A junior doctor and a speech and language therapist have been awarded gold medals by NUI Galway for civic engagement.
Dr Rosemary James, a graduate of Medicine in 2021, was honoured by the School of Medicine for her outstanding community outreach and volunteering, as well as research in global health.
Lisa O’Neill, a graduate of Speech and Language Therapy in 2021, 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.
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.
Dr James, a junior doctor and global health academic with the World Health Organisation, said she was honoured to have been given 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.”
Ms O’Neill, a Speech and Language Therapy graduate, said: “One of my main aims as a volunteer is to contribute to raising awareness about and funds for mental health.
“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.
“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.”
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.
Dr Maureen Kelly, Senior Lecturer in General Practice and Vice Dean for Civic Engagement, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “Within healthcare, civic engagement is fundamentally aligned with working with the public, patients and communities to promote and improve community health status.
“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.”