Presidential Medal Award

The Presidential Medal is the Irish Gerontological Society’s highest honour.  It is presented to individuals who have transformed the lives of older people through especially meritorious contributions to ageing research, education and practice.  

Dr. John Fleetwood (1993)

Mr. Michael Coote (1994)

Dr. Michael Hyland (2012)

Dr. John Lavan (2013)

Dr. Jaques Noel (2013)

Dr. Denis Keating (2014)

Prof. Cillian Twomey (2016)

Prof. Davis Coakley (2016)

Prof. Rose Anne Kenny (2017)

Dr. Morgan Crowe (2018)

Prof. James Bernard Walsh (2019)

Dr. Ken Mulpeter (2022)

Dr. Colm Henry (2023)

Dr. Colm Henry, 2023 Presidential Medal

Dr. Colm Henry

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE.
Dr. Colm Henry was appointed as the first Chief Clinical Officer (CCO) to the HSE in April 2018. He was previously the National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead for Acute Hospitals from 2014 – 2018, and National Lead for the Clinical Director Programme from 2012 to 2014. Prior to these national roles, he was Clinical Director of the Mercy University Hospital Cork from 2009 to 2012 where he worked as Consultant Geriatrician since his appointment in 2002, establishing a service for acute care and rehabilitation in both Cork voluntary hospitals. A graduate of UCD, he trained in Medicine of the Elderly in Cork and subsequently entered and completed SpR training in Edinburgh.
His tenure as Chief Clinical Officer was marked more than any other event by the COVID-19 pandemic. He played a leading role within and outside the HSE in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from the time the first case came to light in the country through to the rollout of the vaccination programme. This included establishment and rapid implementation of new pathways of care, clinical guidance to rollout of population testing and phased vaccination of population based on hierarchy of need and risk. As Chief Clinical Officer, he assumed responsibility for the Public Health workforce throughout the pandemic, leading them in their work and, in parallel, implementing wholescale reform based on the Crowe Horwath report. This reform has led to recognition of consultant status for public health specialists for the first time and their reconfiguration into a single cohesive workforce and strategic entity within the HSE.
As Chief Clinical Officer, he has directed on the design and implementation of new models of care, designed by National Clinical Programmes in response to the needs of population. These models, reflecting the responsibility within the Office for all healthcare professions, involve diversification of healthcare settings and personnel and harnessing of innovation informed by the experience of frontline healthcare workers. Overarching all is a more robust approach to improving population health, both in preventing illness through early intervention and through reconfiguration of healthcare towards the needs of the population guided by a new and reformed Public Health leadership within HSE. He has led on the first Genetics and Genomics Strategy for Irish healthcare which is commencing implementation through a National Office. He also led on the HSE response to the Scally report on CervicalCheck which has resulted in a reformed National Screening Service with overhauled governance. In the wake of the pandemic, he is overseeing investment and implementation of integrated models of care for older people in collaboration with National Clinical Programmes and his Office is leading on new clinical pathways to address waiting lists through new community-based services and alternative hospital-based models of care. This work will build on the reform of older persons and chronic disease care which has seen substantial investment in recent years. He is co-
leading on a three-year plan for unscheduled care which will have particular focus on improving the experience of older people.


TRIBUTE to Dr. Colm Henry to be given by Professor Cillian Twomey at the Annual Scientific Meeting on 29th September 2023 at the Galmont Hotel, Galway City. 

Prof Cillian Twomey
Prof Cillian Twomey, graduate of University College Cork, is a retired consultant geriatrician, with a distinguished career. Prof Twomey was President of the Irish Medical Organisation for 1989–1990, and former Chairman of its Consultant Committee. He was President of the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) from 1999 to 2002, the first Irish person to hold this position.

He was twice a member of Comhairle na nOspidéal, the second term as chairman. He was a member of the Steering Group of the 2003 National Task Force on Medical Staffing (Hanly Report, 2003) that reviewed the organisation and staffing of Ireland's acute hospital sector.

Prof Twomey has been involved in promoting optimum end of life care since 2007 and has just completed a six-year stint as chair of the National Hospice Friendly (HfH) Oversight Group with a particular emphasis on acute hospitals where over 40% of all deaths occur.  He was a member of the 4-person expert panel that reported with recommendations on the impact of Covid-19 on residents, relatives and staff in long term residential care facilities.

Prof Twomey served as President of the Irish Gerontological Society from 2003 to 2007. In October 2006, he was invited to deliver the Annual Trevor Howell Guest Lecture at the autumn scientific meeting of the British Geriatrics Society in Harrogate. He was awarded the IGS President’s Medal in 2016.