Dr Mapa Prabhath Piyasena is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Global Eye Health from Queen’s University Belfast. Prabhath graduated with an MBBS (2nd Class Honours) and Diploma in Science from the University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka, and a Master’s (MSc) and Doctorate (PhD) in Public Health Ophthalmology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – United Kingdom. He also served as a Medical Officer in Health Policy Review under the Ministry of Health Sri Lanka. Prabhath research aim is to prevent avoidable blindness and visual impairment globally and transform lives, by generating high-quality evidence informing policy and practice. In this exercise, he has learned that influencing public policy is a complex process and not an easy task in any setting. Effective communication plays a major role in building awareness and educating and engaging stakeholders to influence policy.
Dr Sheena McHugh is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health at University College Cork. Sheena is an implementation scientist and health services researcher. Her research focuses on how to ensure that evidence-based interventions are integrated into routine care to improve the quality and effectiveness of care for those in need. This work includes examining barriers and facilitators to implementing evidence-based interventions and designing and tailoring implementation strategies. Her research has largely focused on diabetes management in primary care. Sheena is an HRB Research Leader and leads the Health Implementation Research Hub at the School of Public Health, a research group interested in how best to implement evidence-based interventions and support the use of research evidence in health services. Sheena trained originally in psychology, graduating from University College Dublin and she holds an MSc in Health Psychology from University College London. She has a PhD in Health Services Research from UCC.
Dr Niamh Kilgallen is a Senior Research Officer with the Evidence and Quality Hub in the National Cancer Control Programme (HSE). Niamh graduated from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (now part of Atlantic Technological University) in 2007 with a PhD specialising in marine biodiversity and taxonomy. She spent several years working in various research institutions around the world before switching careers in 2017 when she returned to Ireland to take up her current position with the HSE. Since then, she has been a member of several Guideline Development Groups which have produced both National Clinical Guidelines for cancer care and GP Guidelines for the referral of patients with suspected cancer and has carried out the evidence synthesis to support these.