St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth and Bon Secours Health System launch an Ethics module for ongoing professional staff training.

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Posted 25th January

St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth and Bon Secours Health System launch an Ethics module for ongoing professional staff training.

Launch of Catholic Healthcare Ethics in the 21st Century.

Thursday 25th January 2024

St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth (SPPU), in partnership with Bon Secours Health System (BSHS), today launched a new Ethics module for those in Allied Healthcare, professional and administration roles, and people working in Pastoral Care or Chaplaincy.

The partnership announced last November provides ongoing professional development programmes suited to this group and those engaged in pastoral care roles in parish, diocese, or wider community settings.

The first module in this level 9 suite of programmes is Catholic Healthcare Ethics in the 21st Century. This for-credit module can be taken as a standalone short course or combined with further modules and a research project to attain a Postgraduate Diploma. Students will be able to select modules in the Ethics, Pastoral Care and Values-Based Leadership.

Each module, delivered through the SPPU online learning platform and by industry-leading professionals, offers the freedom to engage at a time that suits the learner.

Commenting at the launch, on the agreement to develop and deliver these programmes, President of St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, Rev Prof Michael Mullaney, said: ‘Following the signing of the agreement between both organisations in November last, I am delighted to join Bill Maher and his team today to launch the first module in Ethics. At SPPU we see our role as being at the forefront of Catholic education and ensuring professionals in the field have adequate skills to make a real difference in the lives of those they serve. Our partnership with Bon Secours Health System is a further step on our collaborative journey with organisations who share our values.’

Bill Maher, Group Chief Executive Officer at Bon Secours Health System, added: ‘We are delighted to partner with SPPU, providing a bursary to develop a continuous education initiative in line with our mission to provide compassionate and exceptional medical care to those in need. This partnership is a step forward in advancing the education and training of healthcare and pastoral care professionals, offering them the opportunity to develop their ethical leadership, ultimately benefiting our national community.’

The development of these online programmes demonstrates SPPU’s commitment to delivering the highest levels of teaching and learning in order to promote intellectual, human and professional development. The programmes for Bon Secours Health System will be offered through the University’s Centre for Mission and Ministries.


Pictured above at the launch were: Rev Prof Michael Mullaney, President of St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth and Mr Bill Maher, Group Chief Executive Officer, Bon Secours Health System with Dr Jessie Rogers, SPPU Centre for Mission & Ministries.


Pictured left to right: Angela Harding, Group Head of Marketing BSHS, Dr Michael Shortall, Dean of Postgraduate Studies SPPU, Eileen O' Connell, Centre for Mission & Ministries, SPPU, Alan Burke, Head of Mission, BSHS, Dr Jessie Rogers Dean of Theology, SPPU, Tobias Winright, Prof. of Moral Theology, SPPU, Andrew McCarthy, Chief Sponsorship & Mission Officer, BSHS, Paul Hurley, Director of Marketing & Communications, SPPU.

Seated: Mr Bill Maher, Group Chief Executive Officer, Bon Secours Health System and Rev Prof Michael Mullaney, President of St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth.


About Bon Secours Health System

As Ireland’s largest independent hospital group, Bon Secours Health System is renowned for the quality of its service provision coupled with a rich tradition in healthcare. Bon Secours Health System CLG is a not-for-profit organisation with its mission centred on providing compassionate, world class medical treatment to all those it serves. With more than 4,000 staff, 500 leading consultants, Bon Secours treats more than 300,000 patients annually in its five modern acute hospitals in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Tralee as well as operating a Care Village in Cork.

Information on key academic delivering these programmes.

Prof. David Smith

David Smith is Associate Professor of Health Care Ethics in RCSI and Director of the MSc in Health Care Ethics and Law in RCSI. He lectures on health care ethics in Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He is the Ethics Consultant to the Bon Secours Health System and the Ethics Committee of the Daughters of Charity Family Services. He was a member of the Irish Council for Bioethics and the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland. He is currently a member of the National Advisory Committee on Bioethics Ethics, the Medicinal Cannabis Expert Reference Group, the Domestic Violence Service Team, UNESCO Committee – Ireland, the ISCP Professional Procedures/Ethics Standing Committee, the National Committee for the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes, the Living Donor Ethics Committee of Beaumont University Hospital, the Ethics Working Group of the Irish Association of Palliative Care Consultants, and the Advisory Committee on Research Ethics Committees in Ireland established by HIQA. The Ethics Working Party of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice, the European Network for Research Ethics Committees (EUREC) and ethical advisor to Atomium Culture. He is on the Scientific and Ethics Advisory Committee for a number of FP7 and H2020 projects. He is also a member of a number of Research Ethics Committees in Ireland.

Professor Tobias Winright

Professor Tobias Winright is a Roman Catholic moral theologian with a wide range of teaching and research interests. Formerly a law enforcement officer (initially corrections, then policing, and as a police academy ethics instructor) and a lay ecclesial minister (in campus, parish, and youth ministry),

he wrote his dissertation on “The Challenge of Policing: An Analysis in Christian Social Ethics” and received his PhD in Moral Theology/Christian Ethics from the University of Notre Dame in 2002. He is currently working on his STL at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. His MDiv is from Duke University Divinity School, his BA in Political Science is from the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, and his AA in Liberal Arts is from St. Petersburg College.

He has received several awards for his publications and his teaching. His prior academic appointments include: Saint Louis University (2005-2022), where from 2014 to 2019 he held the Hubert Mäder Endowed Chair in Health Care Ethics at the Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics; Walsh University (2003-2005); and Simpson College (1998-2003). Currently, he is also an Associate Member of the Las Casas Institute for Social Justice, Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford. He is Book Review Editor for Health Care Ethics USA. He was Co-editor of the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics from 2012 to 2017. From 2010 to 2015 he also was Book Review Editor for the journal Political Theology. Currently he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Catholic Social Thought.

He has authored, coauthored, edited, and coedited 7 books, with the most recent being the T&T Clark Handbook of Christian Ethics, published in 2021 by Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, and Serve and Protect: Selected Essays on Just Policing, published in 2020 by Cascade Books. His coauthored book After the Smoke Clears: The Just War Tradition and Post War Justice, originally published by Orbis Books in 2011, was republished in 2022, with a new preface, by Wipf & Stock Publishers. He has authored nearly 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, 65 book reviews, and another 50 popular articles in periodicals and magazines such as The Tablet, the Irish Catholic Newspaper, America, Commonweal, Sojourners, Christian Century, National Catholic Reporter, US Catholic, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, and Taekwondo Times.

He was Vice President of the College Theology Society from 2019 to 2021. He has served on the boards of the Society of Christian Ethics and the College Theology Society.

Nathaniel Blanton Hibner, Ph.D.

Nathaniel Blanton Hibner, Ph.D., is director of ethics for the Catholic Health Association of the United States. In this role, he provides research and suggested implementation of the church's moral tradition for CHA member organizations in areas of clinical and organizations ethics. Together with CHA's senior director of theology and ethics, Nathaniel creates educational and formational programming on moral theology and its relationship to current topics for the Catholic health ministry. Prior to joining CHA in 2017, Nathaniel earned his Ph.D. from the Albert Gnaegi Centre for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University, where he researched organizational ethics, bioethics and Catholic health care ethics. He also taught an undergraduate course on Foundations in Health Care Ethics. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science and theology and a master's degree in theological studies from Boston College. He also has a master's degree in health care ethics from Saint Louis University.