Dr. Mike Ryan is honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award 

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Today it was announced that Dr. Michael Ryan will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Red Cross. 

Dr. Ryan, a native of Sligo and Mayo, was brought to global attention this year thanks to his role as Executive Director of the World Health Organisation’s Health Emergencies Programme, leading the team responsible for the international readiness and response to Covid-19. 

People are invited to register for free tickets for the event at humanitarianawards.ie

However, his work with Covid-19 is just the tip of the iceberg in a career dedicated to eradicating infectious diseases all around the world. While training as a young doctor in NUI Galway, there was no way for Mike Ryan to know that his work would take him to some of the world’s most dangerous contexts and lead him to helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people. 

An injury sustained in a road traffic accident in Iraq in the early 90s prohibited him from pursuing his training as a surgeon, so Dr. Ryan turned his attention toward the field of public health and infectious diseases. 

In 1996 he joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in a newly formed unit that focused on emerging diseases and epidemics. He deployed to multiple countries and led responses to epidemics across the globe. Using this experience, he helped in developing new approaches and mechanisms for responding to epidemics like the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). He was appointed the Director of Global Alert and Response in 2005. 

In 2013 he joined the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as a Senior Adviser and served until 2017, fighting wild polio virus epidemics in Syria, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan. During this time, given his Ebola experience, he was also asked to deploy to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as Senior Advisor to the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response in West Africa. 

In 2017, Dr. Ryan was appointed as Deputy Director-General to the WHO the Health Emergencies Programme and in 2019 as its Executive Director.  

Speaking of Dr. Ryan’s achievements, Pat Carey, Chair of the Irish Red Cross said, “Dr. Mike Ryan has been at the forefront of managing risks to global health for almost 25 years now and his career helping the world’s most vulnerable people is an inspiration to us all. 

“In what has been a difficult year for so many, the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards aims to celebrate the people who have dedicated their lives in service of others and I cannot think of a more worthy recipient of this award than Dr. Ryan. As an organization the Red Cross has seen the devastating impact of Covid-19 in communities at home and abroad and I am thankful that Ireland, and the rest of the world, has had Dr. Ryan’s steadying hand at the helm during this pandemic.” 

The winners of the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards will be announced in a live virtual ceremony on December 15th at 7pm. John Lonergan, who took home the Lifetime Achievement award in 2019, will give a keynote speech at the event.? 

The awards seek to recognise those who have had a humanitarian impact on the lives of others through volunteering, skill sharing, storytelling, or fundraising and will highlight the efforts of those who have given a voice to humanitarian issues.

People are invited to register for free tickets for the event at humanitarianawards.ie

And to view the finalists for the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards, click here


Dr Mike Ryan