Presidential Medal - 2016

Irish Gerontological Society - Presidential Medal Awards 2016

Two senior specialists, who both qualified from University College Cork (UCC), have had their contribution to the health and well-being of older people recognised by the Irish Gerontological Society.

Professors Cillian Twomey and Davis Coakley, both of whom qualified in medicine in the early 1970s, were awarded the Irish Gerontological Society’s (IGS) president’s medal by IGS president Mo Flynn.

The medal presentation was made last week at the IGS annual scientific meeting in Killarney, Co Kerry. It is the Irish society’s highest accolade and recognises both men’s contribution of medical care and education for improving the lives of older people.


Prof. Twomey, a native of Mallow, Co Cork, was appointed as the first specialist in geriatric medicine at Cork University Hospital (CUH) in 1979. He contributed greatly to the welfare of medical practitioners though his work with the Irish Medical Organisation. He was elected president of the IMO in 1988. In 2000 he was appointed chairman of Comhairle na nOspideal developing specialist services and consultant posts in the health service.

Prof. Coakley, from Cork city, excelled academically at UCC and later was awarded his MD for research on neurological diseases. In 1979 he was appointed as geriatric physician at St James’s Hospital in Dublin and eight years later became TCD’s first professor of geriatric medicine.

Over the past 30 years Prof Coakley was the driving force behind the research-based Institute for Ageing on the St James’s Hospital campus which was launched in 1987. With government, HSE and philanthropic funding, the new 116-bed Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) building opened earlier this year.

IGS president Mo Flynn said: “It is a great honour to recognise the contribution both doctors have made towards the care of older people and their dedication in supporting and encouraging a new generation of researchers, nurses, doctors and social scientists in gerontological services.

“Both Davis and Cillian still have a lot to contribute in their respective interests in medical history and the hospice movement. The IGS is very proud to count them among our leading and most inspiring members as signified and recognised by these medals,” Ms Flynn added.