Health Board: Upcoming conferences, talks, campaigns and events

Gardens and wellbeing, MS campaign, healthcare innovation and milk donating

1) Dr Paul O'Dwyer, group clinical adviser at Dental Care Ireland, will discuss diabetes and oral health at a public meeting hosted by Diabetes Ireland on Wednesday, May 29th, at 8pm in the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Co Dublin. Prof Suzanne Norris from St James's Hospital will discuss the connection between diabetes and liver disease. To register, visit

2) A big part of the five-day Bloom Festival each year is the showgardens and, as usual, several of the themes at Phoenix Park, Dublin, this year will be health-related.
– The garden Dementia: Understand Together is designed by Robert Moore for the HSE. Creating a space where people living with dementia can reminisce in a welcoming and supportive way, it is a throwback to the 1950s, with everything from gnomes to pink flamingos, and from box hedges to tea roses.
– Also at Bloom, Janssen, Aware and See Change will present a garden that has been created in collaboration with people living with, or affected by, mental illness. Called Grounded, the garden has been designed by landscape architect Maeve O'Neill. Inspiration for the garden comes from the idea that a conversation is the first step on the journey to recovery.
– The Marie Keating Foundation's Breath of Life garden tells the story of lung cancer in Ireland, shinning a spotlight on the reality of its low survival rates but also highlighting the hope that exists with the advent of new treatment options and greater awareness of its early signs and symptoms. The garden also highlights the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, and its role in cancer prevention. Designed by Tunde Perry, visitors are invited to pay tribute to a loved one affected by cancer, by pinning a personalised ribbon to a tribute wall.
– Designed by Leonie Cornelius for the Irish Wheelchair Association, The Great Outdoors represents the journey from everyday life into the great outdoors and the idea that everyone should rightfully be able to immerse themselves in nature, gardens and the wild. It enables wheelchair users comfortable access, with ample room for navigation, turning and companionship.
– Enable Ireland's Diversity Garden, designed by Linda McKeown, encourages visitors to consider the diversity all around us. It will be an accessible space, inclusive to all which encourages people to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual, while recognising and respecting our differences.
– Designed by Ruaidhrí Bashford, Moving Forward – Building My Best Possible Life for Cheshire Ireland is a garden that aims to inspire people to consider the importance of living in a home of one's own, whether that is in a residential setting or in a clustered setting.
– Open from Thursday, May 30th until Monday, June 3rd (9am-6pm daily), tickets for Bloom are €20 for one day and €35 for two days. There are concessions for students and OAPs, and under-16s are admitted free. For details and to book tickets, see

3) Multiple Sclerosis Ireland's Help Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign takes place in May, with local and national events and activities. MS is the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland. The campaign wants people to "Wear, Dare and Share" this month by wearing red or holding a "red day" at work; daring to get sponsored for an MS Ireland skydive or take part in the 9,000 steps for MS event; sharing with friends and family to spread the word. You can also text KISS to 50300 to donate €4.

4) About 10,000 people will descend on Cork city at the June bank holiday weekend to take part in the annual Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon. Race organisers are encouraging individuals of all fitness levels and running ability to step up this year. Apart from the full marathon (€65) on Saturday, June 2nd, there is also a half-marathon (€42), relay (€97) and youth challenge. Register at

5) The third session of Tallaght University Hospital's bowel disease summer school takes place on Wednesday, June 5th. Led by consultant gastroenterologist Dr Anthony O'Connor, the school will run from 4.30pm-7.30pm at the TCD Institute of Population Health, Russell Building, Tallaght Cross, Dublin 24. The school is being run with the support of the Adelaide Health Foundation. Open to the public, email to confirm your attendance.

6) The Irish Hospice Foundation will host its first regional "Living with Loss" event in Cork on Thursday, June 6th, at 6.30pm, in collaboration with local bereavement support services. The event – from 6.30pm to 9.30pm – takes place at the Clayton Hotel in Cork City and will provide information about grief and the range of supports available to bereaved people. Former Cork hurler Dessie Fitzgerald will be the guest speaker. He will talk about the loss of his two brothers. The event is free of charge and booking is not required. More details at

7) The next Deep End Ireland Annual meeting on "Children's Health Inequalities" will be on Saturday, June 8th in Dublin. Speakers include Prof Graham Watt of the original Deep End Scotland group on the "Exceptional Potential of General Practice" and Dr Sharon Lambert (UCC) on adverse childhood experiences. Attending the 9.30am-12.30on event at the RCSI on York Street is free. You can register at

8) The third iCoachKids International Conference takes place in University of Limerick on Friday, June 14th, and Saturday, June 15th. Under the overall theme of "Child-Centred Coaching', speakers include Prof Dan Gould, director of Youth Sports Institute, Michigan State University; Prof Marie Murphy, professor of exercise and health, dean of postgraduate research and director of the Ulster Doctoral College, University of Ulster; and Prof Nicolette Schipper van Veldhoven, professor of Sport Pedagogy, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands. Tickets – €50 for one day and €80 for both days – can be purchased at

9) The Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) has announced a new postgraduate diploma in healthcare innovation, level NFQ 9 – the first focused on the development of "healthcare innovation ambassadors" in Ireland. Places on the course are mixed, both industry and HSE, with one-third offered at a reduced rate for HSE applicants. HIHI is a joint initiative of both the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Health, funded through Enterprise Ireland and supported by the HSE. Closing date for applicants is June 30th. Course details at

10) The third National Patient Experience Survey is under way in all public acute hospitals in Ireland. The survey is a part of the National Care Experience Programme, a joint initiative by Hiqa, the HSE and the Department of Health, offering patients the opportunity to share their experiences in hospital and describe what improvements they believe are necessary. An estimated 28,000 patients will be eligible to participate in this year's survey, which contains 61 questions. Eligible patients will receive a survey by post about two weeks after their discharge from hospital. The survey can be completed in paper form or online, and must be submitted by 5pm on July 25th. More information at

11) The HRB (Health Research Board) Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network and Dublin's Rotunda Hospital have launched a new podcast series, Real Talk with Real Mums. The 10-part series is designed for pregnant women and soon-to-be mums and is presented by 2fm presenter Louise McSharry. The first two episodes – covering diet and exercise and also planning for birth, are available on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and at A new episode will be released on the last Thursday of every month.

12) The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) human milk bank located at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen is asking more new mothers to donate breast milk as stocks are low. "We are encouraging new mothers to help with the increase in demand for breast milk and to ensure we have an adequate supply for neonatal units across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland," says Jacinta Boyle, co-ordinator of the Western Trust milk bank. If you would like to find out more about the milk bank and becoming a donor, contact the milk bank on 028-686 28333 or email

- For inclusion, email with Health Board in the subject line

Damian Cullen

Damian Cullen

Damian Cullen is Health & Family Editor of The Irish Times