Health Board: upcoming conferences, talks, campaigns and events

Body image at the Science Gallery and public talk on bullying by John Lonergan

1) Body image and what we consider to be normal in this social media age is the theme of a panel discussion at the Science Gallery, Dublin, on Thursday, May 24th, at 6.30pm. Held in partnership with the Health Research Board, the speakers are psychiatrist Caroline Maher, UCD psychology researcher Amanda Fitzgerald and paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane. The conversation will be chaired by broadcaster and journalist Louise McSharry. Admission free. See

2) Former governor of Mountjoy Prison John Lonergan will give a public talk on bullying at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, on Wednesday, June 6th, at 7pm. His talk will focus on the importance of community and compassion in confronting and understanding bullying. Tickets €25/€15 on

3) 'Message in a Bottle' is a tool designed to encourage older people to keep their personal health and medical details on a standard form and in a common location (usually the fridge) in their homes. The idea is that if emergency services are called to people's homes, they will immediately know where to look for crucial medical information. The forms and bottles are available for free from local authority offices. The scheme was recently launched by Dublin City Council.

4) Large portion sizes, proximity of fast food outlets to schools and digital marketing of unhealthy foods directed at young people are factors which contribute to obesity. The World Health Organisation estimates the number of Europeans living with obesity has more than tripled since the 1980s. European Obesity Day was marked on Saturday, May 19th. Taxing non-nutritious edible products, imposing planning restrictions on fast food outlets and implementing mandatory regulations for online marketing targeted at children and young people are policies recommended at the Association for the Study of Obesity on the island of Ireland this month. See also and europeanobesityday.e


5) Galway chartered physiotherapist Esther-Mary D'Arcy has been elected as chairwoman of one of the largest medical representative bodies in the world. The European Region of the World Confederation for Physiotherapy (ER-WCPT) represents 180,000 physiotherapists from 39 associations in 39 countries.

It is the first time an Irish person has been elected to this position and D'Arcy joins another Irish chartered physiotherapist, TCD’s Dr Emma Stokes, the first Irish person to become president of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, among the the influential bodies in the physiotherapy world. D’Arcy, who is a former president and the current professional adviser of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, was elected to a four-year term at a recent general meeting in Dublin of the ER-WCPT by the 36 member organisations who attended.

6) Beneath the Screen is a light-hearted yet entirely serious booklet of poems on what happens when you say mean things online. Written by Séamus Hilley and Darren Ruddell with images by Stephanie Rohr, it has excellent potential for teachers looking for new ways to teach internet safety in primary schools. See for discounted bulk orders.

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment