Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Population Health/Health Services/Primary Care Research

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Population Health and Health Services research (PHHSR)

Research in PHHSR in RCSI seeks to develop new knowledge and methodological approaches aimed at improving population health and health services policy and practice. Priorities include:

  • Observational epidemiological and epidemiological modelling studies, utilising national datasets such as The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) and the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS)
  • Major non-communicable diseases - such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus - focusing on health behaviours and risk factors, and interventions to improve care 
  • Patient safety, including assessment of adverse events and adverse drug reactions.
  • Health workforce research, focusing on inward and outward migration; identification of measures for retaining Irish trained doctors;medical career tracking -see Health-work force Ireland; and use of task shifting to retain health workers in Africa - see COST-Africa
  • Patient reported outcomes and underlying psychometric processes and instruments, focusing on quality of life, depression, stress, sexual health, chronic disease management, including adherence to healthcare advice.
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses, including Cochrane Reviews, of interventional and observational studies.
  • Research programmes in PHHSR include the SPHeRE (Structured Population and Health-services Research Education) structured PhD programme  -see


HRB Centre for Primary Care Research

The HRB Centre for Primary Care Research (CPCR) is the national research centre led by the Department of General Practice, RCSI in collaboration with Queen's University Belfast (QUB), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and NUI Galway. Established in 2008, we have now entered our second phase of funding. The aim of the CPCR is to build on our initial programme of research to enhance patient safety in terms of prescribing, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the care of patient's utilizing information and communication technology (ICT).  For more details, please visit our website at

The principal objectives of phase two of the CPCR is to improve medicines management in primary care (Work package 1), which will be carried out through further development and evaluation of ICT interventions in the form of computer-based support systems (CDSSs) that enhance medicine management for acute and chronic illness. Work package 2 builds on the work already completed relating to Clinical Prediction Rules (CPRs) in primary care, with a particular focus on evaluating the impact of implementing CPRs at point-of-care utilizing the Electronic Health Record (EHR). Effective care delivery is the focus of Work package 3. The aim is to build on our previous observational work in patients with multimorbidity and exploring variation in prescribing in chronic conditions.

We are a multi-disciplinary group of clinicians, pharmacists, social scientists, epidemiologists and statisticians. StAR applicants will have the opportunity to joint our critical mass of researchers and contribute our short course programme in research methods and supervise PhD students.

See below for senior Academics/Researchers, Research Centres and Programmes:


Tom Fahey

General Practice

View Tom Fahey's profile

Susan Smith

General Practice

View Susan Smith's profile

Ruairi Brugha

Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine

View Ruairi Brugha's profile

Ronan Conroy Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine
View Ronan Conroy's profile
Elaine Byrne  Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine View Elaine Byrne's profile
Niamh Humphries Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine View Niamh Humphries profile
Frances Horgan  Physiotherapy  View Frances Horgan's profile 
Frank Doyle  Psychology  View Frank Doyle's profile
Anne Hickey  Psychology 

View Anne Hickey's profile  

Hannah McGee


View Hannah McGee's profile

Karen Morgan  Psychology  View Karen Morgan's profile

Research Centres & Programmes in this Area


SPHeRE Programme


The (Structured Population and Health-services Research Education) Programme, funded by the HRB, is Ireland's first structured PhD Programme in Health Services Research.  It has expanded beyond the three founding institutions (the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin) to include all higher education institutions in Ireland.  The SPHeRE Programme will provide education and training for five cohorts of PhD scholars annually (2013-2017) and is developing accessible online modular education programme.

The HRB Centre for Primary Care Research 


A multidisciplinary collaboration between RCSI (lead), TCD and Queen's University Belfast. The HRB Centre for Primary Care Research is researching the quality of care across the primary/secondary care interface in vulnerable patient groups and developing information and communication technology (ICT) interventions to improve patient care. The HRB Centre has developed a critical mass of young, motivated academics from a multi-disciplinary background, employing over 45 people in a five-year period. More....

Health-work force Ireland

Health-work force Ireland


Health workforce Research has evolved from HRB-funded studies on the inward migration of foreign trained nurses and doctors (with TCD) to new studies on Irish doctor emigration and global migration patterns, the latter funded by a EC FP7 grant. 



COST-Africa is an FP7-funded research project that is evaluating the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of a scalable Clinical Officer (CO) surgical training programme in Malawi and Zambia.