Research Team

Dr Sheena McHugh is the Principal Investigator (PI) on this project. The research team comprises Fiona Riordan (post-doctoral researcher), Susan Ahern (health economist) and Emmy Racine (PhD researcher).


Project Management Team

We work with our co-investigators Prof. Patricia Kearney and Prof. John Browne from the School of Public Health (UCC), Dr Aileen Murphy, from the Department of Economics (UCC)  and Prof. Susan Smith (Royal College of Surgeons, RCSI).


Trial Steering Committee

Our Trial Steering Committee provides independent overall supervision of the trial. The TSC is chaired by Dr Vera McCarthy, and comprises Dr Sheena McHugh (PI), Prof. Patricia Kearney and Prof. Susan Smith (non-independent members), Prof. Liam Glynn and Dr Elaine Walsh (independent members), and Rosario Walsh (independent lay member). 


The team have partnered with national and international collaborators including:

HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland; the National Screening Service in Ireland; Diabetes in General Practice (DIGP) Initiative; Department of General Practice in UCC; HRB Clinical Research Facility Cork; Diabetes Ireland; National Clinical Programme for Diabetes, and clinicians and academics in Ireland and the UK.

RetinaScreen Logo       



Public and Patient Involvement (PPI)

Our IDEAs PPI panel was established in 2018 and comprises five people with diabetes; three women and two men. Three have type 2 diabetes and two have type 1 diabetes.  The panel advised us on the development of the study materials, and made recommendations on the format, content and wording.  The PPI panel met four times over the project and were led by Emmy Racine the IDEAs study PPI coordinator. Some quotes from panel while reflecting on their experiences over the course of the project are included below.



Our facilitator Emmy’s warm manner ensured that everyone felt that their opinions and thoughts were heard. The meetings passed quickly with each person sharing their thoughts on the materials. We often got stuck into deep discussions about whether certain words or sentences would encourage the recipient to attend eye screening or consent to be interviewed as part of the research - Dawn 


I felt strongly that the public need to be more aware of how dangerous diabetes is. It was nice to know that the work our group did helped people to understand these dangers and prevent diabetes complications. I’m looking forward to being involved in research again in the future - John 


Now that my direct participation in the IDEAS project has concluded what remains most with me is the humbling experience of listening to the challenges faced by my new friends in their daily battle with this potentially crippling condition. Everybody had their own story, everybody had their own strong personality, and everybody added their own individuality to the group. I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to participate - Ciaran



Ms Dara O’Keeffe

Dara is currently studying medicine in UCC. In 2018/19 she undertook a Master of Public Health and completed her dissertation supervised by Dr Sheena McHugh and Dr Fiona Riordan. Dara conducted a secondary of people with type 2 diabetes enrolled in the Midlands Diabetes Structured Care Programme.  Dara examined levels of attendance at Diabetic RetinaScreen and other screening services and predictors of attendance in this cohort. Read more about her project here.


Ms Lauren O’Mahony

Lauren is in her final year of the BSc. Public Health Sciences in UCC. During summer 2020, Lauren worked with the IDEAs team on a placement funded by the HRB Summer Studentship award.  Lauren’s project compared the perspectives of people with diabetes and health care professionals’ in terms of the acceptability and feasibility of the IDEAs intervention during the development stage. Read more about her project

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IDEAs (Improving Diabetes Eye screening Attendance)

School of Public Health, Western Gateway Building, T12 XF62