RCSI elects Prof Laura Viani as new president

8 Jun 2022

Prof Deborah McNamara and Prof Laura Viani, RCSI. Image: Conor Healy/Picture It Photography

The election of a woman president and vice-president together is a first in RCSI history.

Prof Laura Viani’s election as the new president of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) was announced yesterday (7 June).

Viani’ is a consultant otolaryngologist and neurotologist at Beaumont Hospital and the Children’s University Hospital Temple Street. She is also director and professor of the National Cochlear Implant Programme and Hearing Research Centre, a specialty she founded. She replaces outgoing RCSI president, Prof P Ronan O’Connell.

Viani has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of hearing sciences and surgery. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin (TCD), she completed her training in Ireland, the UK and Switzerland.

Viani has held a number of similar leadership roles during her career. She was president of The Royal Academy of Medicine Of Ireland’s Otolaryngology Section and honorary associate professor of surgery at RCSI. She was also honorary adjunct professor at TCD and visiting professor to centres in Australia as well as the Middle East and Latin America.

In 2016, she set up a multi-institutional hearing research centre involving RCSI, TCD and universities in the US and Latin America.

She has been involved in RCSI training for more than 25 years. Her new role will see her liaise with RCSI’s international network of 10,000 fellows and members across 87 countries.

Viani described her election as a “great honour”.

“My presidency of RCSI follows the global pandemic and HSE cyberattack which have presented our surgical community with challenges that will shape the future of surgery for years to come.”

Viani also referred to supporting the next generation of surgical trainees whose training has been disrupted over the past few years. She mentioned the “rise of online learning” and the possibilities of it providing surgeons with greater opportunities for education and networking.

She said she looked forward to working with the RCSI members and fellows to build “a virtual network for continuing surgical education”.

Prof Deborah McNamara was elected as vice-president alongside Viani. McNamara is a consultant general and colorectal surgeon at Beaumont Hospital. The election of two women as president and vice-president together is a first for RCSI.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.