About this event:

The Innovation Value Institute, Maynooth University in collaboration with The Irish Digital Health Leadership Steering Group, together with the University of Bath and DCU are organizing a Health Equity Seminar at the Royal Irish Academy. The event will bring key leaders from the Quadruple Helix of Irish Healthcare and will feature an address from the Director of Purdue Universities Health Equity Initiatives, former Surgeon General of the US, Dr Jerome Adams and a response from Ireland’s CMO Prof Breda Smyth.


Date and time:

June 6th, 2023 – 14:00 – 16:00 IST


19 Dawson St, Dublin 2, D02 HH58

In 1998 The 51st World Health Assembly approved the following declaration “We, the Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO), reaffirm our commitment to the principle enunciated in its Constitution that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being; in doing so, we affirm the dignity and worth of every person, and the equal rights, equal duties and shared responsibilities of all for health.

Furthermore the declaration continued “We recognize that the improvement of the health and well-being of people is the ultimate aim of social and economic development. We are committed to the ethical concepts of equity, solidarity and social justice and to the incorporation of a gender perspective into our strategies. We emphasize the importance of reducing social and economic inequities in improving the health of the whole population”.

The Manhattan Manifesto for Digital Health transition was developed following the UN Digital Health Symposium in New York in September 2022 by 50 global leaders in Digital Health. There is overwhelming evidence that global healthcare systems are heading for a cliff edge unless we make a radical shift. Half the world’s population still has no access to essential health services and the other half may soon be unable to afford the services they have.” Additionally the OECD has warned that healthcare costs will become unsustainable in advanced economies by the middle of this century.

Other studies have warned of a global shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030. TIME earlier this year predicted the coming collapse of the US Healthcare system.

The Manhattan Manifesto1, the outcome of the last meeting of the UN digital health symposium in New York, makes the case for accelerated adoption of digital technology for monitoring, managing and improving health accompanied by a “shift left” from hospital to community and home-based care.

In Ireland the Quality of health care is considered generally good by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, but access to services is constrained by costs and waiting times.

Ireland remains the only western European country without universal coverage for primary care2. Ireland’s health system ranked 22nd out of 35 countries in 2018 but on the issue of accessibility, Ireland ranked worst. Despite record spending Ireland’s health system is ranked in 80th position in the CEO world ranking of National Health systems.

Ireland can and do much better. On her recent appointment as Chief Medical Officer Prof Breda Smyth said “I am keen to use my term as Chief Medical Officer to support greater engagement with marginalised groups in society and address inequities in health by supporting the Department’s work in improving the affordability and quality of our health service.” The recent appointment of a New CMO who is prioritising health equity improvement acts as a catalyst to accelerate progress.

The objective of this seminar is to bring key actors into safe and creative environment to discuss how to move Irish Healthcare out of the stasis it is in. The format will include a brief synopsis of health equity in Ireland, a keynote address by Dr Adams, a response by Prof Smyth and short statements by key stakeholders on recommendation for improvement followed by constructive conversation about how to move from ambition to action.

By: Martin Curley, Professor of Innovation at Maynooth University


Title of presentations  Speaker  Speaker Designation 
Welcome  Professor Pat Guiry  President of Royal Irish Academy 
Introduction  Professor Martin Curley  Professor of Innovation, Maynooth University 
Vote of Thanks & Response
Professor Breda Smyth  Chief Medical Officer at Department of Health 
Health Equity Address  Dr. Jerome Adams  Director Health Equity Initiatives, Purdue University 
Interdisciplinary Panel 

Panel FacilitatorPaul Cullen
Ade Stack
Shona D’Arcy
Professor Colin Doherty
Dr Michael Harty
Dr Charles Larkin
Mr. Fintan Foy
Professor Anthony Staines
Stephen McMahon

Health Editor at the Irish Times
Managing Director at Stack Pharmacy Group
Founder of Kids Speech Labs
Head Trinity Medical School
ex-Chair Oireachtas Health Committee

Director of Research, Policy Institute, University of Bath
Chief Executive Officer at ICGP 
Professor of Health Systems, DCU
Director of Irish Patients’ Association