Consultant dermatologist Dr Marina O’Kane has been elected as Chairperson of the ISF and has paid tribute to outgoing Chairperson, Professor Eoin O’Brien, who steps down after over 6 years leading the charity, since it establishment in 2011.
Dr O’Kane, who is based in Beaumont Hospital, said: “I am honoured to take over as Chairperson of the ISF Board at this time. Our shared vision arose from the charitable ethos of Hume Street Skin and Cancer Hospital, a place unique for truly prioritising people with skin disease.
“It has been incredible for me as a founding director to share this journey with Eoin, whose commitment to that vision never faltered, and with our Board, CEO, councils, staff and volunteers all of whom have tirelessly given time and energy to that vision.
The Irish Skin Foundation provides a strong voice for people with skin disease in Ireland and I am proud of our success in highlighting serious skin disorders that in the past, due to lack of awareness and resources, quietly ruined lives.
“I am also excited about future projects, supported by our strong collaborative links with Irish doctors, nurses, psychologists, and researchers. I value the ongoing support we receive from our colleagues in dermatology, nursing, general practice and community pharmacy and industry partners.”
“I thank my fellow board members for trusting me to steer our organisation through the next five years and look forward to working with David and our Board, towards skin health for all in Ireland.”
In welcoming Dr O’Kane’s election, outgoing Chairperson Prof O’Brien remarked, “it gives me great pleasure to welcome Marina to succeed me as Chairperson of the Board of the ISF. Marina is the longest serving dermatologist on the Board, having been a member since the inaugural Board Meeting on 19th January 2011. Since then she has given me loyal support and much advice, for which I am most grateful.
I have no doubt but that she will lead the ISF forward with skill and energy in the interest of people with skin diseases in Ireland.” (Full statement below)
Both Professor O’Brien and Dr O’Kane thanked outgoing Board members Jeanette Brazel, Dr Alan Irvine, Fergus McKenna, Dr Patrick Ormond and Dr Mark Wheeler for their commitment and dedication to the ISF as trustees.
Dr O’Kane welcomed a number of new Board members including consultant dermatologists Drs Rupert Barry, Rosemarie Watson and Anne-Marie Tobin, GP Dr Catherine Wilkinson, community pharmacist Michael Foley MPSI, dermatology advanced nurse practitioner Sheila Ryan, clinical psychologist Dr Jennifer Wilson O’Raghallaigh and Mr Padraig O’Cearbhaill, representing the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity (CDSCHC), all of whom joined the Board in 2017.
David McMahon, who has been with the ISF since 2015, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and commented, “I am excited to lead the ISF in this period of development and growth. I look forward to building upon the work achieved by the Board and staff in the past 6 years to create an organisation that can provide practical help, support and information to people living with skin disease in Ireland”.
Professor O’Brien’s full valedictory statement, 12 July 2017
It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr Marina O’Kane to succeed me as Chairperson of the Board of the ISF. Marina is the longest serving dermatologist on the Board, having been a member since the inaugural Board Meeting on 19th January 2011. Since then she has given me loyal support and much advice, for which I am most grateful. I have no doubt but that she will lead the ISF forward with skill and energy in the interest of people with skin diseases in Ireland.
The ISF, though inaugurated officially in 2011, began life in 2007 following the sale of the City of Dublin Skin & Cancer Hospital on Hume Street. The then Chairman Matt O’Brien, with customary vision, brought together the various voluntary bodies with an interest in caring for patients with skin disease and together we laid down the structure of the ISF in formal Memorandum and Articles of Association. Jeanette Brazel, founder of the Irish Eczema Society, Caroline Irwin, founder of the Psoriasis Association of Ireland, and Patrick Ormond, founder of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Society, agreed that the patients they each represented, would be best served if these bodies were under the common umbrella of the ISF. Each by serving on the ISF Board has assisted me in bringing the ISF to it’s present representative state, which makes it unique among similar organisations in the world, in that the ISF represents patients with all forms of skin disease in Ireland.
Fergus Slattery, as Patron of the ISF has given generously of his time, influence and energy to bring public and financial support to the ISF. The past, and present members of the Board, who are too numerous to mention by name, have shown remarkable commitment to the ideals of the ISF and their attendance at quarterly meetings has been testimony to their belief in the objectives of the ISF.
I could not have guided the ISF to its present position without the assistance of an Executive Committee, consisting of Fergus McKenna, Matt O’Brien, Caroline Irwin and Jeanette Brazel, which met monthly to oversee the implementation of policy, and to ensure proper governance.
I am indebted for loyal assistance from Seamus Kennedy, who oversaw all the financial aspects of the ISF and who gave me advice and guidance in many ways. Helen Hadden has been a loyal administrative assistant from the earliest days, and Carmel Blake and Michelle Dolan, have guided the important nursing initiatives of the ISF.
Professor Frank Powell, in his capacity as Director of the Charles Institute assisted me in bringing the ISF into closer harmony with the research activities of the Charles Institute to the overall benefit of patients with skin disease. Professor Alan Irvine chaired the Committee to guide the establishment of a Registry of Skin Diseases in Ireland, which will prove a most valuable asset in years to come, and continues to be assisted by Godfrey Fletcher and Dmitri Wall in this endeavour.
I acknowledge with gratitude the support of many corporate bodies with an interest in dermatological treatment, which gave generous financial support to enable the ISF to fulfill its various functions.
The Board of the City of Dublin Skin & Cancer Hospital Charity under the successive chairmanships of Matt O’Brien, Peter O’Flanagan, Stephen Walsh and Padraig O’Cearbhaill have worked with me to fulfil the ISF mission of improving the care and advice for patients with skin disease, their families and carers, and have guided their Board in the provision of on-going financial support to enable the ISF to establish itself as a presence in Irish society that will endure for the benefit of future generations of patients with skin ailments.
Finally, it gives me pleasure to hand over with confidence the administrative reins to the newly appointed CEO, David McMahon, with whom I have had the pleasure of working for the past two years, and who, I know, will guide and strengthen the ISF into the future.”
Professor O’Brien has been cardiologist and physician to a number of Dublin hospitals which include Beaumont Hospital, St. Laurence’s Hospital, The Charitable Infirmary, The Rotunda Hospital, The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital and Connolly Hospital. Since retiring from Beaumont Hospital in 2004 he has conducted research from The Conway Institute, UCD in the field of molecular pharmacology. He is also the author of several books on historical and artistic subjects.