65th Annual & Scientific Meeting 2017 - President's Medal

Prof Rose Anne Kenny has received many awards over her illustrious career, all recognising her singular achievements in ageing and cardiovascular research.  There have been awards for clinical research, for innovation, and for leadership: all the reasons that underpin our choice of Rose Anne for the Irish Gerontological Society’s Presidential Medal. Naturally as Irish people we all bask in the excellence of her work and the international recognition associated with her and the institutions that she is a part of. For me 
I first became aware of Rose Anne when I worked in health commissioning and planning in the UK. I was the specialist in ageing and tasked with coming up with solutions for the ever increasing number of older people presenting at acute hospitals and struggling to survive in the community. A significant reason for many of these older people being deemed as unable to continue to live at home was the risk of falling. My old alma mater in Kings was exploring many of the issues and we certainly looked at every kind of preventative measure, sight tests, chiropody and  comprehensive geriatric assessment, that could be implemented. Rumblings were about though of some new research emerging from that powerhouse of ageing Newcastle Royal Infirmary, led by Rose Anne.This work led to the ultimate development of the falls and syncope services that we are all so used to seeing in place today.

Rose Anne was appointed, in 2005, to Trinity College and St. James's Hospital, as Head of the Academic Department of Medical Gerontology and holds the Chair of Medical Gerontology. Rose Anne is also the Director of Trinity EngAGE - the Centre for Research in Ageing at Trinity College, Mercer's Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) and the Falls and Blackout Unit at St. James's Hospital. Formerly Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the Institute for Ageing & Health, Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, she has been a world leader in research into cardiovascular and mobility disorders in ageing. We met though at the launch of TILDA. 

RoseAnne is the founding Principal Investigator of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (www.tilda.ie), and this perhaps is where she has had the most significant effect on Irish and indeed international gerontology. Geriatric medicine had long held the ground as the main field of gerontology in Ireland with many of the other professional groups having people within their ranks who were very interested in the area but rarely recognised as experts within the field. Rose Anne established Tilda where she leads a team of multidisciplinary researchers focusing on psychology, nursing, medicine, physiotherapy, economics, bio-engineering social sciences and health economics as aspects of the ageing process in Ireland.

This multi-disciplinary and truly gerontological approach to ageing research has significantly impacted on us all.  For a gerontologist from a social sciences background I can’t express to you the delight and excitement at seeing the research emerging out of Tilda,  Seeing  papers presented that explored the inter relationship of older people in society, looked at social care needs, considered significant clinical findings and promoted advances in diagnosis and treatment. Just looking at the abstracts on our database I can see over 40 associated with Tilda alone, and that of course doesn’t include the extensive publications internationally arising from this work.

Rose Anne has been invited faculty and keynote speaker at many international meetings and societies of geriatric medicine, cardiology, psychiatry and neurology. Rose Anne is widely published over 350 peer reviewed publication, 4 textbooks and 51 book chapters. Rose Anne was elected as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA) in 2014, the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic excellence and achievement. Professor Kenny is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, London and Edinburgh.

I hope though that this Presidential Medal awarded by fellow travellers in the field of ageing will have a special place for you.

Mo Flynn

President, Irish Gerontological Society

29th September 2017