Alliance Partners, NUI Galway and UL launch Joint Medical Academy

(L-R) Mark Stasaitis, 3rd year medical student NUI Galway, originally from Boston, USA and Noreen Maloney, 4th year medical student, University of Limerick (from Limerick) with Dean of the Medical Academy Maeve Durkan .
Jan 29 2013 Posted: 10:12 GMT

Alliance partners, NUI Galway and the University of Limerick are delighted to announce the opening of a Joint Medical Academy at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe. The NUI Galway – University of Limerick Medical Academy will bring the expertise of two of Ireland’s medical schools together through shared teaching and facilities. This allows for greater efficiencies in maintenance of infrastructure and recruitment of academic and administrative staff but also allows student of undergraduate medical training and graduate entry programmes to learn from one another. 

Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe has been chosen as a step-out clinical site for the education of Medical Students from NUI Galway and the University of Limerick. As of 7 January 2013, 22 medical students from both institutions will carry out a large component of their training at the hospital.

Speaking at the announcement, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of Medical School at NUI Galway, said: “Placements in clinical practice are the cornerstone of medical education and this will be delivered to a high standard through the rotation of students through a central university teaching hospital and the selection of regional academies. It is anticipated that a proportion of students in regional academies will become the junior and senior medical staff for these hospitals in the future. The opening of this medical teaching academy in Ballinasloe sees the completion of the network of regional medical academies representing partnerships between NUI Galway and HSE West and more recently Galway Roscommon University Hospital Trust.”

Professor Dunne added: “Recent investments in staffing and new infrastructure in NUI Galway, including three new buildings for medical research, as well as ground-breaking developments in our research activities, have positioned the Medical School as one of the top Schools in the country and we are delighted to offer this unique approach to medical education with University of Limerick to our students.”

The opening of the Ballinasloe Academy is unique in that two medical schools will share the academy premises and academic staff. This allows for greater efficiencies in maintenance of infrastructure and recruitment of academic and administrative staff but also allows students progressing through two different curricula to learn from one another.

Professor Michael Larvin, Head, Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, welcomed the announcement; "UL is delighted to see another example of collaboration between our two universities with the creation of this joint Medical Academy at Portiuncula Hospital.  This collaboration gives both Universities an excellent opportunity to compare the complementary medical education learning experiences of undergraduate and graduate entry medical students.  Our expectation is that their co-existence will lead to great synergy.  The hospital currently hosts UL medical students in Medicine, Surgery and Paediatrics and they have been wonderfully supported by the hospital staff. The GEMS student evaluations of their experience at the Portiuncula Hospital have been consistently excellent and we are excited to see the arrival of NUI Galway medical students.  It will be a wonderful opportunity for both staff and students to learn from each other.”

Dr Maeve Durkan, Dean of NUI Galway – University of Limerick Medical Academy said: “We are delighted to celebrate the merging of these two Academies, NUI Galway School of Medicine and University Limerick, Graduate Entry Medical School which represents the first such venture in the country. Portiuncula Hospital is very pleased at this resounding endorsement by two of our leading medical schools, which reiterates the esteem in which both our clinical and teaching disciplines are held. Portiuncula is committed to consistent high quality care of our patients and this development reiterates that. Equally we recognize the absolute importance of medical education, I am personally proud of the dedication of our module leaders who are instrumental in the delivery of both high quality care and education.  In the last three years, the highest achieving graduates in the UL GEMS program have all trained at Portiuncula Hospital that alone speaks to our talents and dedication. This collaboration is a new departure in the merging of both an undergraduate and postgraduate program, which will be challenging and instructive but a challenge that we will embrace.”

Established in 2010, the NUI Galway - UL Strategic Alliance is an institution-wide partnership which covers all of the key areas of activity including teaching, research, technology transfer, lifelong learning and the provision of services. The objective of the alliance is to better support the social and economic development of our wider region by combining the strengths of the two Universities so as to increase the quantity and quality of our collaborative research and teaching, to further develop industrial, business and other partnerships, to ensure the most effective use of our combined resources, and to enhance the international standing of both Universities.


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