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About the Conference

This inaugural 'Gender Paradox in Health Sciences Conference' will discuss the gender equality challenges that are present in Schools and Departments of Medicine, Dentistry, Biomedical Sciences and Health Sciences.

The Conference is hosted by the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's.

Confirmed Speakers

David Gavagan Profile Pic
Founder, Aurora Prime Real Estate Limited
Mr David Gavaghan

David established Aurora Prime Real Estate Limited to focus on a new dawn emerging in Belfast and is seeking to raise £50m locally and internationally to invest in Grade A office space in Belfast. He believes that the ingredients are in place for a transformation in Northern Ireland’s capital city returning it in a modern day context to what it was a century ago – a hive of industry, creativity and wealth formation.

Aurora has combined forces with Crescent Capital - Crescent has been investing in Northern Ireland since 1995 and is the region’s largest independent fund manager.

Until April 2015, he was Chief Executive of Titanic Quarter Limited - a strategic site that has the potential to become one of the most exciting developments across the islands of Ireland and Britain. Previously he was the Executive Director of Quintain Estates and Development plc responsible for the specialist fund management business which focussed on residential healthcare, student accommodation, science parks and niche secondary property in the UK.

Prior to that, David was Chief Executive of Strategic Investment Board Limited for six years, advising Ministers in Northern Ireland on the infrastructure programme across the region.  He has extensive experience in project and tax based finance and was a Director of Hambros Bank in the City of London.

David is currently Chair of Visit Belfast and Sports Changes Life as well as the environmental arm of Business in the Community in NI, Arena Network. He is also Vice Chair of the Washington Ireland Program. He is both a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institution of Civil Engineers

David has a degree in Economics and Social Studies from Trinity College Dublin having had his secondary education at Blackrock College, Co Dublin. David is married to Helen O’Malley and together they have 8 children (four boys, four girls) ranging in ages from 25 to 4 years old! He lives in Killinchy, Co Down and keeps fit by running, doing the occasional half-marathon when he is not chasing kids!


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Anna Mittnerova Profile Picture
Development of Human Resources, Prague, Czech Republic
Ms Anna Mittnerova

Ms Anna Mittnerova currently works in the Department for Research and Development, Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague in the Czech Republic and is charged with the development of human resources and the implementation of a gender equality action plan within the university.

Anna Mittnerova graduated in 1973, from UCT Prague, in the discipline of inorganic materials, particularly glass and ceramics. After her studies, she continued working at the university as a researcher in the field of new ceramic materials development. In 1991, she started to work within the commercial sector, focusing on the import of foreign products, in the field of chemistry and civil engineering in the Czech market.

 In 2004 she returned to the academic sector as a consultant of international projects, mainly framework programmes for research and development (FP6, FP7, Horizon 2020) and also lifelong learning programmes, such as Comenius or Leonardo da Vinci. She has been involved in several projects as a participant and team leader. She was head of the organising committee of an International Conference on Innovative Learning in Chemistry in Prague, (December 2012). The conference was a part of the international project “Chemistry is All Around Network“, focused on secondary school teachers and their pupils, implemented under a Lifelong Learning programme Comenius. She represented Czech Republic as an expert in the European Commission FP7 Programme Committee for Marie Curie Actions.

Anna Mittnerova regularly organises the Researcher´s Night event at UCT Prague. She is also experienced in organising different seminars, workshops and conferences and is currently leader of the UCT Prague team participating in the FP7 project TRIGGER, “Transfroming institution by gendering contents and gaining equality in research”, financed under the specific programme Science in Society.

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Katie Petty-Saphon
Chief Executive of the Medical Schools Council
Dr Katie Petty-Saphon

Dr Katie Petty-Saphon is the Chief Executive of the Medical Schools Council. The secretariat she heads also runs the membership organisations for the Dental, Pharmacy and Veterinary Schools Councils as well as the Association of UK University Hospitals.

Katie has worked in industry for many years, founding three successful companies. She was Chief Operating Officer for Sir John Tooke’s Independent Inquiry into Modernising Medical Careers, a contribution which was marked in the 2011 New Year’s Honours.

Katie is a Trustee of the UK Clinical Aptitude Test Consortium and of the Schwab Westheimer Trust and a former Trustee of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund. She is immediate past President of The Newnham College Associates, a former Governor of the University of Hertfordshire and former Deputy Chair of Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust. Katie marked the millennium by planting 10,000 trees which have now grown into a dense wood in Wendens Ambo, Essex.


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Prof Farida Fortune
Head of Clinical and Diagnostic Oral Sciences, Barts
Professor Farida Fortune

Professor Fortune is Professor of Medicine in relation to Oral Health in the Centre for Clinical and Diagnostic Oral Sciences (CDOS) in Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. She graduated in both Dentistry and Medicine from University College, University of London. In 1992 she obtained her PhD in University of London. She is on the specialist register for Oral Medicine in Dentistry (GDC), and Immunology in Medicine (GMC). She was appointed Senior Lecturer in Immunology and Honorary Consultant in Oral Medicine at UMDS (Guys and St Thomas Hospital). In 1998 she was conferred the title of Professor of Oral Medicine at Leeds University.

In 2002 Professor Fortune was recruited to the position of Professor of Medicine in Relation to Oral Health at Queen Mary. She had previously held the positions of Head of Oral Medicine at Leeds University and Senior Lecturer in Immunology and Honorary Consultant in Oral Medicine at the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals.

She has extensive experience in teaching within both the undergraduate and postgraduate sector. Her expertise is in curriculum development, assessment methodology and quality assurance. She works in these areas both in the UK and abroad. She chaired Royal College of Surgeons examination committee for a number of years. She has being seminal in the reintroduction of the LDS RCSeng., which was the first licensed examination in Dentistry. She is one of the founding members of Interprofessional Education Network of Royal Society of Medicine 2013. Member of (UKHEAC) UK Healthcare Education Advisory Committee.

Nationally and internationally her strategic focus has been on widening access and increasing uptake into higher education. In London she works with several schools to develop aspiration in schoolchildren from the earliest years. She chairs London Healthcare Education Widening Access Committee. The focus abroad has been to build capacity and increase uptake using nontraditional models. An example is in-community and community outreach programs for teaching and training. The evidence shows that these approaches are a productive, dynamic and efficient use of resource to deliver high quality teaching and training. She has played a major role internationally in health and education initiatives and remains committed to global collaboration to enhance health and education. Her current focus is to embed health and education within the contextual focus of national and societal cultures, and economics. Ongoing programs in Africa are with Global Knowledge Education Network, SCiEH, and Goonhilly Space station to deliver affordable access to health and education, through UN 2015 Sustainable Goals.

Her clinical expertise in Oral Medicine, Clinical Immunology and Oral manifestations of Systemic Disease is well recognised. Professor Fortune's standing within Oral Medicine is reflected by her election to the Council of the British Society of Oral Medicine in 2004 and to the role of President in 2007 and as President of Odontology section of Royal Society of Medicine in 2011. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 2007.

In 2012 Professor Fortune played a leading role in the organisation, implementation and the delivery of three separate dental facilities for oral healthcare at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The organising medical team was awarded the prestigious Nursing Times award 2013. The Team of the Year Award celebrates new projects that demonstrate the value of teamwork in the UK health care sector.

Professor Fortune's main research focus is epithelial biology, including mucosal disease and oral cancer, on which she has published extensively. She has a particular interest and expertise in Behçet's disease and is a member of the medical advisory panel to the Behçet's Syndrome Society. Recently, together with Behçet's Society they secured funding to set up three dedicated Centres in England for the management of this condition. She is the Scientific Advisor to the International Society for Behçet's disease 2012-14. Further to this, she is a member of the Research Grants Committee (Hong Kong) - Biology and Medicine panel 2012-17

In 2004, she was awarded a CBE for services to dentistry. In 2012, she was awarded prestigious Colyer Gold Medal for significant contribution to the profession through their research, teaching and clinical work.


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Director of Studies in Physics, Lund University, Sweden
Professor Tomas Brage

Professor Brage obtained his PhD in Atomic Physics in 1988 and has since then had positions as a Research Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University between 1989 and 1993, and Research Associate at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, working on the Goddard High Resolution Spectroscopy mission on the Hubble Space Telescope, from 1994 to 1996. 

For the last twenty years he has been a Professor of Physics at the Division of Mathematical Physics, the Department of Physics, Lund University in Sweden, and for almost as long also the Director of Education in Physics at the Faculty of Science. His main research interests are Laboratory Astrophysics and Computational Atomic Physics, and he has published over 100 articles in refereed journals5. He is a visiting Professor at the Fudan University in Shanghai in China, where he spends a few months each year at the Institute of Modern Physics.

For the last 15 years he has been strongly involved in work on Gender and Science, where he is regularly giving talks on “Gender and Physics” around Europe. He is active in several European networks, e.g. as a steering group member of the focus group for Gender of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) network. He is a member of the Expert Group of the GENERA and the SAGE Horizon 2020 projects, as well as the advisory board for the EPSRC Inclusion Matters project at the Queen’s University of Belfast. He is also serving at the Expert Advisory Group for Gender and Equality at the National University of Ireland in Galway and the Southern University of Denmark. He has led several projects at Lund, e.g. the Gender Certification project2, the Antidiscrimination education3,4  and, most recently, the Core-Value project1. He has received the Gunilla Jarlbro award for important contributions to the work for equal opportunities in the academia.

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Lecturer in Quality and Patient Safety, NUI Galway
Dr Sinéad Lydon

Sinéad Lydon is a psychologist working in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway.  Sinead is a Lecturer in Quality and Patient Safety, teaching on the School’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.  

Sinead has a passionate interest in research relating to patient safety and medical education, developed through her work with the West Northwest Intern Training Network and the Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation.  She is involved with a number of ongoing projects which share the common aim of identifying factors that contribute to deficient patient safety and medical errors, improving the delivery and efficacy of medical education, and developing strategies and interventions to improve the quality of patient care delivered in healthcare settings.

Sinead also acts as an adjunct teaching fellow at the School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, serving on the School’s postgraduate programmes in applied behaviour analysis.

Sinead holds a PhD in Psychology (funded by the Irish Research Council), an MSc in Applied Behavioural Analysis, a BA in Psychology, a Diploma in Irish, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.  She has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles.  She is also a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities and serves as a reviewer for a number of other journals pertaining to healthcare, applied behavioural analysis, and developmental disabilities.

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Conference Committee 

Professor Karen McCloskey (Committee Chair, Director, Gender Equality Office, SWAN Champion), Dr Michelle McKinley (Committee Deputy Chair, SWAN Champion), Mrs Louise McDonald (Conference manager), Dr Jaine Blayney, Dr Derek Brazil, Dr Amanda Willis, Dr Lana McClements , Ms Niamh McKerr, Mrs Edel O’Hara.

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