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Personal Information
College Photo Name O'Neill, Desmond
College Address Clinical Medicine,
Trinity Centre, S J H
Main Department Centre For Medical Gerontology
College Tel +353 1 4143215
Fax +353 1 414 3244
As a medical undergraduate of TCD, Prof O'Neill spent a year in Marseilles as a volunteer with a NGO working with older people. He subsequently trained as a geriatrician in St James's Hospital and the University of Bristol. Following an appointment as consultant geriatrician in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham he returned to Dublin and currently is the senior academic in Medical Gerontology at the TCD campus at Tallaght Hospital. His focus of research is rooted in gerontology and the neurosciences, with a strong emphasis on liaison with the humanities.
Teaching interests and responsibilities
Developed the first formal course in Medical Gerontology for junior medical students in Ireland in 1995. Developed MedLine Ethics module for clinical ethics teaching in conjunction with the School of Religions, TCD. Also, ethics for Clinical Dysphagia Course, Tallaght Hospital: Specialist Registrara Training, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. Online modules on elder abuse (with Dr Shane O'Hanlon) for UK NHS e-Learning For Healthcare, and also for Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. TCD partner in European Master's in Gerontology Medical Humanities teaching and research modules (with H Moss)
Professional Qualifications
Qualification Institution Class of Degree Title of Dissertation Date Conferred
BA MB BCh BAO TCD     1983
MRCPI RCPI     1986
MD TCD   Electrophysiology of senile dementia of the Alzheimer type 1992
FRCPI RCPI     1996
AGSF American Geriatrics Society    
Administrative Functions
Details Level Date From Date To
Steering Group, D Clin Psych Chair
Trinity College Institute of Neurosciences Member 2001
Trinity Consortium on Ageing Member 2004
TCD Board Board Member Sept 2008
Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations, Societies
Details Date From Date To
Chair, Government Working Group on Elder Abuse 1999 2002
Chair, National Review Group on Implementation of Policy on Elder Abuse 2003 2010
Medical Director, Alzheimer Society of Ireland 1993 2004
Founder/Chair, Council on Stroke, Irish Heart Foundation 1997 2009
Secretary, Irish Gerontological Society 2003 2008
More Memberships>>>
Awards and Honours
Award Date
Fellowship, American Geriatrics Society Novemeber 2006
All-Ireland Inspirational Life Award March 2010
Marjory Warren Lecturer, British Geriatrics Society May 20111
Irish Heart Foundation National Stroke Champion 22 November 2011
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Humanism in Aging Leadership Award January 2013
More Awards and Honours>>>
Education Details
School/College Date From Date To
Trinity College Dublin 1976 1983
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
French Fluent Fluent Fluent
German Basic Basic Basic
Research Institutes / Centres / Groups
Research Institutes / Centres / Groups Description of Role Date From Date To
Trinity Inst. of Neurosciences (TCIN) 15-JUL-06 15-JUL-06
Molecular Medicine Ireland Member
Employment Details
Position Held Job Description Where Date From Date To
National Director of Traffic Medicine Developing practical, educational and research aspects of fitness to drive in Ireland Road Safety Authority/RCPI 2011 2014
Consultant Physician in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine   Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24 1993
Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine   Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham 1992 1993
Lecturer in Geriatric Medicine   University of Bristol 1990 1992
Research Interests
Ageing, memory and other cognitive processes Ageing, stroke, dementia Biomedical ethics DEGLUTITION
Research Projects
Project title Healthy Ageing Research Project
Summary The first data is being analyzed from the first longitudinal study on ageing in Ireland, a joint research project between TCD (leader Prof Des O'Neill (1983)), RCSI and Queen's University Belfast. Funding of 800,000 has been provided by the Health Research Board, and the acronym for the study (HARP) helps to identify the country of origin! Drawing on a second cohort of older people from the Republic of Ireland, as well as a cohort from Northern Ireland, the study has great potential to help understand the process of ageing in Ireland, and in particular some of the reasons why longevity has been lagging behind that of the EU 15 states. The survey looks at not only health, social and psychological variables, but also at usage patterns and perceptions of health and social services in both systems. A sub-study of the project is the examination of psychological models of coping after stroke, which is being carried out at the Stroke Service in Tallaght Hospital, the first acute service in the Republic of Ireland. As much neurorehabilitation serves as much to facilitate adaptation as to restore function, this is a key (and under-expolored) area of research. A first study from this arm of the project won the poster prize at the National Stroke Study Day in May 2005, and further publications are in preparation.
Funding Agency Health Research Board, Ireland
Type of Project Clinical/epidemiological
Date from 2002
Date to 2006
Person Months

Project title Irish National Stroke Audit
Summary A 600,000 project, PI's Prof Hannah McGee (RCSI) and Desmond O'Neill (TCD), the work involves a national stroke audit of hospital and community stroke services for the Republic of Ireland. The objective of the audit of hospital based stroke services is to establish the current level and functioning of services available for the care of stroke patients in acute hospitals in the Republic of Ireland. The audit of hospital-based services will have two components: i) an Audit of the Organisational Aspects of Stroke Care in acute hospitals with regard to their resources for organised stroke care: and ii) a Clinical Audit of Stroke Care involving review of clinical case notes for a selected sample of patients with stroke.
Funding Agency Irish Heart Foundation/Department of Health and Children
Type of Project Health Services Researches
Date from 2005
Date to
Person Months

Project title Music Therapy in Stroke
Summary A randomized controlled trial of music therapy in stroke: grant of 40,000
Funding Agency Meath Foundation
Type of Project Clinical Research
Date from 2006
Date to 2007
Person Months

Project title Artists in Hospitals
Summary Project to develop a training course for artists working in hospitals. Grand of 25,000
Funding Agency Arts Council
Type of Project
Date from 2006
Date to 2007
Person Months

Project title Robotics in Stroke
Summary 250,000
Funding Agency Health Services Executive
Type of Project
Date from 2008
Date to 2009
Person Months

More Research Projects>>>
Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Moss H, O'Neill D, Aesthetic deprivation in clinical settings, Lancet, 383, 2014, p1032 - 1033
O'Neill D, To live (and die) as an original, JAMA, 308, (7), 2012, p679 - 680
O'Neill D, History, philosophy and narrative medicine in European Geriatric Medicine, Dutch Geriatrics Society, s'Hertogenbosch, 4 February, 2011, Dutch Geriatrics Society
O'Neill D., The Art of the Demographic Dividend, Lancet, 377, 2011, p1828-9
Non Peer Reviewed
O'Neill D., Planning healthcare for an ageing population, IMO Scientific Meeting, Killarney, April 29, 2011, Irish Medical Organization
More Publications and Other Research Outputs >>>

Last updated 6 May 2009 Clinical Medicine (Email).