Working Life: Dr Christine McCreary, head of Cork Dental School and Hospital, UCC

Working Life: Dr Christine McCreary, head of Cork Dental School and Hospital, UCC
Dr Christine McCreary, dean, Cork University Dental School & Hospital. Picture: Tomas Tyner, UCC


My working life has altered significantly since the advent of Covid-19. I still get up at 6.15am but now I can take our dog for a 5k walk before work instead of sitting into the car for a 45-minute commute.


The Dental Executive committee meets once a week on MS Teams. Our clinical and

academic vice deans Catherine Gallagher and Anthony Roberts have been amazing at

facing all of the Covid challenges head on and presenting worked out solutions.

Imagination, resilience and humour have got all of the team through this period.


Today Siobhan Lynch, manager of the school and hospital, and I are planning an

upcoming meeting with the HSE. We must re-negotiate our existing service level

agreement. We both know it will be an interesting discussion. Because we operate as a

hospital and as an academic unit the evolving Covid situation presents particular

challenges. Currently, we run an emergency dental clinic which was started at the height of

the pandemic. Dental emergencies did not cease because of Covid. We are also

accommodating a number of CUH medical out-patient clinics that moved to our

building soon after the students left in March.


I have a chance to catch up and respond to emails and read up on the most recent

research and evidence in relation to Covid-19.


I participate in a Dental Schools Council meeting via Zoom. The two Irish dental schools are

part of the bigger UK-wide group and it is useful to hear the issues causing problems in other

dental schools. Online learning and the possibilities relating to clinical experience for our

students are the main challenges at present. The financial repercussions of Covid affecting

third level education are particularly concerning as we are required to do more with less.


My last meeting of the day is with Siobhan Lynch and Michelle Cronin, dental school

project manager, on our new building development. In spite of the current difficulties, we

are expecting to bring a new state-of-the-art dental school and hospital to the people of Cork mid 2023. This project has been a source of positivity and hope during the last

while. Financial considerations relate to much of what my job involves. 

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