2018 Healthcare and
Life Sciences 50 Awards
By Niall O’Dowd
There are times when a good news story needs telling and in this case, it is about a wonderful group of Irish American healthcare and life sciences professionals who are changing the world. They were among the 50 Healthcare and Life Sciences honorees that attended Irish America magazine’s award dinner last Friday night at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. We forget sometimes that the Irish who came to America were wonderful caregivers, cops, nurses, and priests, nuns, and teachers, and that the tradition of service is deeply ingrained in the Irish DNA. In a world full of woe and conflict these days, it was wonderful to be among this generation of healers and visionaries. Keynote speaker was Michael Mahoney of Boston Scientific, the second most admired CEO in America, and it is easy to see why. Hollywood handsome with a self-deprecating manner, one wishes in an idle moment that someone like this was running for president, clearly deeply respected by colleagues and employees, obviously brilliant and inspired by the intention on both doing well but also doing good. He thanks his Irish mother for his intent to give back.
Then there was a young man whose parents come from my father’s home place of West Kerry. Dr. Kevin Curran is a pediatric oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He is a pioneer in CAR_T which uses the body’s own immune system to fight the cancerous cells attacking it. Curran has developed new treatments for children’s cancers that have saved and will save countless lives. Several drug companies will soon have new life-saving products on the market because of his work. Also, there were the McGinn brothers from Northwell Health, the huge hospital chain run by redoubtable Irishman Mike Dowling.
Dr. Joseph McGinn is famous for revolutionizing the field of cardiothoracic surgery. His brother Thomas McGinn is deputy physician-in-chief and senior VP at Northwell. Between them, the brothers have helped improve the lives of thousands of patients as their surgical breakthroughs and innovative practices have been extensively practiced all over the medical world. Sister Bernie Kenny got the largest cheer of the night. She has ministered to the poor all her life and in 1982 founded the Health Wagon in Appalachia offering free health care to those in the poorest region of America. Last year alone they helped 14,500 dirt poor families. Dr. Barbara Murphy is chair of the Department of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She received the Wyeth Basic Science Investigator award, the single most prestigious prize given in the field of transplant surgery. She is an Irish native which makes her American success all the more noteworthy. Those are just a few quick pictures of those who were there at the event co-sponsored by Northwell and ICON one of the best clinical research companies in the world based in Dublin.
We Irish really do have a lot to proud of, and it’s not all about who is voting for who but rather who cares deeply and gives back. Irish America’s honorees set a wonderful example. ♦