The purpose of the task force will be to advise the ISTM Executive Board on how the Society's activities should adapt to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, to evaluate the research evidence base and provide technical advice to international agencies in relation to the safe resumption of international travel, based on public health guidance and travel health risk assessments.
The ISTM is an international society of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other medical professionals who promote travel health initiatives. Founded in 1991, ISTM has built a global network that is committed to the advancement of travel medicine, and fosters research, facilitates the rapid exchange of information, and provides educational programming to serve the travel medicine community. The organisation promotes the development and evaluation of safe, effective, preventive and curative interventions for patients prior to travel, during travel and post travel.
Reflecting on this voluntary role, Professor Flaherty commented: "I am proud to represent NUI Galway in my various contributions to the leading professional society devoted to travel medicine education and research. The safe facilitation of international travel will be at the core of our new task force's efforts."
Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said:"The appointment of Professor Flaherty as the International Society of Travel Medicine COVID 19 Task Force lead is an excellent choice. Professor Flaherty, as a clinical expert with extensive experience, will be a dedicated advocate for safe and healthy travel as the world emerges from lockdown."
Prof. Gerard Flaherty graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 2000 with a first class honours degree and gold medals in each of the 8 final year subjects. As an undergraduate, Gerard gained an intercalated BSc degree in Anatomy and received numerous international academic distinctions, including the Duke Elder Prizer in Ophthalmology from the Royal College of Ophthalmology (UK), and the Annual Undergraduate Prize of the Faculty of Radiology (UK). He gained Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 2002 and Fellowship in 2011. He holds a Diploma in Travel Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow). He has completed 3 Masters degrees, including a Masters in International and Travel Health (Sheffield) and Masters in Medical Education (Dundee). His doctoral thesis from NUI Galway was based on his original research in travel medicine.
Gerard’s current academic position as Personal Professor of Medical Education at NUI Galway and current Director of International Affairs for the School of Medicine gives him responsibility for design, delivery and assessment of the undergraduate curriculum, including the special study module programme. He is also a Past Chair of the Curriculum Review Committee and sits on numerous committees at school and university levels, including the examination appeals committee.