Dr. Niamh O'Brien featured by Women in Medicine in Ireland
The Women in Medicine in Ireland Network is an organisation that promotes, supports and encourages female doctors and medical students in Ireland.
Our founder, Dr. Niamh O'Brien was identified as one of the standout women in medicine on these shores when featured in December 2020, one of the most difficult years for our industry, ever.
Dr Niamh O'Brien is a GP in Galway, and works with HSE-West Addiction Services.
Niamh graduated from NUIG in 2002. In 2004 she hosted “Retail Therapy”, a Galway Hospitals Staff Fashion Show event raising €30,000 for Cancer Care West.
Niamh completed the Western Training Programme in General Practice between 2004 and 2009.
She married Cuan MacConnell in 2004 and they welcomed baby Orla in 2005 and Lucy in 2007. Lucy has a severe form of Osteogenesis Imperfecta so life became busier after her arrival, and the family adjusted to being at the other side of medicine. Niamh contemplated scaling back her duties or taking a career break, but timely encouragement from Lucy’s paediatrician Dr Orla Flanagan and her husband Dr Eamonn O’Shea GP, gave her the confidence to continue her training.
Lucy became gravely ill in December 2008 and was transferred to Temple Street ICU on Christmas Eve, but the remarkable staff saved Lucy’s life and she returned home in January 2009. She is now in 1st year at Salerno Secondary School and has been an ambassador for Barretstown, the Brittle Bone Society, Enable Ireland, Bumbleance and a “roll model” for Izzy Wheels, appearing on The Late Late Show and BBC Amazing Humans.
Niamh held a research position in cardiovascular multi-morbidity at General Practice at NUI Galway, and worked at Jigsaw Galway Youth Mental Health Service from 2009-15.
In 2013 she co-founded Galway Family Doctors in Mervue, Galway. Her special interest is Addiction Medicine and has worked with the HSE-West Drug service since 2013. She is a trainer with the Start group of doctors and provides a full spectrum of women’s reproductive services in her practice.
Niamh and Cuan’s youngest daughter Annie was born in 2014 and she was diagnosed with autism at aged 2 years. Their eldest daughter Orla, 15, she won the Woman’s Way Young Carer of the Year in 2018 to acknowledge her exemplary support of her two sisters.
Like many GPs, Niamh believes that her advocacy role for all her patients represents her most important work.