The National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health (NIPC) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, established in 2014. It has a strategic partnership with the National University of Ireland, Galway and Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac & Stroke Foundation. It is based at the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Moyola Lane, Newcastle, Galway, Ireland.
To provide leadership through discovery, training and applied programmes to prevent and control cardiovascular disease for all, raise the standards of preventive cardiology practice, enhance cardiovascular health and promote healthier lifestyles, and prepare leaders to advance preventive healthcare nationally and internationally.
The NIPC is an affiliate of the National University of Ireland, Galway and has developed a strategic partnership with the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. It is a registered not-for-profit organisation engaging with government, health sector organisations, the research community, and the public.
The NIPC operates from a community-based dedicated Heart & Stroke Centre, which is staffed by an experienced multidisciplinary health team of specialist nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists and physical activity specialists who deliver a wide-range of health programmes.
Uniquely the NIPC is an attractive partner for research aligned to producing and disseminating new knowledge that contributes to the health of individuals and communities.
Governance and Organisational Structure
Leadership of the Institute is provided by an Executive Council, chaired by the Research and Medical Director Prof. J. William McEvoy.
Executive Council Members
Prof. J. William McEvoy
NIPC Medical and Research Director
Chair of Executive Council
Prof. J. William (“Bill”) McEvoy is the Medical and Research Director of NIPC. He is also Professor of Preventive Cardiology at the National University of Ireland, Galway campus, and a Consultant Cardiologist at University College Hospital Galway, Ireland. Prof. McEvoy graduated in 2004 with first class honors from UCC School of Medicine, Cork, Ireland. He undertook senior house officer and cardiology registrar training at the Mater University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. In 2008, he joined the Osler Medical House staff at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. After internal medicine residency, he completed cardiology fellowship at Hopkins including advanced training in cardiac prevention, cardiac imaging, and cardiovascular epidemiology.
Prior to returning to Ireland in 2018, Prof. McEvoy was an Assistant Professor on the cardiology faculty at Johns Hopkins for 3 years, with clinical roles in the cardiac intensive care unit and in the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. He maintains an adjunct appointment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prof. McEvoy’s research focuses on testing novel biomarkers of risk and comparative effectiveness research; with an emphasis on hypertension and atherosclerosis. His research has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications, grants and awards. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of physicians of Ireland and has a clinical interest in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, in both critical care and outpatient settings.
Prof. David Wood
Director of Science, Strategy and International Relations
Professor Wood is a cardiologist committed to prevention of cardiovascular disease and holds joint emeritus academic appointments at Imperial College and the National University of Ireland-Galway.
He has contributed to international policy and guidelines on cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention through the World Health Organisation, World Heart Federation and the European Society of Cardiology. He was a founder and President of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, a Board member of the European Society of Cardiology and most recently President of the World Heart Federation (2017-18).
He is the principal investigator for the ASPIRE and EUROASPIRE studies across 27 European countries, evaluating standards of preventive cardiology practice in hospital and primary care. He led the EUROACTION and EUROACTION+ trials in preventive cardiology evaluating nurse-led models of preventive care in hospital and general practice across 8 European countries, and the principals of EUROACTION were incorporated in the Imperial College NHS Cardiovascular Health programme for the NHS. He was Course Director for the Imperial College Masters degree programme in Preventive Cardiology (2008-18) providing education and training for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.
He is now working for the National Institute of Prevention and Cardiovascular Health at the National University of Ireland-Galway to support the development of research in all aspects of cardiovascular prevention and health, to help expand the MSc course in Preventive Cardiology at NUI-G into a portfolio of MSc courses in cardiovascular health and disease prevention, and to contribute to innovative service development in secondary and primary prevention of CVD.
He is Senior Editor of the European Society of Cardiology Textbook of Preventive Cardiology and also founded the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (now European Journal of Preventive Cardiology) and served as the first Joint Editor in Chief.
He is married to Dr Catriona Jennings, a cardiovascular specialist nurse, and they have four adult children. He enjoys cooking for family and friends and also sailing, having recently circumnavigated the UK in a Frances 26 sailing boat.
Prof. Gerard Flaherty
Director of Academic Affairs and Fellowship
Gerard Flaherty graduated from NUI Galway in 2000 with a first class honours degree and gold medals in all 8 final year subjects. He gained Membership of the RCPI in 2002 and Fellowship in 2011. He has completed 9 Diplomas and 3 Masters degrees, including a Masters in Medical Education (Dundee) and Masters in International and Travel Health (Sheffield). He obtained his intercalated BSc and doctoral degree from NUI Galway and is being assessed for a second doctorate.
As Director of the Undergraduate Medical Programme at NUI Galway he is responsible for design, delivery and assessment of the medical curriculum, as well as recruitment of international students. He received a President’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008 and was awarded Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Educators in 2010. He has over 200 publications and research presentations to date, including a textbook, 6 textbook chapters and 15 papers in the field of preventive cardiology. He has served on the AMEE Executive Committee since 2017. He is Founder and Programme Director for the Masters in Preventive Cardiology programme at NUI Galway. He is a Fellow, examiner, and former education convenor for the Faculty of Travel Medicine at RCPS Glasgow and is Past President of the Travel Medicine Society of Ireland. He served on the Executive Board of the International Society of Travel Medicine, 2014-2019, and was awarded Fellowship in 2017. He is currently Section Editor (non-communicable diseases) for Journal of Travel Medicine and a member of the editorial board of Medical Teacher. He is Adjunct Professor in Travel Medicine and International Health at the International Medical University in Malaysia.
Dr. Jennifer Jones
Director of Training and Education
Dr Jenni Jones is the Director of Training and Education for the NIPC. She is a Senior Lecturer at the National University of Ireland Galway where she directs a portfolio of postgraduate programmes in the specialty of “Preventive Medicine and Cardiovascular Health”. She is also a Reader in Physiotherapy at Brunel University, London. She has more than 20 years clinical experience in cardiovascular disease prevention and rehabilitation and continues to maintain a clinical caseload in conjunction with teaching and research. She also holds an honorary post at Imperial College London where she previously worked developing and delivering a range of postgraduate programmes in cardiovascular disease prevention. She has served as President to both the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (BACPR) and the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Cardiac Rehabilitation (ACPICR) and is now one of the Emerging Leaders of the World Heart Federation (2017 cohort) and current Chair of the Congress Programme Committee for the European Society of Cardiology Association of Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (ACNAP). Her research interests include non-communicable disease prevention and control with a special interest in cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation, lifestyle medicine, health-behaviour change and health promotion approaches to cardiovascular health and diabetes prevention.
Director of Programmes and Innovation
Irene Gibson is a nursing graduate from the University of Limerick. Irene is a strong advocate for the nurse’s role in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and much of her career to date has focused on the design, development and evaluation of innovative community based models of CVD prevention. Irene has previously worked as Director of Programmes at Croí the West of Ireland Cardiac & Stroke Foundation, where she provided strategic and operational oversight for a diverse portfolio of CVD health initiatives ranging from public awareness campaigns to prevention, rehabilitation and patient support programmes. Examples include the award winning Croí MyAction programme, CLANN an obesity management programme and Croí MySláinte a virtual CVD prevention and Rehabilitation programme. In 2020 she led the accreditation process resulting in the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre becoming the first centre in Ireland to receive European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC) Accreditation.
Irene has presented at many health care professional conferences both nationally and internationally, she was a contributor to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Handbook of Preventive Cardiology and has published research in the areas of hypertension, obesity and CVD prevention. Irene holds an MA in Health Promotion, Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Education and is an Adjunct Lecturer at the College of Medicine, NUI Galway. She is the past Programme Leader for the MSc in Preventive Cardiology at the National University of Ireland, Galway and is Director of Programmes and Innovation at the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health (NIPC). She is the chairperson of the ESC Association of Cardiovascular Nurses and Allied Health Care Professionals (ACNAP) Advocacy Committee, whilst also being a member of the both the ESC Advocacy Committee and the EAPC Primary Care and Risk Factor Management nucleus. Irene is currently a HRB SPHeRE PhD scholar on the Collaborative Doctoral Programme in Chronic Disease Prevention at NUI Galway. Over the next four years she aims to conduct patient-focused research in the area of e-health CVD prevention programmes.
Dr. Catriona Jennings
Director of Nursing and Interdisciplinary Relations
Catriona Jennings is currently at the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health at the National University of Ireland – Galway where she is the Director of Nursing and Interdisciplinary Relations. She is currently coordinating the INTERASPIRE international surveys of Preventive Care in Malaysia, Argentina, Indonesia and Colombia. Prior to this she served as the European Research Nurse coordinator in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the International Centre for Circulatory Health, Imperial College London between 2002 and May 2019. She has coordinated both randomised controlled trials (RCT) and surveys. The EUROACTION cluster RCT was conducted in eight countries and 24 centres in Europe between 2002 and 2006. Catriona led the multidisciplinary London team who were responsible for training project staff and developing the health professional and educational materials. She coordinated the third, fourth and fifth EUROASPIRE surveys in over 20 countries in Europe, and the British Cardiovascular Society UK based surveys of preventive management in coronary patients and high-risk individuals called Aspire-2-Prevent and Aspire-3-Prevent. At the end of 2011 she completed coordination of a second EUROACTION study called EUROACTION plus intensive smoking cessation with varenicline which was implemented in 4 countries including the UK. She read French for her first degree and subsequently trained as a nurse at Charing Cross Hospital in London. She then specialised in cardiac nursing and finally cardiac rehabilitation, leading a programme at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire. Catriona was a Senior Teaching Fellow at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London where she had a leadership role in Masters Programmes in Cardiovascular and Respiratory Healthcare and in Preventive Cardiology between 2012 and 2019. She has completed a PhD on concordance for cardiovascular risk factors and concordance for change in families. Catriona has taken leadership roles in professional societies serving as President of the British Association for Nursing in Cardiovascular Care which is an affiliated group of the British Cardiovascular Society and Chair of the European Society of Cardiology Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions. Catriona is the Past Chair of ACNAP and Editor in Chief of the ESC Textbook of Nursing.
Neil Johnson is Chief Executive of Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation which is a registered charity. Appointed in 1993 as its first CEO, Neil has led and managed the development of the charity whose funding of pioneering initiatives has positively impacted at every level of cardiac care, from pre-hospital to post-hospital recovery and rehabilitation, education and training.
Croí has more recently expanded its work into the areas of stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Among its milestones, the opening of the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre in 2012 in Galway – a first in Ireland in the areas of prevention; research; education; patient & family support and rehabilitation. The Centre has established links with universities and institutions in Ireland and abroad and provides a range of evidence-based programmes and interventions delivered by a specialist health team. The centre, its staff and its activities are all funded by philanthropic donations and fundraising.
Neil holds a Masters degree in Psychology from the National University of Ireland Galway and was recently elected as Chair of the first Saolta University Healthcare Group Patient Council. He is a founding member and trustee of iHHub (the global network of heart failure patient organisations) and is an Honorary Clinical Fellow of the School of Medicine, NUIG.
The Executive Council is supported by an Advisory Board which consists of national clinical leads, national experts and representatives from specialities and organisations relevant to preventive cardiology; including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and public health. The role of the NIPC Advisory Board is to participate in a forum that informs, advises and supports the work of the Institute in a shared commitment to advancing preventive healthcare in Ireland and globally.
Chair, NIPC Advisory Council
Clinical Lead for the Integrated Care Programme for Chronic Disease
Consultant Cardiologist, Western Health and Social Care Trust, NI
Professor of Diabetic Medicine, NUIG
Chair, Council of CVD Prevention, Irish Heart
Consultant Endocrinologist, Specialist in Gestational Diabetes
Epidemiologist, Specialist in Public Health
Consultant Endocrinologist, GUH and Specialist Lead for Endocrinology, Saolta Group
Consultant Cardiologist, Medical Director, Croi; President Irish Cardiac Society
Senior Lecturer and Director of the Health Behaviour Research Group, School of Psychology, NUIG
National Clinical Lead for Heart Failure
Senior Lecturer / Consultant (Centre for Medical Gerontology)
Reader in Physiotherapy, Brunel; Past Executive Director, NIPC
Executive Administrator Irish Cardiac Society
President IACR, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cardiac Rehabilitation
Our Goals and Objectives
Produce a new generation of scholars and leaders in cardiovascular health and disease prevention
- Lead new scientific research on the causes, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
- Build a new cadre of multi-disciplinary leaders in cardiovascular health and disease prevention.
- Provide a portfolio of education and training programmes (MSc, Diploma, Certificate) in the prevention and control of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and active lifestyles.
- Attract a strong and diverse student body of healthcare providers, educators and researchers.
- Recruit and retain an outstanding multidisciplinary international faculty.
- Prepare students who, upon graduation, are competitive in the public health and health professions employment markets and become ambassadors for cardiovascular health and disease prevention worldwide.
Address priority health needs by driving cardiovascular research that aims to study, monitor, and develop measures to promote the cardiovascular well-being and health of the population in Ireland and internationally
- Compete successfully for peer reviewed research funding.
- Promote and participate in collaborative research with NUI Galway, with other Academic institutions, and with Industry through independent investigator initiated research.
- Produce and disseminate new knowledge that contributes to the health of communities and individuals.
- Monitor and analyse long-term cardiovascular public health trends in Ireland through epidemiological and medical analyses.
Develop and test innovative models of preventive care and service delivery
- Develop applied programmes that are effective, equitable and efficient and improve the quality of preventive health and healthcare.
- Discover, create and evaluate new methods for risk assessment, disease prevention, diagnosis, therapy and long-term population health.
- Communicate findings to government, policy makers, health practitioners, researchers and educators.
- Support the implementation of evidence-based tried and tested models into routine clinical practice.
Inform and advise political decision makers, the scientific sector and the general public
- Promote the practice and philosophy of high quality preventive cardiology practice.
- Support the implementation of national and international guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention.
- Provide a scientific basis for cardiovascular health-related political decision making
- Produce NIPC communications, in all appropriate forms to communicate the work of the Institute.
- Deliver an Annual National Prevention Conference.
- Collaborate with other professional associations to promote the practice of preventive cardiology.