Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy and Research at Focus Ireland, Dr. Austin O’Carroll, Founder of Safetynet Ireland, and Dr, Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine Physician at St James’s Hospital, discuss on why housing is critical to public health and how engagement with the public health sector can lead to vastly improved outcomes for vulnerable groups, with insights and lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis on how to help improve public health for homeless people long-term.
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Mike Allen – Director of Advocacy & Research, Focus Ireland
Mike Allen is Director of Advocacy and Research in one of Ireland’s leading housing and homeless charities, Focus Ireland. He was President of FEANTSA (the European Network for Homeless Organisations) 2013-16 and is a member of the European Observatory on Homelessness. He is chair of the Housing First Europe Hub.
Previously, Mike served a General Secretary of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) 1987-2000 and the Irish Labour Party (2000-08). He has also published a number of articles on unemployment, homelessness and social movements and as well as ‘The Bitter Word: Ireland’s Job Famine and its Aftermath’ (Poolbeg, 1998).
For more information about Focus Ireland: www.focusireland.ie
Austin O’Carroll – Founder, Safetynet Ireland
Dr Austin O Carroll ICGP Dhealth Hon holds a doctorate in ethnographic research into the health service usage behaviours of homeless people, and was appointed Clinical Lead for the Covid-19 Homeless Response in 2020.
Austin is also the founder/co-founder of a number of health initiatives in Ireland:
– Safetynet (2007) which provides GP services to over 6000 marginalized patients annually throughout Ireland. He was Medical Director from 2007-2017.
– GMQ, a primary care programme for homeless people.
– Partnership for Health Equity, a research, education, policy and service delivery collaboration.
– GPCareForAll, a new social enterprise that creates new GP practices in areas of deprivation.
– North Dublin City GP Training programme, the first internationally that trains GPs to work in communities affected by deprivation or marginalization.
Austin has received the Fiona Bradley Award; Time & Tide Award for his work with migrants; Irish Healthcare professional of the Year Award 2015; Doolin Award; Gertrude Ronan Award 2018 and Wonca Europe GP of the Year 2020.
Clíona Ní Cheallaigh – Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine Physician, St James’ Hospital
Dr. Clíona Ní Cheallaigh is an infectious diseases and internal medicine physician in St James’s Hospital, Dublin, and Associate Professor in Clinical Medicine. She has clinical and research expertise in immunology, social determinants of health, health equity, and implementation, and is the Clinical Lead of a pilot Inclusion Health Service in St James’s Hospital dedicated to improving access to specialist hospital care for homeless and other marginalized individuals.