International Research Advisory Committee

All members of Genio boards and committees give their time on a voluntary basis.

  • Dr Ruth Barrington Chairperson; former Chief Executive of Molecular Medicine Ireland; former Chief Executive of the Health Research Board; former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Health and Children
  • Gail Birkbeck Strategic Learning & Evaluation Executive, the Atlantic Philanthropies, RoI
  • Sarah Craig Head of National Health Information Systems, Health Research Board, Dublin
  • Dr. Bob Illback President, CEO, & Senior Evaluation Researcher, Reach, Louisville, Kentucky, US; & Deputy CEO, Headstrong, Dublin
  • Dr. Fiona Keogh Director of Research and Evidence, Genio
  • Prof. Jerome Bickenbach Disability Policy Unit, University of Lucerne
  • Prof. Philip McCallion Director of the Centre for Excellence in Ageing & Community Wellness, University of Albany, US
  • Dr. David McDaid Research Fellow in Health Policy & Health Economics, LSE, UK
  • Prof. Gerard Quinn Director of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy, NUIG


Chaired by Dr Ruth Barrington
Dr Ruth Barrington was Chief Executive of Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI) from 2007-12. MMI is a charitable company that is mobilising the strengths of its five academic partner institutions and associated hospitals to build a sustainable system of clinical and translational research. Dr Barrington was Chief Executive of the Health Research Board from 1998 to 2007. She was previously Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health and Children. She was a member of the board of IPPOSI - the Irish Platform for Patients’ Organisations, Science and Industry and is a member of the advisory board of the College of Psychiatry of Ireland. She was Chair of the Monitoring Committee on A Vision for Change from 2006-2009 and is a Director of TASC – the think tank for action on social change. She was Chair of the Irish Times Trust and a Director of the Board of Irish Times Ltd. Dr Barrington is a graduate of University College Dublin and was awarded a Ph.D from the London School of Economics. She is the author of Health, Medicine and Politics in Ireland, 1900-1970. She was awarded an honorary degree in laws by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in May 2005. She is also a Trustee of Genio.

Gail Birkbeck
Gail Birkbeck is the Strategic Learning and Evaluation Executive at The Atlantic Philanthropies. Based in the Dublin office, she works across the programme areas in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, providing technical advice and support as well as commissioning evaluations. Her academic background is in psychology and statistics and she has extensive knowledge of a broad range of research methodologies.

Sarah Craig
Sarah Craig is currently Head of National Health Information Systems at the Health Research Board.  This role includes the overall management of the disability and alcohol and drugs information systems currently managed by the Health Research Board.  She previously worked as Head of Research at the National Council for Special Education and as a Policy Analyst with the National Economic and Social Forum and has written a considerable number of research and policy papers on key social inclusion areas.  She also managed the Centre for Social and Educational Research at Dublin Institute of Technology, and worked at the Policy Research Centre in the National College of Ireland as well as spending time as a researcher at the University of Limerick.  She has also worked at the Combat Poverty Agency and with Pobal.  She is one of the founding members of the Irish Social Policy Association and chaired the Association between 2000 and 2003. 

Dr. Bob Illback, PsyD.
Bob Illback is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Senior Evaluation Researcher at REACH of Louisville, Inc. (Kentucky), an agency that serves children and youth with serious emotional and behavioural disabilities. His professional and research interests include systems of care in child mental health, school-based and school-linked integrated service programs, community-based intervention, program planning and evaluation, and planned organisational change. He has published widely and has served as principal investigator or program evaluator for a number of nationally-recognized systems of care initiatives, including Kentucky's Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, Kentucky IMPACT, Integrated Resources in Schools (IRIS), Health Access: Nurturing Development Services (HANDS), Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, Early Childhood Mental Health, Family-to-Family (F2F), the Kentucky Safe Schools Data Project, Project Family, and Kentucky's substance abuse prevention programs. Presently, he also serves as Deputy CEO for Headstrong - The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, in Dublin, Ireland. 

Dr Fiona Keogh, PhD, Dip. Stats. Cert. Health Ec.
Director of Research and Evidence, Genio (Also member of Genio team)

Prof. Jerome Bickenbach, PhD, LL.B
Jerome Bickenbach has led the Disability Policy Unit at Swiss Paraplegic Research in Nottwil since 2007. He holds a Ph.d in Philosophy, an LL.B, is a full professor and holds the Research Chair in the Department of Philosophy and Faculties of Law and Medicine at Queen’s University. Since 1995 he has been a consultant with the World Health Organization (WHO) working on drafting, testing and implementation of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, known more commonly as ICF, and continues to consult with WHO on international disability social policy. His research is in disability studies, using qualitative and quantitative research techniques within the paradigm of participatory action research. Most recently his research includes disability quality of life and the disability critique, disability epidemiology, universal design and inclusion, modelling disability statistics for population health surveys, the relationship between disability and wellbeing, disability and ageing issues and the application of ICF to monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As a lawyer, Prof. Bickenbach was a human rights litigator, specialising in anti-discrimination for persons with intellectual impairments and mental illness. 

Prof. Philip McCallion, Ph.D. ACSW
Philip McCallion is Professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany and Director of the Center for Excellence in Aging and Community Wellness. A John A. Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar and Mentor, Professor McCallion is also a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.  His research has included evaluation of non-pharmacological interventions for persons with dementia, the development of innovative demonstration projects designed to maintain aging persons and persons with intellectual disabilities in the community and system design work on creating aging prepared communities and on embedding evidence based health promotion programs and participant directed practices in ageing and disability focused services. Dr. McCallion is visiting Professor to the School of Nursing and Midwifery in TCD and has over 70 publications on interventions with caregivers of frail elderly, persons with Alzheimer's disease, and persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Dr. David McDaid
David McDaid is Research Fellow in Health Policy and Health Economics at LSE Health and Social Care and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is co-ordinator of the Mental Health Economics European Network, a 32 country network examining a range of issues, including detailed analysis of the financing of mental health and the socio-economic impact of mental health problems, including aspects of prevention and promotion of good mental well-being. Other recent research has included evaluation of the first phase of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy in Scotland, the UK wide Healthy Living Centre Initiative, and undertaking a review of the extent to which economic evaluations have been used in public health for the Welsh Assembly Government. He has also co-authored a recent report on the Irish health care system. He has published more than 40 peer reviewed papers largely on the use of economics in policy making and on mental health policy and acted as a consultant to a variety of governments, public and voluntary agencies including the World Health Organisation, the European Commission and Amnesty International. He is co-editor of the recently published book Mental Health Policy and Practice Across Europe, editor of Eurohealth, associate editor of Health Policy, co-convenor of the joint Campbell/Cochrane Collaboration Economic Methods Group and a director of the Health Equity Network.

Prof. Gerard Quinn
Gerard Quinn is the Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the NUI Galway School of Law.  Called to the Irish Bar in 1983, he holds a masters (LL.M.) and doctorate in law (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School.  His specialization is international and comparative disability law and policy. He is a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission and helps co-ordinate the work of National Human Rights Institutions worldwide on disability issues.  He led the delegation of Rehabilitation International (RI) during the UN Working Group that elaborated the basis for the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He has worked in the European Commission (as a civil servant), and held a number of posts such as Director of Research for the Irish Government’s Law Reform Commission and Vice President of the European Committee of Social Rights (Council of Europe).  He sits on various advisory boards dealing with disability law and policy issues such as SOROS-OSI (Washington, DC), Disability Rights Fund (Boston, MA), European Foundation Centre Consortium on Disability(Brussels), European Coalition for Community Living (London), Interights (London).