Intervention Through Collaboration

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StrokeCog & SCTNI

Joint Conference  – 27th November 2020 – Online

StrokeCog, RCSI and SCTNI, supported by HRB are hosting our first virtual conference. Join us on the 27th November for a full day of exciting talks and presentations.

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Event Programme

Thank you for your interest in

Setting the Cogs in Motion: Intervention though Collaboration
This event promises to be a great day of exciting talks and presentations from speakers including Professor Terry Quinn, University of Glasgow and Professor Urs Fischer, University Hospital, Bern among many others.

There will be a mix of patient/public, researcher, policy and health-care professional speakers and this is set to be a very interesting event!

Registration is FREE, but places are limited so register early!

View or Download the Programme

Our Conference Chairs

Prof Anne Hickey

Head of the Division of Population Health Sciences,  RCSI

Professor Anne Hickey is a health psychologist, Deputy Dean for Positive Education and professor in psychology at the Department of Health Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Professor Hickey is Principal Investigator of the StrokeCog study,  a programme of research funded by the HRB and focussed on cognitive impairment and dementia after stroke. This research programme involves development of epidemiological and economic models of post-stroke cognitive impairment and dementia, and development of an intervention for rehabilitation of stroke-related cognitive impairment.

She has extensive experience in research in healthcare, principally in examining patient adaptation and rehabilitation after stroke. In particular, she has research expertise and publications with stroke patient and carer populations and, as part of a research team, development of the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQoL), an individualised measure of quality of life that has received international acclaim. Professor Hickey’s main research interests include stroke and stroke rehabilitation, carers of people with stroke and older people with chronic conditions and healthy ageing research.

Prof David Williams

Professor of Stroke Medicine at RCSI and Consultant Stroke Physician at Beaumont Hospital Dublin.

Professor of Stroke Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and Consultant Stroke Physician at Beaumont Hospital Dublin. He is a fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of Ireland and Edinburgh, The British Pharmacological Society and The British and Irish Hypertension Society.

His research interests include stroke medicine,hypertension, patient safety and prescribing.

He has served as Clinical Vice-President of the British Pharmacological Society between 2007-10 and is currently managing editor of the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. He is currently the Irish National Speciality Director of training for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 
He is a co-applicant of the StrokeCog study. He is the RCSI co-director of the Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) programme and Co-director of the Stroke Clinical Trials Network Ireland(SCTNI). He is the Principal Investigator for the Irish National Adverse Events Study and Co-Lead for the HRB-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award, iPASTAR which will examine improved pathways for acute stroke care and rehabilitation.He was elected president of the Irish Association of Pharmacologists in 2019.

Prof Peter Kelly

Clinical Professor of Neurology 

Peter Kelly is Clinical Professor of Neurology at University College Dublin (UCD) and Co-Director of the Stroke Service at the Mater University Hospital Dublin. He is Lead Investigator of the HRB Stroke Clinical Trials Network Ireland, Director of the UCD Neurovascular Research Unit, and served as Neurology Clinical Lead of the HSE National Stroke Programme from 2010-2015.
He trained in Dublin and at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests include therapeutics, risk stratification, and epidemiology of cerebrovascular atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation, and transient ischaemic attack.
He has published widely on Stroke in peer-reviewed journals and has co-edited a textbook of Stroke Prevention. He has led several international research studies to identify new imaging and blood risk markers for stroke. He is Chief Investigator for the CONVINCE trial, international TIA-IPD collaboration, and BIOVASC carotid atherosclerosis imaging study. He serves on the leadership teams of several other international clinical trials and studies (TEMPO-2, ETNA-AF, NAVIGATE-ESUS Biomarker Study).

Prof Kathleen Bennett

Associate Professor, RCSI Hrb Research Leader Unit

Prof Kathleen Bennett is Associate Professor in Biostatistics in the Division of Population Health Sciences, RCSI and a Health Research Board (HRB) Research Leader.

Prof Bennett leads a research team undertaking a programme of research titled ‘Statistical epidemiology in Population Health and Health Services Research: Quality and Patient Safety in Medicines’. Prof Bennett was a co-investigator in the Irish Cancer Society’s first collaborative cancer research centre, BREAST-PREDICT, a co-PI in the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research and a co-PI on the HRB funded Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) StrokeCog Study.

Prof Bennett has over 25 years experience of undertaking medical research. After completing her BSc in mathematics and statistics at Southampton University, UK she spent 2 years working as a clinical trials statistician in the pharmaceutical industry before returning to Southampton to complete a PhD. She was employed as an epidemiologist/ statistician in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College Dublin for several years before joining RCSI in 2016.

Prof Frances Horgan

Associate Professor, RCSI School of Physiotherapy

Frances Horgan is an Associate Professor of Physiotherapy at the School of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

She teaches on the BSc Physiotherapy and taught masters programmes.
Her research interests are care of the elderly and stroke rehabilitation.
She leads the Recovery Operating Group (ROG) of Stroke Clinical Trials Network Ireland (SCTNI).
Frances is the Co-PI with Professor David Williams on a recently funded 5-year HRB Collaborative Doctoral Award, on Improving Pathways for Acute Stroke and Rehabilitation (iPASTAR).
She is a member of the Irish Heart Foundation Council on Stroke.

Dr Maev-Ann Wren

Research Area Co-ordinator, Health and Quality of Life research at ESRI

Dr Maev-Ann Wren is a Senior Research Officer and joint Research Area Co-ordinator for Health and Quality of Life research at the ESRI. She is a health economist with publications on topics including health system reform, projection modelling for health and long-term care demand and expenditure, early supported discharge post-stroke, and international comparison of healthcare expenditures. She is one of the lead researchers on the StrokeCog project.

Maev-Ann worked as Special Advisor to Roisin Shortall T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care, from 2011 to 2012. She worked as a journalist for The Irish Times from 1980 to 2004 in posts including Economics Editor, columnist, editorial writer and Assistant Editor.

Her publications are listed here.

#StrokeCog_SCTNI Speakers

Dr Eithne Sexton

Postdoctoral Researcher, StrokeCog, RCSI

The Potential Impact of Cognitive Rehabilitation on The Future Burden of Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment in Ireland to 2035: A Markov Model-based Approach

Dr Eithne Sexton is a Postdoctoral Researcher on the HRB funded StrokeCog study. She is responsible for the epidemiological modelling component of the study, the aim of which is to develop a model which tracks and predicts stroke, post-stroke cognitive impairment and dementia in the Irish population to 2035. The team also aims to use the model to evaluate the population-level impact of a hypothetical cognitive rehabilitation intervention. He other research interests include quality of life, and psychology of ageing. Eithne was awarded her PhD in in Health Services Research by RCSI in 2015. She also holds a BA (Mod) in Psychology and Philosophy and an MSc in Applied Social Research, both from Trinity College Dublin.

Dr Niamh Merriman

Postdoctoral Researcher, StrokeCog, RCSI

Development of a cognitive rehabilitation intervention for post-stroke cognitive impairment.

Dr Niamh Merriman is a Postdoctoral Researcher on the HRB funded StrokeCog study. Her research focuses on the development and testing of a novel complex intervention aimed at improving outcomes for patients with post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI). The intervention has been developed using an evidence-based approach in accordance with the framework recommended for developing and evaluating complex interventions by the Medical Research Council (MRC), using both systematic review evidence and extensive qualitative research. Her other research interests include spatial cognition, cognitive ageing, balance control, and multisensory perception. Niamh was awarded her PhD in Experimental Psychology by Trinity College Dublin in 2015. She also holds a BA (Hons) in Psychology from the National University of Ireland Maynooth.

Dr Nora Donnelly

Post-Doctoral Researcher , StrokeCog, RCSI

Cost of Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment in Ireland

Nora is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on the HRB funded StrokeCog study. She holds an MA from the University of Glasgow, MSc from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD in Health Services Research from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Nora’s research interests include ageing and the determinants of healthcare utilisation, particularly the transition to long-term care. Prior to her PhD, Nora worked with the National Centre for the Protection of Older People and the School of Public Health in UCD. She also worked with GOAL for six years evaluating the impact of HIV/AIDS and disability health services.

Dr Marcia Ward

Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist &
Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Headway Ireland

Cognitive rehabilitation following stroke: The Longer Term Community Perspective

Marcia works in Headway, a community neurorehabilitation service for people with acquired brain injury. Marcia’s interests are in neuropsychological evaluation and in supporting people’s neuropsychological adjustment to the impact of neurological conditions. She teaches on a number of University courses. Marcia has published research in the area and continues to engage with her clients on research projects to inform neurorehabilitation practices and services.


Ms Kathryn Reilly

Policy Manager, 
Irish Heart Foundation

Advocacy , Patient Support & Keeping Patient Centred in a Global Pandemic

Kathryn is Policy Manager in the Irish Heart Foundation, a position she has held for over 3 years.
She is a policy and politics graduate with a Masters in Public Policy and Masters of Economic Science in European Economic and Public Affairs.
Kathryn has over 7 years of experience working in the Houses of the Oireachtas in different positions, managing all aspects of policy — from legislative experience to policy development and report writing.


Ms Mairin Ni Bheachain

Creator of

Firsthand experience of cognitive impairment after stroke

Mairin is the creator of, delivering a highly personalised wardrobe analysis and personal shopping for men and women.

A Moyamoya diagnosis and subsequent brain surgery have led Mairin to offering inspirational talks with a focus on resilience and new beginnings.


Dr Terry Quinn

Senior Clinical Lecturer & Honorary Consultant , Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow

Deconstructing and reconstructing post stroke cognitive impairment

Dr Terry Quinn is Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant based in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow.
Terry has a broad research portfolio. Research interests include trial methodology, functional/cognitive assessment and neuropsychological consequences of stroke. He has published over 150 papers with recent titles in BMJ, JAMA and NEJM.
Terry has various editorial board positions, including coordinating editor of the Cochrane Dementia Group. He chairs the stroke psychology SIG of the World Federation of Neuropsychology and is NRS Scotland Lead for Ageing Research. He provides clinical expertise to the Scottish Parliament Heart and Stroke Disease Cross-Party Group and Healthcare Improvement Scotland. Within University of Glasgow, Terry is vice chair of ethics and coordinates the GATE program (Glasgow Academic Training Environment) for clinical academics.
Terry’s work has always maintained a clinical focus. He combines research with teaching and clinical commitments in the stroke wards of Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Follow him on Twitter

Prof Urs Fischer 

Professor for Acute Neurology & Stroke (Extraordinarius) & Deputy Director of the Clinical Trial Unit, University of Bern

When should anticoagulation be started after stroke for secondary prevention

Urs Fischer is professor for Acute Neurology and Stroke (Extraordinarius) and Deputy Director of the Clinical Trial Unit at the University of Bern. His research interest involves diagnosis, management, treatment and outcome of patients with acute ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke.
He aims to answer clinically relevant unanswered questions with observational studies, multicentre randomised trials and metaanalyses. He was a research fellow at the University Hospital Bern and at the Stroke Prevention Research Unit at the University of Oxford, where he learned to perform observational studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses as well as population based research projects. He has a longstanding experience with randomised controlled clinical trials: after participation as investigator in various investigator initiated stroke trials he designed his own trials: the SWITCH trial ( is comparing decompressive surgery with best medical treatment in patients with a severe intracerebral haemorrhage; the SWIFT DIRECT trial ( compares bridging thrombolysis with direct mechanical thrombectomy in acute stroke patients with large vessel occlusion; and the ELAN trial ( is explained in detail in the research proposal. In order to manage these international investigator initiated randomised trials he established the Neuro Clinical Trial (NCTU) at the Neurocenter Bern (, which works in close collaboration with the Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) of the University of Bern. Investigator initiated clinical trials can only be performed in close collaboration with national, European and international networks. Given his previous position as secretary general of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) Urs Fischer is very well connected within the International Stroke Trialists community. Based on his initiative the “Swiss Stroke Trialists Network” became a member of the “European Stroke Organisation Trials Alliance (ESOTA)”, where Urs Fischer is a founding committee member.
Bern, 02.07.2020

Prof Joe Harbison

Consultant Stroke Physician & researcher in Stroke Medicine , TCD
Clinical Lead of the Irish National Stroke Audit

Changing from Regsiter to Audit: Collecting National Stroke Data to Influence Change.

Prof Harbison is a Consultant Stroke Physician and researcher in Stroke Medicine in Trinity College Dublin. He is the Clinical Lead of the Irish National Stroke Audit and Previous National Clinical Lead in Stroke. He is a Course Director for the Diploma in Stroke Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. He has research interests in the epidemiology of Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke and in the clinical significance of Cerebral White Matter disease.

Dr Michael Mazya

Head of Stroke Section Department of Neurology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm

Prehospital triage to the thrombectomy centre in real life – lessons learned from Stockholm

Michael Mazya, MD, PhD heads the Stroke Section at the Department of Neurology, Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. He is co-founder and past chairman of the Swedish Acute Neurology Society. Twice recipient of the ESO Young Investigator Award, his main research interests lie within acute stroke treatment and prehospital stroke triage.

Prof Niall Pender

Head of Department of Psychology & Principal Clinical Neuropsychologist, Beaumont Hospital

Identifying and managing post-stroke cognitive impairment in the acute hospital: Current challenges and future directions.

Niall Pender is Head of Department of Psychology and Principal Clinical Neuropsychologist at Beaumont Hospital Dublin since 2003. He works with people who have suffered neurological/neurosurgical injuries and illness with a special interest in the cognitive, emotional and behavioural changes seen in neurodegenerative diseases and acquired brain injuries. He is Associate Professor in Neuropsychology at Trinity College Dublin and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Prior to this he was consultant neuropsychologist and clinical lead of the neuro-behavioural rehabilitation unit at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, London. Niall is Chair of the Board of Headway, the national acquired brain injury charity, and is a member of the Boards of the Motor Neurone Disease Research Foundation, and the Neurological Alliance of Ireland.

 Jon Barrick

President of the Stroke Alliance for Europe – SAFE

SAFE – the Stroke Alliance for Europe: who we are, what we do and some perspectives on cognitive difficulties after stroke

Jon Barrick is President of the Stroke Alliance for Europe, a coalition of Stroke Support Organisations, is a Board member of the World Stroke Organisation, and Chairman of the WSO World Stroke Campaign. Both his mother and father had strokes. Until July 2016 he was Chief Executive of the Stroke Association, the UK charity dealing with all aspects of stroke. Jon has been made a lifetime Vice President of the Association. Jon joined the Stroke Association in 2004 and during his time there, the charity grew threefold. By the time of his retirement in 2016, it had an income at over £37 million and 800 staff. The organisation disseminates approximately 2.5 million pieces of literature each year, manages a well-used website, and supports 82,000 stroke survivors with direct assistance in any one year. It also provides training for those who work with stroke survivors. Under Jon’s leadership, the association created the first UK “Life after Stroke” centre at Bromsgrove and established the world’s first multidisciplinary stroke conference, the UK Stroke Forum. In 2006 the Stroke Association UK won the Best Healthcare and Medical Research Charity award. ). A major innovation is the development of the “My Stroke Guide” internet portal, with hundreds of self management videos and information on stroke, which enables peer to peer support, self management and information across the internet. During Jon’s time at the Stroke Association, he campaigned for a National Stroke Strategy in England. After several meetings with UK government ministers, this was achieved in December 2007, and the effect on the lives of stroke survivors was considerable. Many millions of pounds was ring-fenced for the treatment of stroke in the UK. Other countries in the UK have since been putting into effect their own strategies or plans.
Prior to this work Jon was Director of all UK services for the Royal National Institute of the Blind for 14 years, and chaired many international and European meetings and activities. Jon was elected chair of the UK Neurological Alliance (a coalition of nearly 50 charities, which he held for two years, and was a founder member of the Richmond group of charities, a grouping of the major health charities advocating to Government. Jon was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at his Alma Mata the University of Bath for his work in voluntary sector leadership in 2017, and appeared in the top 5 ranking of Britain’s most admired Charity CEO’s in 2006 and 2013. Within SAFE, Jon has helped to build a coalition of stroke patient organisations across Europe from seven organisations to 36. In time, it is hoped that each of these stroke support organisations will grow in their own way to advance the cause of stroke survivors, stroke research and better support in each of their countries. SAFE is also now ready to launch its commissioned a report on the Economic Impact of Stroke in Europe in November 2020.

Mrs Mary Dunne

Carer, Family Carers Ireland 

Firsthand experience of cognitive impairment after stroke 

Mrs Mary Dunne shares her experience as a carer to a stroke survivor. 

Dr. Ronan Collins

Director of Stroke Services & Consultant in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine
Tallaght University Hospital

National stroke programme – Quo Vadis

Dr. Ronan Collins is the Director of Stroke Services and a consultant in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine at Tallaght
University Hospital. Dr. Collins is also the current clinical lead of the Irish National Stroke Programme. He is a
Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and London, and a Fellow of the European stroke
Organisation. Dr Collins is a Member of the National Cardiovascular Working Group and Irish Heart Foundation
Council on Stroke. Dr Collins special clinical and research interests include stroke, atrial fibrillation and arts in
health, reminiscence and telemedicine. He played a role in the introduction of Ireland’s first acute stroke
Telemedicine network in Dublin Mid-Leinster (2009), winning a HSE innovation grant & national healthcare
Innovation awards in 2011. Dr Collins is also Co-Founder of REMPAD project (winner of MED in Ireland and
DCU commercialisation award 2013); and is involved in the National PI TICH-2 trial and GLORIA-AF registry.
Dr. Collins will contribute his extensive experience in the management of stroke and advise on the Service
implications for the implementation of the National Audit.

Professor Gert Kwakkel

Neurorehabilitation, Amsterdam University Medical Centre, Netherlands

The Potential Impact of Cognitive Rehabilitation on The Future Burden of Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment in Ireland to 2035: A Markov Model-based Approach

Since March 2008, he received the first chair ‘Neurorehabilitation’ in the Netherlands at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre in Amsterdam. His chair is dedicated to translational research in the field of neurorehabilitation with special focus on the longitudinal relationship between brain plasticity and motor recovery early post stroke. Professor Kwakkel published more than 270 papers with more than 16.000 citations in the field of stroke rehabilitation (Web of Science H-Index 64). Based on a prestigious laureate from the European Research Council (ERC), he became one of the top scientists at the VU University of Amsterdam and visiting professor at the department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences of the Northwestern University of Chicago, USA in 2015. In 2018, he received an honorary fellowship from the Associated Physiotherapists in Neurology (ACPIN) in the United Kingdom and the Outstanding Neurorehabilitation Clinician Scientists (ONCS) Award from the American Society of Neurorehabilitation. Finally, professor Kwakkel is member of the editorial board of Stroke and European Managing editor of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

Mr Martin Fahy

Patient Representative

Firsthand experience of cognitive impairment after stroke

Martin Fahy, 54 is I am married with two eleven year old twins. 

He works as a Customer Support Agent for eBay UK and is also Self employed online

Martin grew up in Dublin, moved to Cork age 17 and studied for B. Commerce degree in University College Cork and post graduate diploma in Computer Studies.

Martin spent 12 years working abroad after university in UK and USA in various different computer programming roles and returned to Ireland in 2001. After years in a permanent role Martin became a full time online seller of gifts and collectables products.  In 2018 he took a full time role with eBay.

Martin loves to travel and has taken two extended 1 year travel breaks and visited many places.

An avid sports fan, he especially ejoys soccer and GAA Football.  He enjoys the outdoors and hillwalking though this has been impacted by his stroke.

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Setting the Cogs in Motion: Intervention though Collaboration

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