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UPMC and RCSI award Concussion Fellowship in honour of Dan Rooney

UPMC and RCSI award Concussion Fellowship in honour of Dan Rooney

27 September 2021 — UPMC and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences are delighted to announce Neurosurgeon, Dr Philip J. O’Halloran as the recipient of the Rooney Concussion Fellowship established in honour of the late U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney.

Dr O’Halloran graduated from University College Cork in 2003 and completed his higher surgical training in RCSI. In 2019, he completed his PhD in neuro oncology and worked in neurosurgery before moving to Canada to take up a post as clinical fellow in neuro oncology/skull base surgery in Toronto Western Hospital. His most recent position was as clinical fellow of neurotrauma surgery in the Royal London Hospital.

The fellowship will last for two years. Initially, Dr O’Halloran will spend a period time at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to develop baseline clinical knowledge of concussions and their evaluation, and study clinical research methods. Upon returning to Ireland, the fellow will work with Dr Helen French and Louise Keating in the RCSI School of Physiotherapy and across the UPMC Concussion Network in Ireland.

Awarding the fellowship, Mr. Chris Wurst, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Ireland, said: “I am delighted to award this fellowship in memory of the late U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney. His love of sports and Ireland was legendary, and to bring those two passions together in the form of the Rooney Concussion Fellowship is very welcome. I would like to congratulate Dr O’Halloran and wish him well as he embarks on this fellowship with UPMC and RCSI. It is wonderful to see the collaboration on both sides of the Atlantic to bring this to fruition.”

Ambassador Rooney, who died in 2017, was famous in his native United States as the owner of the American football team the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, in Ireland he was known as a great philanthropist, supporter of Irish cultural, educational, and charitable causes, and, late in life, as U.S. ambassador from 2009-2012 under President Obama.

“UPMC is changing how healthcare is delivered in Ireland, and we are excited to use our extensive concussion treatment and testing experience in the U.S. to assist and benefit communities across Ireland through the fellowship,” said David Beirne, managing director of UPMC in Ireland and senior vice president of UPMC International. He continued, “As an organisation that is recognised globally as a leader in concussion, sports medicine and rehabilitation, UPMC is delighted to support and help deliver this initiative, and we thank our partners in RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. I would also like to thank Chris Wurst, Deputy Chief of Mission, for awarding the fellowship and maintaining the strong links and friendships that the Rooney Concussion Fellowship represents.”

Professor Suzanne McDonough, Head of RCSI School of Physiotherapy, said: “We are delighted to award the Rooney Concussion Fellowship to Dr O’Halloran. The fellowship, established in partnership with UPMC, signifies RCSI’s commitment to addressing the management of concussion in Ireland and the investigation of treatments for enhanced recovery and risk reduction through protection and preventive measures. Through this fellowship, Dr O’Halloran will play an important role in the continued growth of high-quality, evidence-based concussion care, bringing significant expertise to this area.”