The south Sligo epidemiologist who has been executive director of the World Health Organisation’s Health Emergencies Programme throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been awarded a special honour by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.
Tubbercurry native, Dr Mike Ryan, met the President on a courtesy visit to Aras an Uachtaran on Wednesday last.
Dr Ryan, who is from the townland of Curry, grew up in Charlestown just over the Mayo border and studied medicine in NUI, Galway followed by extensive further study and training in the area of epidemiology.
He has held leadership positions in the battle to eradicate the spread of many different diseases across the world throughout his career and has been responsible for the international containment and treatment of COVID-19 in the last two years.
President Higgins has now presented him with the Presidential Distinguished Service Award – an honour bestowed annually in recognition of the contribution made by the Irish diaspora.
The President remarked: “Dr Ryan has rendered an enormous service to global public health over many decades and in doing so has raised the reputation and standing of Ireland. His global leadership on this issue has made all Irish people proud, in the best possible form of contribution to global health without borders.”
During their meeting Dr Ryan and President Higgins discussed the WHO’s ongoing work to combat the Covid-19 virus as well as the need for vaccine equity.