Jim Breslin

Secretary General, Department of Health

Jim Breslin was appointed Secretary General of the Department of Health on 10 September 2014.

Before being appointed Secretary General of the Department of Health, Jim was the first Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, which was established in July 2011.Jim has led the reorganisation of the Department of Health, including a strengthening of its research, analytics and innovation capabilities, and supported the Government in its health reform agenda.Jim has considerable senior management experience across both Government Departments and the health service. He has worked previously in the Health Service Executive, the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Department of Finance.He holds two masters degrees in public administration; one from the Institute of Public Administration/Trinity College Dublin and another from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Ciarán Breen

Director, State Claims Agency

Ciarán Breen was appointed Director of the State Claims Agency (SCA) in 2007. He joined the NTMA in 2001 when he was appointed Head of Claims at the SCA. Prior to joining the NTMA, he held the position of Managing Director of a leading nationwide firm of insurance liability adjusters. He is a graduate of Maynooth College and the Honorable Society of King’s Inn.

Leo Kearns B.Ed, M.Sc.

CEO Royal College of Physicians

Leo Kearns is the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He joined RCPI as CEO in 2006, and since then has led a major programme of transformation, resulting in RCPI adopting a much more proactive and progressive role in the Irish and international health sector.
Under Leo’s stewardship, RCPI has modernised and reformed its approach to postgraduate medical training and education. It has developed a wide range of educational programmes for doctors, including a series of Masterclasses and Clinical Updates for senior physicians, highlighting recent advances in medical conditions. Leo has also helped RCPI to become a more outward-looking organisation that seeks to build constructive relationships between the public and the medical profession. The RCPI public meeting series was launched in 2007, and has been a hugely successful initiative covering such diverse topics as Sexual Health, Healthcare Associated Infections and Childhood Obesity.
He has played a national leadership role in the development of the National Clinical Programmes, of which there are now over 35. He has also been centrally involved in the development of Clinical Directors within the Irish health sector.

Paula Wilson

President and Chief Executive Officer

Joint Commission Resources and Joint Commission International.Paula Wilson is president and chief executive officer of Joint Commission Resources (JCR) and its international division, Joint Commission International (JCI). JCR and JCI are not-for- profit organizations working to improve health care quality and patient safety in over 90 countries around the world. JCR/JCI is leading health care improvement around the globe through a range of accreditation, consulting, education services as well as online compliance tools.Ms. Wilson has more than 35 years of experience in the health care industry. Prior to joining JCR,Ms. Wilson was on the faculty of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs,and the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, where she taught courses on financial management and corporate compliance. Her health care experience includes senior positions in long term care, health insurance and public policy organizations. Early in her distinguished career, Ms. Wilson served in several senior positions in the administration of New York Governor Mario Cuomo, including the Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health and as Deputy Director of the New York Division of the Budget.Ms. Wilson received her master’s degree in social work from the State University of New York at Albany. She has served on numerous boards including the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and Saint Mary’s Center, Inc., a nursing home for people with AIDS.

John O’Dwyer


John O’Dwyer joined Vhi in 2012 from the international Dutch insurance group Achmea where he was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director with responsibility for the life, general and health businesses in Interamerican, the second biggest insurer in Greece. John has an extensive track record in financial services and in particular the health insurance sector which included roles such as  Managing Director of Friends First Life Assurance, Director of Operations at BUPA Ireland and Assistant Chief Executive with responsibility for Claims in Vhi. He was also non-executive Chairman of the Board of the National Treatment Purchase Fund

Jim Dowdall

Managing Director of Irish Life Health

Jim was appointed Managing Director of Irish Life Health when Irish Life entered the market through its acquisition of Aviva Health and GloHealth. Jim’s involvement in the health insurance sector started with the launch of VIVAS Health in 2004. In 2008 he was appointed Managing Director of Aviva Health and in 2012 he became CEO of GloHealth of which he was a co-founder.

Prof Arne Björnberg, Ph.D.

Chairman, Health Consumer Powerhouse

Prof Arne Björnberg, Ph.D., Chairman, Health Consumer Powerhouse. Prof. Björnberg has previous experience from Research Director and management consulting positions in Swedish industry. He has also served as CEO of the Swedish National Pharmacy Corporation (”Apoteket AB”), Director of Healthcare & Network Solutions for IBM Europe Middle East & Africa, and CEO of the University Hospital of Northern Sweden (“Norrlands Universitetssjukhus”, Umeå).Since 2005, Prof. Björnberg has been the leader of the production of the HCP international indices, such as the EHCI 2005 – 2015 projects and numerous other, disease-related indices and projects

Bill Maher

Group CEO for Bon Secours Health System

Bill Maher was previously CEO for the RCSI Hospitals Group incorporating Beaumont Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, Louth County Hospital, Cavan and Monaghan Hospital, Rotunda Hospital with RCSI as academic partner and CEO of the Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group, now Saolta. The Hospital Group was established to deliver improved performance and effectiveness in the safe delivery of acute hospital services as the first step in the formation of a Hospital Trust as part of the Government’s reform of the health service.

Bill who is originally from Tullow, Co Carlow, was previously Acting CEO of St Vincent’s University Hospital. Before joining St Vincent’s University Hospital in 2006, Bill worked for 16 years with the NHS in a career spanning mental health services, senior management at City Hospitals Sunderland (an Acute Trust providing a wide range of hospital services such as A&E, surgical and medical specialties, therapy services, maternity and paediatric care. Bill helped establish Sunderland as the first NHS Trust before moving on to North of Tyne Commissioning Consortium which had a staff of 8,000 people and a budget of £1.2bn.

Bill has an MBA, an MSC in Health Information and is currently studying towards a BA (Hons) in Law. Bill is passionate about Patient Care and Performance Management and looks to build strong relationships with all stakeholders to deliver sustainable service improvement.

Simon Harris

TD for Wicklow & East Carlow and Minister for Health.

He is a native of County Wicklow and has been involved in the community all his life.

Simon was re-elected as TD for Wicklow & East Carlow in the February 2016 General Election.

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 2011 and was the youngest member of the 31st Dáil.

Simon first became involved in politics through his work as a disability advocate and is committed to providing a strong voice on issues relating to special needs and mental health. Before entering politics, Simon established the Wicklow Triple A Alliance, a charity to support children and families affected by Autism.

In the Dáil, Simon has served as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform, Secretary of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and Co-Convenor of the Oireachtas Cross Party Group on Mental Health. Simon also sat on the Fine Gael Internal Party Committees on Health & Children and Education, Skills & Social Protection.

Prior to his election to Dáil Éireann, Simon was a member of both Wicklow County Council and Greystones Town Council, having been elected in the 2009 Local Elections with the highest percentage vote of any candidate in the country. He has also served his community as Chairperson of the County Wicklow Policing Committee, Chairperson of the Dublin-Mid Leinster Regional Health Forum, Board Member of Wicklow Tourism and Member of Wicklow Vocational Educational Committee.

In July 2014, Simon was appointed Minister of State in the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform and the Department of the Taoiseach with Special Responsibility for OPW, Public Procurement & International Banking (including IFSC). This role involved: developing a new strategy to grow the international financial services in Ireland, working to improve access for SMEs to public procurement and prioritising a new national flood plan to assist communities throughout Ireland.

Simon works hard in addressing local matters and progressing national issues through his work as TD & Minister.

Prof. Frances Ruane

Associate Professor of Economics, Trinity College Dublin.

Prof. Ruane serves as Vice President of Irish Economics Association. She serves as Research Associate of the Institute of International Integration Studies and a Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics at Trinity College, where she is supervising 4 postgraduate students. She serves as Chairperson of the Policy Institute at Trinity College, Dublin. Prof. Ruane was Director of the Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI) from 2007 to 2016. She served as Director of Bord Gais Eireann from May 2002 to November 30, 2006. She served as Director of Depfa ACS Bank Plc until November 30, 2006. She served as Non-Executive Director of DepFa Bank Plc until November 30, 2006. She served on a number of state boards including National Board for Science and Technology, Industrial Development Authority and Forfas. A previous Chair of the National Statistics Board, Prof. Ruane represents Ireland on the European Advisory Committee on Statistical Information in the Economic and Social Spheres (CEIES). She has published extensively, especially in the fields of international economic and industrial development. Her current research interests centre on structural change induced by changing trade regimes and on exploring enterprise heterogeneity. Prof. Ruane is member of the Royal Irish Academy, the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland and the editorial boards of the Journal of International and Economic Policy and the International Review of Economics and Finance. Following her undergraduate studies in Economics, Politics and Statistics at University College Dublin, Prof. Ruane studied at Nuffield College and was awarded the degrees of B.Phil. and D.Phil. from the University of Oxford.