Dr Tony Holohan to focus on public health strategy as Trinity professor

28 Mar 2022

Dr Tony Holohan receiving an honorary fellowship from RCSI last year. Image: Julien Behal Photography

The CMO’s new university role will recognise ‘the complexity and scope of population health challenges in the modern era’ and work to prepare for future emergencies.

Dr Tony Holohan is taking on a new professor role at Trinity College Dublin after stepping down from his position as Ireland’s chief medical officer.

From 1 July, Holohan will be professor of public health strategy and leadership at the university.

Future Human

Trinity provost Prof Linda Doyle said he will not be attached to a single school or area of expertise. “Instead, his role will traverse the Faculties of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Health Sciences, recognising the complexity and scope of population health challenges in the modern era.”

While Holohan has been the State’s chief medical officer since 2008, he was shot into the public eye in 2020 as he was tasked with navigating the Covid-19 pandemic and chairing the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

“Dr Holohan has become a household name for his service to the country over the past two years but there is plenty that still needs to be done to protect Ireland from future pandemics,” Doyle noted.

“We’re excited that he will be working with other academic colleagues in Trinity to learn the lessons of Covid and prepare for these future challenges.”

Holohan said the past two years have presented “extreme challenges to public health globally” and he now has a new opportunity to contribute to improving public health policy, practice and outcomes. 

“I look forward to using my experience, knowledge and skills to enable Trinity College Dublin to make a leading contribution to strengthening the knowledge and practice of public health leadership in Ireland,” he added.

“Now more than ever, a strong focus on public health protection and preparedness for health emergencies is required.”

Members of the Government paid tribute to Holohan’s work, with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, TD, saying he had made a “significant and lasting impact on health” in the country. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, added that it is “reassuring that he and his experience and knowledge will only be down the road” at Trinity.

Holohan is not the only member of NPHET to take on a new role in the Irish science space. Earlier this year, Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group chair and former Maynooth University president Prof Philip Nolan became the new director general of Science Foundation Ireland.

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com