In 2016, I decided to upgrade my skills in the diagnosis, management and treatment of headaches. Previously I had worked in General Practice for over 20 years in my own practice in Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow. Throughout my years in general practice I saw patients with migraine and headaches come through the doors regularly. I felt those with recurrent headaches really need a longer consultation time that the average general practice consult. Now I have the opportunity to do just that.
Since leaving full time practice I have pursued my interest in headaches trained with various different doctors and institutions in Ireland, Europe and America. I attended the International Headache Conference in Dublin in September 2019. In keeping with the tradition in Ireland and many other European countries I am now running a GP led Headache clinic, to help patients suffering with recurrent headache. The most common cause of recurrent headache is migraine or medication overuse headache which is a complication of migraine
– Rare Neurological Diseases
I am mother to 3 children John, Helen and Brona. Unfortunately Helen and Brona both developed a genetic disorder known as Friedreich’s Ataxia. This is a rare neurological condition and at this moment in time there are no cure or treatments for it. While only 13, Helen asked me what I knew about the research in Friedreich’s ataxia. I decided there and then to learn all I could. This led to me becoming one of the founding members of an Irish charity called FARA Ireland http://www.faraireland.ie which was set up to promote awareness about ataxia, help fund research and share knowledge about the international research to all those interested in Ireland. As my daughter says, I like to ‘keep my finger on the pulse’. I was also afforded the opportunity to use my medical knowledge and became lead author of the Cochrane review on Friedreich’s Ataxia http://www.cochrane.org. In furthering this interest, I have been fortunate to be appointed, in July 2021, to the part-time position of Research Fellow at the National Ataxia Unit, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin.
European Reference Network:
Since 2002 I became involved in learning more about Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare Neurological disease, I have attended several European and international meeting on ataxia. I was elected as a patient advocate for rare neurological diseases for the European reference network. I currently sit on its board. It is an EU funded project to help “Share, care and cure” those with rare neurological diseases http://www.ern-rnd.eu.
In 2017, having become a European patient advocate, I asked by European Rare Disease Organisation (EURORDIS) to take part in a programme whose focus was to:
- improve my advocacy skills as a patient representative
- increase my understanding the regulatory process of therapeutic interventions
with on line and face to face components Subsequently, I was offered training at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) with a view to learning more about EMA activities and representing patients at that level.