Recently appointed Professor of Primary Healthcare (Research), Anne MacFarlane, at the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS), UL. Picture: Alan Place/Press 22.

UL Appoints Ireland’s First Female Professor of Primary Healthcare Research in Ireland

Wednesday, 4th January 2012 Tags: Professor Anne MacFarlane, Professor of Primary Healthcare Research, GEMS, University of Limerick, Colum Dunne, Director of Research,

The University of Limerick, welcomes the appointment of Anne MacFarlane as Professor of Primary Healthcare (Research) at the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS).  Professor MacFarlane is the first social scientist to hold a Chair in academic primary care in Ireland and the first woman Professor in this discipline in Ireland.

A native of Bishopstown, Cork, Professor MacFarlane is a social scientist with 20 years’ experience of health services research using qualitative research methods.  Her research has consistently focused on people’s experiences of health and illness and on their experiences of using primary care health services.

Professor Colum Dunne, Director of Research, Graduate Entry Medical School, welcomed the appointment saying “Prof MacFarlane’s appointment to GEMS represents an important addition to our faculty.  Translational research, and programmes focused on effectiveness, efficiencies and economics in healthcare, must be holistic in engaging with stakeholders.  Anne’s experience in researching this area will allow GEMS to continue to enhance its relevance to innovation in Irish and international healthcare”.

In her research, Professor MacFarlane focuses on the involvement of people from marginalised or disadvantaged communities in primary care research and development projects.  She uses participatory research methods and a contemporary social theory about introducing and embedding innovation in healthcare settings.  Speaking about the significance of primary healthcare research in Ireland, Professor MacFarlane said; “We need a high quality evidence base about primary care. This needs to be generated in Irish primary care settings so that services meet the needs of service users and their families.  My focus is on ensuring that service users have a ‘voice’ in generating that evidence base.”

Professor MacFarlane is currently leading a €2.9 million EU FP7 project on communication between migrants and health care providers in cross-cultural primary care consultations and a Health Research Board project about involving people from disadvantaged communities in Primary Care Teams.  Her work has involved national collaborators such as the HSE Social Inclusion Unit, the HSE National Advocacy Unit and the Centre for Participatory Strategies, Galway as well as a host of international collaborators in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The Graduate Entry Medical School marked its €1 million research funding milestone in the second half of 2011, which furthers its commitment to progressive medical research.  GEMS is implementing a research strategy focused on the themes of metabolic mediators of chronic disorder, life stage-specific conditions including aspects of ageing, and the provision of prophylactic guidance and therapeutic care in the community and acute facilities.  The School has pursued recruitment of experienced professorial leaders across the clinical specialities who are actively engaged in relevant top-tier health-oriented research. 

For further information about the Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick go to