Limerick leaps forward with new health research partnerships

Ryan O'Rourke

Reporter:

Ryan O'Rourke

Email:

ryan.orourke@limerickleader.ie

Limerick leaps forward with new health research partnerships

Miriam McCarthy, Professor Rachel Msetfi, and  Professor Paul Burke pictured at the official opening of the Clinical Education & Research Centre and launch of the Health Sciences Academy at UHL

THE RIBBON was cut on the €12.75m Clinical Education and Research Centre (CERC) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) this week, marking a  milestone in medical research in Limerick.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mr Jim Daly TD came to UHL to officially open two flagship projects on the hospital campus CERC and the Health Sciences Academy (HSA).

The academy is a three-way partnership between UL Hospitals Group, University of Limerick (UL), and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare which has the aim of becoming a “global standard-bearer for improving patient care through medical research, education and clinical and community-based practice”.

Ahead of the opening, Minister Daly stated: “It is vital that we look to encourage and support innovation, collaboration, and integration in healthcare. The development of the Clinical Education and Research Centre alongside the Health Sciences Academy, are significant initiatives in this regard, that will greatly benefit the Mid-West region and help improve patient care.”

The CERC, a €12.75m facility developed in partnership between UL Hospitals Group and -UL, and co-funded by the HSE and UL, is a four-storey building that accommodates and supports the educational, training and research needs of the UL Hospitals Group medical community, and the UL Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS).

With a 150-seat lecture theatre and tutorial rooms, the CERC also has a library, offices for academic, administrative and technical support staff, research facilities, and a dedicated research area for the UL Health Research Institute.

The CERC building hosts the Health Science Academy which will attempt to establish the Irish Mid-West as “a global exemplar of hospital and community-based health services that are driven by education, research, and innovation and shaped by the needs of patients”.

The academy intends to “harness the energies” of all three bodies, including UL’s Health Research Institute and its Clinical Research Support Unit with their focus on research projects that aim to enhance people’s health and wellbeing and transform the health environment for the population.

The population of the catchment area of UL Hospitals Group and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare is some 385,000 residents in Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary.

Ms Miriam McCarthy, Manager of the Health Sciences Academy, comments: “The Health Sciences Academy is a bridge between the University of Limerick, UL Hospitals Group, and Mid-West Community Healthcare. It will bind together the organisations, moving the world of research, innovation and education intelligence at UL closer to the world of clinical expertise and practise in our hospitals."