 230 papers; supervised 40 MD/PhD students and currently is involved in programmes for cancer biomarker discovery, identification of novel genes and new therapeutic strategies for breast cancer. He is Chair of the Cancer strategy group in West North West hospital network.

Dr. Michael Shannon, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Health Service Executive

Previous to this appointment Michael was Area Director of Nursing & Midwifery Planning and Development Dublin-Mid-Leinster. Prior to this appointment he was Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Sligo General Hospital and North West Hospice. Before this he worked as Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Letterkenny General Hospital & Donegal Hospice and Our Lady’s Hospital Navan, Co. Meath.

He worked as a Nurse Advisor for the Department of Health and Children for three years and has extensive clinical and managerial experience ranging from Staff Nurse, Clinical Nurse Manager and Assistant Director of Nursing both in Ireland and the UK. Michaels Nursing Qualifications include General, Psychiatric and Orthopaedic Nursing. He holds a BSc (Hon’s), University of Ulster, MBA (Hon’s) Smurfit Business School, UCD and a Diploma in Education from Leicester University. Michael completed his PhD at Dublin City University.  He has been appointed adjunct Associate Professor at UCD Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Sciences. 

Michael is a graduate of Harvard University where he undertook an international healthcare management programme.  He is on the editorial board of the International Practice Development Journal.  In 2012 and 2013 Michael co-authored 3 book chapters in various international nursing publications. He was appointed Ad Eundum Fellowship, Royal College of Surgeons in 2012 in acknowledge of leading the development of the Nursing and Midwifery profession in Ireland.


Jim McGuinness, Donegal Football manager & Celtic Performance Coach


Born in Glenties, County Donegal, McGuinness was only a teenager, when part of a Donegal squad that claimed the county’s first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1992.


In July 2010 of that year Jim was appointed Donegal Senior Football Team Manager. His time at the helm with the senior team has been a major success; in his tenure he has overseen a Donegal team that has won two consecutive Ulster Senior Football Championship titles and this year he guided his native county to win the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, the county's first since 1992.


McGuinness' achievements have also been recognised internationally, earning the admiration of, among others, the golfer and Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and the Glasgow Celtic football manager Neil Lennon. On the 9th of November 2012, the Scottish soccer giants Glasgow Celtic  confirmed the appointment of McGuinness as a performance consultant, while Paul McGinley has confirmed that McGuinness will have a role to play in the 2014 Ryder Cup. Having been invited to assist Glasgow Celtic in Scotland, McGuinness is the first Gaelic football inter-county manager to have been offered a role at a professional sports team abroad.


Jim holds a Master’s of Science in Sport Psychology from Liverpool John Moores University, School of Sport & Exercise Sciences. He previously gained a BSc (hons) Degree in Sport, Exercise and Leisure from the University of Ulster Jordanstown, and a Higher Certificate in Health & Leisure studies from Tralee Institute of Technology. He has previously lectured in Sports Coaching and Sport Psychology at Limavady College, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland.


Farhad Riahi, MD, Head, Healthcare Systems Group


Farhad Riahi is Head of Novartis Healthcare Systems Group. In this role, Dr. Riahi leads Novartis efforts to become a trusted partner to healthcare systems for improving patient outcomes and system productivity, through identifying best-practice and innovative approaches for improving outcomes and productivity, and helping to accelerate their adoption.
Prior to joining Novartis, Dr. Riahi was a Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he led outcome improvement and healthcare leadership development efforts with governments, payors, and inter governmental organizations. His work focused on the prevention and management of chronic disease in developed country settings, on tuberculosis in developing countries, and on strengthening the managerial and leadership capabilities of clinicians. Dr. Riahi also maintains a part-time clinical practice in Canada, focused on serving Canada’s First Nations (native) population.

Dr. Riahi studied medicine at McGill University in Canada, trained in Canada and the United States, and holds an MBA from the Wharton School.


Dr Anthony O'Regan, Consultant, Galway University Hospitals


Dr Anthony O'Regan is a consultant in respiratory and internal medicine in Galway University Hospitals and an honorary senior lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He graduated from University College Dublin in 1990. He completed post-graduate training at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Boston University School of Medicine. He served as the first Irish Chief Medical Resident at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr O'Regan is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Ireland, is American board certified in internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Allergy and Immunology, and is a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians.  He has completed a MD doctorate in UCD. Dr O'Regan has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the American Lung Foundation, and the Irish Lung Foundation.  He has over 40 peer reviewed publications. He has received several distinguished teaching awards in USA and Ireland. At Present  Dr O'Regan is the President of the Irish Thoracic Society and the National Specialty Director for Internal and Acute Medicine with the RCPI. He has recently been appointed as the Interim Chief Academic Officer for the West/North West Hospital Group. 


Professor Ciaran O’Neill, Professor of Health Technology Assessment, at NUI Galway Engineering Science


Professor O’Neill joined the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics as Professor of Health Technology in 2008, having worked previously in Queen’s University Belfast, University of  Nottingham and University of Ulster.
He has held various visiting positions including at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica and the University of Michigan’s Centre for Gerontology. He has chaired the Northern Ireland Health Economics Group, the Health Economics Association of Ireland and Action Cancer, a leading Northern Ireland-based  charity.


Professor O’Neill brings a weight of academic experience to the post, having authored over
75 articles in peer reviewed journals, as well as various reports examining a range of economic issues around healthcare. His current funded research interests include the operation of healthcare systems as well as specific projects in disease areas including cancer, obesity/diabetes and respiratory medicine.


Colette Cowan, Group director of Nursing and Midwifery, West Northwest Hospitals Group


Colette Cowan was appointed Group Director of Nursing and Midwifery for the Group in October 2012 and was the first nurse appointed as an executive director to a hospital board.

At a strategic level Colette is responsible for the nursing and midwifery agenda for the Group and as a member of the board is accountable for the workings of the nursing and midwifery division of the organisation which equates to 3,500 staff.

Colette is from Portumna, County Galway and trained at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin. In 1995 Colette moved to the Midwest and was appointed Director of Nursing at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Nenagh in 2008 and was the executive nurse lead for the acute hospital service integration project in the Midwest in 2009. Colette was appointed as acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Galway University Hospitals in March 2012. Colette has a Diploma in Health Services Management, a BA in Public Management and a Diploma in Executive Coaching.


Joe Bradley, Executive Director of Services, Northgate


Joe Bradley is Executive Director for Services at Northgate Public Services. He is responsible for developing our service partnerships and services business, utilising our intellectual property and transformation capability to offer better services to our clients. Joe has worked in the industry for the last 30 years, including being Director of Client Services at Serco, Chief Executive Officer for Marlborough Stirling Mortgage Services, and a director at ICL (subsequently Fujitsu Services).




John Sweeney, B.Sc., M.Sc., Director, Health Care Informed (HCI)

John is the Director of Health Care Informed (HCI), which provides international regulatory compliance, risk management and quality improvement support. Prior to establishing HCI, John held the position of Director of Research and Development with the Irish Health Services Accreditation Board (IHSAB). In this role he had overall responsibility for the development, and international accreditation, of the Acute, Palliative and Residential Care Accreditation Standards.  Former roles included Director of the Irish Society for Quality and Safety in Healthcare (ISQSH), and Quality Co-ordinator in University Hospital Galway where he achieved the first ISO 9000 certification for acute care in Ireland. In the role of HCI Director he oversees projects, in Ireland, Australia and the Middle East. John continues to present and publish national and internationally. He is an honorary lecturer of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, has sat on the Advisory Committee of the European Forum for Quality in Healthcare, represented Ireland on the EU ExPeRT Project, and acted as the Technical Advisor to the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) on external evaluation. He is currently the advisor to the Supreme Council for Health, Qatar, on healthcare regulation. In 2012, he was appointed as an International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) Expert and in 2013 was elected to the ISQua board.


Dr. Ambrose McLoughlin, Secretary General of Department of Health


Dr. Ambrose McLoughlin BDS, MBA was appointed Secretary General of the Department of Health on 17th April 2012.

He holds the following qualifications:
Masters in Business Administration from University College Cork – Business School (1986);
Certificate in Public Administration – IPA (1979);
BDS, NUI – Dublin Dental School (1974)

He has over 30 years’ successful experience in the Health Service from Practitioner Level to Chief Executive.

He was previously:
Registrar/Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the pharmacy regulator;
CEO North Eastern Health Board (NEHB);
Deputy CEO NEHB, responsible for Acute Hospitals and Community Services.


Professor Frank Barry, Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, Galway


Prof. Frank Barry is an internationally renowned stem cell researcher. His particular research interest is in the therapeutic application of adult stem cells, especially mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow. For 10 years he has directed a series of research programmes focusing on the isolation and characterization of adult stem cells, and on the development of methods for their delivery in a variety of clinical indications. This has included cardiovascular and arthritic diseases. He has also developed approaches for the use of MSCs for the delivery of specific therapeutic genes, for example in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition he has an interest in proteomics and mass spectrometry for the identification of surface molecules on cells.

He joined the Regenerative Medicine Institute in February 2004 as Scientific Director and was appointed Director of the NCBES in June 2009.


Vincent Barton, Managing Director, Prospectus Strategy Consultants


Vincent is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and of École Nationale d'Administration, Paris (Public Sector Management Programme). Vincent has many years of experience in the public and commercial sectors. He has an in-depth understanding of, and specialist expertise in, the healthcare and social services sector. Vincent has an extensive consulting background in areas such as strategy development, organisational restructuring, service reviews and business case development. Vincent lectures on health policy at Trinity College, Dublin. Prior to joining Prospectus, Vincent worked in the Department of Health and Children. His responsibilities included budget and service negotiations with the health boards and major hospitals, leading the change management team within the Department and development work on the health strategy Quality and Fairness. Vincent is a former member of the Board of St James' Hospital, Dublin, the Tallaght Hospital Board, which was established to build and commission the new Tallaght Hospital and the Coombe Womens Hospital. He also worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs as Ireland's Health Attaché in Brussels during two EU Presidency periods.


Susan Mitchell, Journalist, The Sunday Business Post


Susan Mitchell is health correspondent at The Sunday Business Post. She has been in the role for three years and also contributes to a variety of radio and television current affairs programmes. Before being appointed health correspondent, Susan held various reporting and editing positions within the newspaper.





Tony O’Brien, Director General of the HSE. 


Tony O’Brien was appointed Director General of the Health Service on 26 July 2013. Tony became Deputy (effectively Acting) Chief Executive Officer of the Health Service Executive on 20th August 2012, following his appointment as Director General designate, under proposed new governance legislation for the health service, by the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, TD. The HSE (Governance) Act 2013 as commenced in July 2013.

Tony is a member of the Department of Health’s Management Advisory Committee (MAC). 

Tony was previously Chief Operating Officer of the Special Delivery Unit, Department of Health, Chair of the National Cancer Registry Board and CEO of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

Tony was the Chief Advisor to the HSE on the implementation of the National Cancer Control Strategy and Project Director for the National Plan for Radiation Oncology.

Tony has previously held the posts of Chief Executive Officer of the National Cancer Screening Service, Director of BreastCheck, and Associate and Interim Director of the National Cancer Control Programme.

Tony O'Brien is adjunct associate Professor in Health Strategy and Management at Trinity College Dublin.