About us Who we are Our board Our board Arthritis Ireland is governed by a board of directors who give their time freely and generously to further the cause. None of our directors are paid for their work but are volunteers in their own right. Our board meets on a regular basis and has a number of sub-committees that progress the work outside of the board, fully engaging in a supportive role with the staff of Arthritis Ireland. Our board is made up of three constituent parts, each constituent contributing skills and expertise in their own way. The three constituent parts, clearly defined in our articles of association, are: Elected directors This type of director is nominated by the volunteer branch network and elected by our members at our AGM. Elected directors are generally people living with arthritis and bring a personal experience of the disease area to the board, but in all cases bring other skills to further the cause. Society directors This group is made up of three representatives from the Irish Society for Rheumatology and one from the Irish Rheumatology Health Professionals Society, providing a very important link to our medical stakeholders and patients alike. Ordinary directors Directors making up this grouping are co-opted from time to time based on the needs of the organisation, whether they be fundraising, marketing, governance, specialist interest areas or other needs. Board of directors Tim O'Sullivan (Chairman) Eric Boyle Stephen Crowe Prof. Ursula Fearon Dr Orla Killeen (ISR)* Andrew Kinsella Keith Nix John O'Flynn Dr Miriam O'Sullivan (ISR)* Mairéad Shannon *ISR - Irish Society of Rheumatology President The President of Arthritis Ireland is John O'Flynn. Tim O'Sullivan Tim O’Sullivan is chairman of Arthritis Ireland and is also chair of the Cork branch of Arthritis Ireland. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 10 years ago. Prior to his retirement, he worked in construction management. Tim went on to train as a self-management leader and now delivers the course to people throughout the south. In addition to Arthritis Ireland, he has been a member of many voluntary and community organisations over the years. With a keen interest in Irish culture and history, he is secretary of the Clonmult Ambush Commemoration Committee. Married to Ann, they have three adult children and six grandchildren. He lives in Dungourney, East Cork. Stephen Crowe Stephen Crowe is chair of the Arthritis Ireland Governance and Finance Committee and vice-chair of the board. Stephen has spent almost 20 years working in the diagnostic industry, pharmaceuticals and, more recently, leads out a number of functions in a large US healthcare organisation. His academic background is in science, as well as marketing and business management. Stephen brings to Arthritis Ireland insight from the healthcare sector, as well as his experience in leadership roles in major multinational organisations. John O'Flynn John O’Flynn has a long history of involvement with Arthritis Ireland. A trustee for 10 years from 2007, he was chair from 2013-2017 and reappointed to the board in 2020. He is also president of Arthritis Ireland; in which capacity he has served since 2017. He graduated in commerce from University College Cork in 1964 and was subsequently granted fellowships of Chartered Accountants Ireland and Chartered Management Institute (UK). He is now retired from active commercial life, but in his career, he worked in auditing, management consultancy and commercial life. He worked for the past 15 years for Commercial Data Analysts, a business he established to undertake forensic accounting assignments. John was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1999. Shortly afterwards, he became a member of Arthritis Ireland. In 2006, together with other members he set up the Cork branch. Since then, he has been an active member, involved in creating arthritis awareness, through organising lectures, self-help programmes and being a participant in the Real Patients as Teachers Programme in the School of Medicine, UCC. Eric Boyle Eric became involved with the Arthritis Ireland Louth branch shortly after he was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2014. He supports the delivery of the Living Well with Arthritis course and facilitates seated exercise classes and is qualified to teach aqua aerobic classes, both of which he does locally. He completed the PAL and Train the Trainer course. He initiated both the Micro Triathlon that has been held in number of venues, including Trinity College Dublin, and the Scenic Seven 7k walk in Carlingford. In 2019, he was elected to the board of Arthritis Ireland and he is also a member of the services sub-committee. Currently he manages his own business. A Drogheda native he has had brief periods of living in the USA. He studied industrial engineering at DKIT and management in the National College of Ireland. He has worked in managerial positions most of his life, more recently with the Drogheda M1 Toll Plaza from 2003 until 2012. He volunteers with the Skerries Theatre Group, where he is currently treasurer and with Clann Mór, Navan, an organisation that provides respite and residential service for adults with intellectual disabilities. Prof Ursula Fearon Professor Ursula Fearon was appointed Professor of Molecular Rheumatology, School of Medicine, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin in 2016. Professor Fearon’s research is a bench-to-bedside translational approach, focusing on understanding the underlying mechanisms that drive disease pathogenesis; her team specifically examine components of joint inflammation at a cellular and molecular level to dissect the signalling and gene pathways that are disturbed in patients who have inflammatory arthritis and rheumatic diseases. She has an international reputation, has published extensively in high impact peer-reviewed journals, and her research has been awarded several national/international awards. Dr Orla Killeen Dr Orla Killeen graduated from University College Galway (NUIG) in 1996. She was appointed as Ireland’s first paediatric rheumatologist in 2004, and has been based at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, and St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, since 2006. She established the National Centre for Paediatric Rheumatology (NCPR) in 2006, providing care for patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders both on a local and national level. Her areas of interest include care of the young person/adolescent rheumatology, focusing in particular on transition as well as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), Down’s arthritis, juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) and auto-inflammatory syndromes. Andrew Kinsella Andrew Kinsella is the secretary of the board and an active member of Arthritis Ireland. His current focus is working with non-profit organisations in board management, governance, delivering training programmes in process optimisation, change management, business analysis and project management and general volunteering. He is also an active member of Ashbourne Lions as the lead for Youth Exchange Programme in Ireland. During the Special Olympics World Games 2003, he acted as lead volunteer for the successful delivery of all technical services to all 53 sites, commanding a team of 300 technology volunteers. He has a keen interest in gardening, jewellery/silversmithing and is a member of the Dublin hillwalking club. Keith Nix Keith Nix has been a member of the Arthritis Ireland Kildare branch since 2016 and is currently the branch chair. He has been a trustee of Arthritis Ireland since 2018. After a career in social services, Keith is now retired and feels that his background helps him in engaging with people who are living with arthritis. As someone living with osteoarthritis, he is a passionate advocate for the organisation and the work that it undertakes. Dr Miriam O'Sullivan Dr. Miriam O'Sullivan is a consultant rheumatologist in Sligo. She graduated from University College Cork in 2002 and completed her postgraduate rheumatology training in Ireland. Following this, she completed her PhD on heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis in UCC in 2014. In 2016, she was awarded a scholarship to complete a fellowship in University of Manchester on SLE. She is an honorary senior lecturer at NUIG and is involved in education of medical students at the Sligo Medical Academy. She is the chairperson of the Sligo Research Ethics Committee (2017-present). She currently collaborates on medical research at NUIG and the University of Manchester. She is the Irish lead for ATACC-RA, an international consortium of researchers investigating heart disease in rheumatic conditions. Her areas of special interest in clinical medicine are SLE, inﬂammatory arthritis and sports injury. Mairéad Shannon Following a hip replacement I discovered there was an organisation to support people with arthritis and I joined my local DLR branch. Having volunteered on Parent Associations and served on The Board of Management on my now adult childrens' schools, I soon became an active member. Now as Chairperson of the Branch I believe we need to create more awareness of the disease, and, the fact that there is information and support available, as this is key for people to obtain that support. Organising a Pain Management talk which was open to the general public and other events helped us engage with the local community. As chairperson of our Branch I continue to engage with the community through the PPN on a monthly basis and have more than doubled our membership. Having seen people suffer with arthritis my whole life I am passionate about offering support and our organisation can do that in so many ways. Ciara Curtin Ciara’s involvement with Arthritis Ireland began in 2018 when she attended our self-management courses, following a diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis. She then joined the Cork Branch Committee to support activities at local level and has been an active member of the Cork team since. In 2019 she became a volunteer self-management course leader, delivering courses online and in community settings. Since 2020 she has also assisted with the admin/moderation of our national ‘Arthritis Ireland Support Group’ online. As a Board member she hopes to positively influence policy making for the organisation, promoting continuous improvement of the activities and services we offer. She has a particular interest is ensuring the organisation caters for all age groups and life stages, as well as looking at ways the organisation can increase the effectiveness and engagement of the branch network of volunteers.