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Professor Paula O’Leary, Dean, UCC School of Medicine at the virtual ceremony

Congratulations to Dr. Sinead Forde on winning The Gaffney Prize at the School of Medicine (University College, Cork) annual prize giving ceremony. This is the first time that a pain related research topic has won this prestigious prize!
Dr. Forde’s research was entitled "The Effects of BMI and Psychological Factors on Pain and Disability in Chronic Low Back Pain" and was under the supervision of Dr. Dominic Hegarty (Clinical Director Pain Relief Ireland, and Senior Clinical Lecturer at University College Cork). The research sought to examine the impact weight (body mass index (BMI)) had on the development of pain both psychologically and physically in those with long-term low back pain.
"Sinead was extremely dedicated and the project examined the complex relationship between the physical and psychological wellness in those with chronic back pain a meaningful way".

The research which formed part of Dr. Forde's Final Year Medical Studies was presented earlier this year  at the World Institute Pain World Congress in Rome (August 2020). Dr. Forde and Dr. Hegarty presented the data "virtually" as an e-poster and published the results in the peer-reviewed journal Pain Practise (2020) which is a testament of the quality of the work in the international context.

Dr. Hegarty highlighted the importance of research early in a young doctors’ career. “A culture of research and critical thinking is fostered in our (UCC) students. Medical students at UCC engage in research from the beginning of their student years and receive structured teaching in research methods so it my pleasure and privilege to help our students develop these investigative skills".
All students in the School of Medicine have the opportunity of working with principal investigators at UCC's many research groups and institutes. Dr. Hegarty noted that "we are very lucky in that every year 2 or 3 students embarked on research in the area of pain medicine and pain management. This is most encouraging because it would be easy for students to stick to "traditional" surgical or medical topics but instead they challenge themselves to work outside the box".
The prize was presented to Dr. Forde “virtually” in late December by the Dean of the School of Medicine Prof. Paula O’Leary (photographed above). While traditional celebrations may have been put on hold it does not take away from the achievement.

Pain Relief Ireland wants to celebrate the achievements of all who those who received awards especially to Dr. Sinead Forde!


Pain Practice: Volume 20, Issue S1
Special Issue: Abstracts of the 10th World Congress of the World Institute of Pain (WIP), 26–29 August, 2020, Rome Marriott Park Hotel ‐ Rome
Read More >



An undergraduate prize in Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine was established in honour of Dr. Desmond Gaffney, former Chairman, Department of Anaesthesia, Cork University Hospital. The Gaffney Prize is awarded to the student who obtains the highest mark in the Anaesthesiology section of the Final Year Research Project.
The Gaffney Prize is sponsored by the Anaesthesia Research and Education Fund.