NUI Galway has awarded gold medals for civic engagement to recent graduate students, now a junior doctor and a speech and language therapist respectively.
Dr Rosemary James and Lisa O’Neill graduated from their respective courses in 2021 and were honoured by their schools.
Dr James was honoured by the School of Medicine for her outstanding community outreach and volunteering, as well as research in global health.
Currently working as a junior doctor and global health academic with the World Health Organisation, Dr James was honoured to receive the award.
“I believe that it is important as medical graduates that we are aware of the vulnerabilities certain populations are subject to and act to advocate for, study, and improve their health and wellbeing wherever possible,” Dr James said.
“I look forward to continuing to engage with vulnerable communities as I progress onto my postgraduate training – taking with me the knowledge and skills I owe to NUI Galway and the inspiring people I have met along the way.”
Lisa O’Neill was honoured by the School of Health Sciences for raising awareness around mental health, volunteering, fundraising, and providing peer support to first year students during the pandemic.
“One of my main aims as a volunteer is to contribute to raising awareness about and funds for mental health,” stated Ms O’Neill, now a speech and language therapist.
“The volunteering opportunities I have been involved in so far have allowed me to work as part of a group to achieve the common goal of creating communities that support people when they are most in need,” she continued.
“I envisage a world that is more just and accepting, and where people’s differences are celebrated. Volunteering is one way in which I actively contribute to making this vision a reality.”
NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences has been honouring student excellence with the award of gold medals for more than 100 years. In partnership with the Community Knowledge Initiative, specific gold medals are also awarded for contributions to civic engagement.
The CKI Gold Medal can be awarded to graduates and students for activities including volunteering, service learning, collaborative research and actions for the public good which benefit both the wider community and the University.
“Within healthcare, civic engagement is fundamentally aligned with working with the public, patients and communities to promote and improve community health status,” stated Dr Maureen Kelly, Senior Lecturer in General Practice and Vice Dean for Civic Engagement, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.
“Rosemary and Lisa are very deserving of their award. It is testament to their longstanding partnership with community, reflecting the principles and values of civic engagement that we espouse in NUI Galway.”
Dr Lorraine McIlrath, director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway, said: “The CKI was established to promote student commitment to positive social change within community and Dr Rosemary James and Lisa O’Neill are wonderful ambassadors for civic engagement and inspire others to take action. I congratulate them.”