Meet the committee

Chairperson: Stuart Garrett

Stuart is a senior physiotherapist in St James’s Hospital. He trained in UCD and has completed an executive MBA. Stuart’s interest and experience working in international health and development is below:

  • Secretary of CSP professional network ADAPT: Chartered Physiotherapists in International Health and Development for 2 yrs (2014 to 2016).
  • Founder and Chairperson of registered Irish charity CHEEERS: Developing Healthcare Together for 4 yrs (2014 to present). CHEEERS: DHT is an Irish multidisciplinary professional volunteer sending organization with projects in Uganda.
  • Board member of registered charity UCD Volunteers Overseas for 3 yrs (2013 to 2016). Also founder and clinical tutor/project team lead UCDVO Uganda Kisiizi project 2012 to 2016. Volunteered with UCDVO 2008 to 2016 in Uganda, India, Nicaragua and Haiti.
  • Recipient of the UCD Michael Smurfit Aspire Scholarship 2016 (in light of International Health and Development contributions) to complete part time executive MBA to secure skills in administration, management and leadership to aid work in the development sector and the health service.
  • Supported under graduate and post graduate research in Uganda. Reviewer Disability and Rehabilitation International Journal.

As chairperson, Stuart has the following aims for the CPIHD:

  • To support best practice in International Health and Development
  • Facilitate dissemination of research, service developments or innovative projects/practices to contribute to developing this area
  • Enable networking between healthcare professionals and organisations working in this area and to move away from working in silos to support larger national and international agendas
  • Keen to see professional and student MDT volunteering recognized, grown and receive greater support within the Irish Healthcare system and follow similar models of practice to the UK and other nations
Vice-Chairperson: Clíona O’Sullivan

Cliona is a physiotherapist and Assistant Professor at University College Dublin. She graduated from Robert Gordon University in 1997 and worked for 10 years in a variety of clinical areas in Ireland, Scotland and Burkina Faso, West Africa.

In 2011, she led the design and development of the first MSc level graduate entry physiotherapy programme in Ireland. She has a keen interest in global health, stemming from her experience in West Africa and endeavours to foster an awareness of global health issues among students. She developed international interdisciplinary clinical placements in India and Uganda with UCD Volunteer Overseas and a partnership with the Physiotherapy School at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda. She has embedded Global Health into the BSc curriculum and delivers guest lectures on the Trinity MSc in Global Health programme and UCD’s Global Development Goals Module.

In 2017, she was SUDA education mentor with World Confederation for Physical Therapy and Humanity and Inclusion to strengthen capacity in physiotherapy education in Niger, West Africa, ( She is currently representing WCPT on the World Health Organisation Technical Working Group for the Package of Priority Rehabilitation Interventions. Global Health Grant Funding includes: Government of Ireland Academic Mobility Grant (2018); ESTHER Ireland Funding (2018, 2016); ADAPT UK Research Award-International Health (2016); Networking Grant for Global Health Research, Irish Aid and Health Research Board (2007). Teaching awards include: UCD College Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, (2017) and UCD Nominee for Universitas 21 Excellence in Health Science Teaching (2015 and 2016).

She has conducted and supervised a number of rehabilitation research projects in low and middle-income countries, including Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Uganda and India. She has presented at national and international conferences and serves as a reviewer for international peer review journals.

Secretary: Claire O’Reilly

Claire O’Reilly qualified as a Physiotherapist from University College Dublin in 2009. She spent a number of years working in both private practice and Crumlin Children’s Hospital as a Senior Physiotherapist. Her overseas work started with a final year clinical placement in the Red Cross Paediatric Hospital in South Africa, which launched a strong interest in the health needs of displaced and conflict affected populations.

After some fun professional experiences in Ireland – including a brief stint as the behind the scenes physiotherapist on the TV show ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family” and Physiotherapist for Ireland’s  U18 Women’s Basketball team – Claire moved to full time overseas and humanitarian work. She spent some time working in Uganda in Kisiizi hospital – initially as a volunteer Physiotherapist, and later returning as a Clinical Tutor with UCD. She has also completed long and short term missions with a number of INGOs, and in 2015 moved to Jordan to work with the Centre for Victims of Torture, with a focus on chronic pain and mental health oriented Physiotherapy.

She currently works for Humanity & Inclusion (the new name for Handicap International) responding to the Syrian crisis, and since late 2016 has worked in partnership with WHO to launch and co-lead a working group for Physical Rehabilitation & Disability services in Syria. She is currently overseeing a country wide research project assessing the health needs of persons living with injury and disability, and working with partners to define a minimum training package for rehabilitation professionals in Syria.

Claire is currently completing her dissertation for a Masters in Public Health, examining health risks for refugees in Kenya and Jordan, and recent publications include chapters in Humanitarian Action & Ethics: An Anthology and the textbook Physiotherapy in Mental Health & Psychiatry.

Treasurer: Eimear Ring

Eimear is a Chartered Physiotherapist who graduated from the University of Ulster Jordanstown in 1999. She subsequently worked in the NRH, Tallaght Hospital, Mater Hospital & St James’s Hospital treating adults. She then moved to Primary Care where she did Home Visits and Outpatient work with adults. She is currently working in Primary Care Paediatrics.

She joined the Board of Trustees of the Registered Charity CHEEERS: Developing Healthcare Together in May 2016 after travelling to Kisiizi Hospital as part of the Multidisciplinary Allied Health Professional group in April 2016. Eimear returned to Kisiizi in 2017 as joint team-leader. She became Vice-Chairperson of CHEEERS: Developing Healthcare Together in August 2017.

In her spare time, Eimear enjoys reading, running & attending sporting events.

Communications Officer: David Kennedy

David Kennedy hails from Tramore, Co. Waterford, and trained as a physiotherapist in UCD between 2012 and 2016. Immediately post-qualification, David enrolled in a year-long research masters and completed a study investigating the use of co-design methods to design an online support programme for patients who have completed the Ulysses chronic pain management programme in Tallaght Hospital. He began working in St James’s Hospital as a staff grade physiotherapist in October 2017 and is currently working in musculoskeletal outpatients.

In July 2015, David first worked overseas as a student physiotherapist on the UCD Volunteers Overseas project in Kisiizi Hospital, Uganda. During this project, he completed a research project with colleagues that evaluated the impact of a short-term rehabilitation and educational intervention for children with physical disabilities and their main carers. In July 2017, David travelled to Kisiizi for a second time as a student leader with UCD Volunteers Overseas. He also spent two weeks in Kisiizi in April as team leader for the CHEEERS: Developing Healthcare Together 2018 project.

In addition to working overseas, David has continued to foster a keen interest in global health issues. Research conducted as student in Kisiizi in 2015 was displayed as a poster at the RSCI Global Health conference in 2016, while David was also chosen to represent UCD and the Universitas 21 UNSDG student conference later that year. He has completed the UCD Volunteers Overseas Development Education programme and works with Comhlámh to conduct pre-departure training for volunteers. David was also sat on the UCD Volunteers Overseas Health Science Working Group from 2016-2017.


Newsletter Officer: Romy Madden


Education Officer: Naomi O’Reilly

Naomi came into Physiotherapy following a career in Sport spanning over 15 years, working predominantly in the field of Paralympic Sport and Exercise Rehabilitation for People with a Disability. She believes stronly in the role of physical activity and exercise as a means to foster health and well being. She currently works in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda as a Staff Grade Physiotherapist, on a Women’s Health & Paediatric Rotation which incorporates both Inpatient and Outpatients. I am also a Learning Architect with Physiopedia assisting with the development of new courses for Physiopedia Plus.

Naomi has always had an interest in International Health and Development and first worked overseas in Ethiopia in 2005-2006 with Right to Play (RTP) as a Project Coordinator on a Disability Sport Project partnering with the Ethiopian Paralympic Committee and with Cheshire International. She also went on to work with the Ghana Sociaety for the Physically Disabled Sports Wing through Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) in 2008-2009 assisting with the development of Sport and Physical Activity Programmes for people with a Disability throughout their Programmes in Ghana. In addition to longer term projects Naomi has been involved in a number of shorter term projects including most recently acting as Clinical Tutor for Multi Disciplinary Team of Physiotherapy, Medical and Nursing Students completing their elective placements at Kisiizi Hospital, Uganda with UCDVO incorporating a Rehabilitation Camp for Children with Cerebral Palsy, Community Based Rehabilitation and Outreach visits, and provision of Physiotherapy services for 6 wards with three student physiotherapists. My role involved five weeks working in Uganda with pre-planning trip to finalise Project Plan, Pre-departure training, and Debriefing workshops in conjunction with student assessment forms, project reports and evaluations.

In addition to working overseas, Naomi has a keen interst in Global Development and strongly believes in the role of education and use of technology in fostering opportunities to work with people globally through these means. She has also worked remotely with a number of organisations to assist with ongoing development of international health and development projects including the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled, Adapted Physical Activity International Development, Right to Dream and the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Development Committee. She was developed the Physiopedia Plus Course on Global Development and works with Physiopedia to develop Courses and assist with coordinating Massive Open Online Courses through Physiopedia and their Partnership with the ICRC including Club Foot, Management of Children with Cerebral Palsy and Wheelchair Service Provisions.


Research Officer: Maca Hourihane

In 2005 Maca was employed as a senior physiotherapist by the Brothers of Charity Services Galway. She started work as a Chartered Physiotherapist 1982 at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dublin. Field experience in humanitarian assistance started in 1985 and involved working with NGOs in Africa and Eastern Europe as a physiotherapist. This included working for the ICRC at the war injury hospital in Lokichokio, (Kenya) in 1995/1996.  Contracts were between 6-18 months duration with the emphasis on teaching and training for sustainable development. This contributed to an awareness of survivors of torture which lead to starting services at the Irish Centre for Survivors of Torture in 2000. In 1998/1999 she moved to Venice and Copenhagen to complete the European Masters in Human Rights and Democratization.

On return to Ireland, Maca went back to work as a physiotherapist at the NRH and also worked part time in the Department of Politics as a tutor/administrator for the University College Dublin input into the European Masters in Human Rights and Democratization. In 2000- 2001 she was a Clinical Teacher for Trinity College Dublin Physiotherapy School. She relocated to Galway 2001 to complete a Masters of Law (LLM) programme at the Irish Centre for Human Rights (National University of Ireland Galway). She has participated in election observation missions for both OSCE and the EU. In an effort to bring this all back home on a practical level, she is now a Regional Volunteer Migration Coordinator for the Irish Red Cross. She is also an active member of the Galway Anti Racism Network aiming to advocate for human rights and cultural diversity.

Other interests? Music plays an important part in her life and she lives in Galway with her husband.


Committee Member: Ailís O’Dea

Ailís is an Occupational Therapist, who graduated from Trinity College in 2015. Since then she has worked in Peamount Healthcare across a variety of settings, re-establishing an Occupational Therapy service in the Older Adults residential service and in the Respiratory rehabilitation unit. Ailís currently works in Age Related rehabilitation promoting independence and recovery to clients who have had a stroke or other orthopaedic or medical issue that has reduced their functional performance.

Ailís has a keen interest in health promotion, wellness and a preventative approach to healthcare. She worked on the Peamount Wellness committee, delivering workshops to staff on wellness and stress management. This year she travelled to Uganda as part of the CHEEERS team, working to provide education to staff and nursing students on preventing pressure injuries and the importance of sitting patients out on appropriate seating systems. She worked with the local staff and CHEEERS colleagues in setting up an activities time table on the Occupational therapy board, in the Mental Health ward. She also established a movement and relaxation group with CHEEERS team and local staff. After seeing the benefit of a dynamic MDT group working together in international healthcare Ailís is keen to continue working in this area and promoting the role of OT in the team.


Committee Member: Fiona Craven

Fiona is a Senior Speech and Language Therapist with over 12

years clinical experience. She has worked for the HSE in community and acute care settings. She currently works with both paediatric and adult clients with communication difficulties and is studying for an MSc. with Sheffield University.

Fiona has a special interest in global health issues. In 2011 she spent a year and a half working with VSO and the Ministry of Health in Guyana. Her work there focused on capacity building of local staff and on the development of a national school screening programme. Last year Fiona travelled as part of the CHEEERS Developing Healthcare Together team to Uganda where she worked on a volunteer led project developing a dysphagia service in a regional hospital. She continues to stay involved through her role on the CHEEERS: DHT board of trustees.


Committee Member: Mary Owens