UCD Professor of Psychiatry & Mental Health Research, Prof. Kevin Malone, last week announced a medal set up in honour of the late UCD Newman Professor of Mental Health Research, Professor Eadbhard O’Callaghan.
The awarding of the medal will commence in 2012, with the first week of September being the final deadline for submission of an abstract. Applications will be open to all postgraduate researchers who are involved with mental health research anywhere in UCD. Following the adjudication of the submissions, the top three candidates will be invited to give an oral presentation, answering questions in a conference at the end of November. If the winning candidate is of a standard that the committee deem worthy, they will be awarded the Eadbhard O’Callaghan medal.
The opportunity to enter an abstract to qualify for the medal will be open each year; however, the medal itself will not necessarily be awarded every year. Prof. Malone explains that “Eabhard had a big thing about a non-slipping standard, we’re not just going to award a medal for the sake of it. If the standard of post-graduate research excellence in UCD isn’t reached, the medal won’t be awarded. Obviously, we want to award it, we want to encourage [students].”
Prof. Malone explains that the medal was set up to acknowledge the legacy of Prof. O’Callaghan, who passed away in May 2011. Prof. Malone explained that one of Prof. O’Callaghan’s passions was the idea of “a young postgraduate stepping forth in the field of mental health research and to support their efforts to pursue higher degrees and to produce high quality research in Ireland in UCD.” It was hence deemed fitting to create a medal that would remember Prof. O’Callaghan in this way.
The idea for the medal was first presented by Prof. Malone to the Head of Medicine and Medical Specialties, Prof. Michael Keane, who then brought it forward to the School of Medicine for further approval. Prof. Malone also discussed the idea with Prof. O’Callaghan’s wife, Mrs. Virginia O’Callaghan, who was “very pleased that this was the way that the University was going to acknowledge [Prof. O’Callaghan], because he was very fond of the academic pursuits and the academic drive within UCD”.
Prof. O’Callaghan was described by Prof. Malone as “an inspirational leader to a cohort of young Irish psychiatrists, who always championed excellence above mediocrity”. He founded the First Episode Psychosis DETECT Project in South Dublin, which was established as an “early detection, intervention and relapse-prevention program” for every breaking first episode psychosis case in the region, the premise of which was that “if early, timely and universal best practice clinical care can be delivered to those who suffer a first episode of psychosis, the consequences of this illness can be modified to have a positive impact throughout the life course”.