Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Tom O'Dowd, Professor

Professor Tom O'DowdProfessor of General Practice

Contact Details

Public Health and Primary Care
Trinity College Centre for Health Sciences
Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24, Ireland

t: + 353 1 896 1868/1087
f: + 353 1 403 1211


Tom O'Dowd was appointed as Professor of General Practice in Trinity College 1993, having previously worked in academic primary care in Cardiff and Nottingham in the UK.  He was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1996.  In addition to his academic role he is a principal in general practice in the Tallaght area of Dublin.

Research Interests

As Director of the health spoke of the Growing up in Ireland study (GUI), this has been the main focus of his research since 2006.  Clinical problems encountered in general practice, particularly chronic disease and multimorbidity, are other ongoing research areas.


Professor O'Dowd contributes to teaching in the 4th medical year undergraduate course on Practices and Populations, which he has expanded and developed since his appointment in 1996.  The course includes attachments to GP surgeries all over Ireland and he was instrumental in increasing the length of these attachments and in recruiting many of his GP colleagues to participate in providing attachment bases.  He continues to influence and develop the course.

He also designed the curriculum for the 1st medical year Human Development course, which has been successful in providing early patient contact and also incorporates psychology and ethics modules.

At the postgraduate level, Professor O'Dowd supervises MSc, MD and PhD students and is Chair of the TCD/HSE Specialist Training Programme in General Practice.

He has served as an External Examiner for the Queen's University in Belfast, the University of Wales College of Medicine, the University of Glasgow and the National University of Ireland Galway.

Service to College and Community

Professor O'Dowd served as Head of Public Health and Primary Care for three consecutive terms from 1993-2006.  He has served on many committees within the Medical School and Trinity College and has had numerous appointments to outside bodies, including the Board of Tallaght Hospital, the Health Research Board, the Medical Council, the Irish College of General Practitioners and others.
He was one of the founding members of the Association of University Departments of General Practice (AUDGPI) and is on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of General Practice.

He established a new general practice in a deprived area in South West Dublin in 2001 following a health needs assessment done by colleagues in Trinity College. This practice in which he is a Principal continues to serve one of the most deprived populations in Ireland in an innovative manner in a new purpose built heath centre – the Mary Mercer Health Centre.

With Professor  Fergus O’Kelly he has integrated postgraduate general practice into the Department of Public Health & Primary Care which now has an intake of 15 registrars annually to a 4 year course.

Recent Key Publications

Smith SS, Soubhi H, Fortin M, Hudon C, O'Dowd T, Managing patients with multimorbidity : systematic review of interventions in primary care and community settings, British Medical Journal, 345, (e5205), 2012, p1 - 10

Kelly D, O'Dowd T, Reulbach U, Use of folic acid supplements and risk of cleft lip and palate in infants: a population-based cohort study, British Journal Of General Practice, 62, (600), 2012, p466 - 472

Smith SM, Soubhi H, Fortin M, Hudon C, O’Dowd T, Cochrane review of Interventions to improve outcomes for patients with multimorbidity , Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Apr 18, (4), 2012  

Keogh, K., Smith, S., White, P., McGilloway, S., Kelly, A., Gibeney, J., O'Dowd, T., A psychological family intervention for poorly controlled type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial of a psychological, family-based intervention delivered in the home, American Journal of Family Care, 17, (2), 2011, p105 - 113

Smith SM, Paul G, Kelly A, Whitford DL, O'Shea E, O'Dowd T, Peer support for patients with type 2 diabetes: cluster randomised controlled trial., BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 342, 2011, pd715   

O'Kelly, Smith SM, Lane S, Teljeur C, O'Dowd T, Chronic respiratory disease and multimorbidity: Prevalence and impact in a general practice setting , Respiratory Medicine, 105, 2011, p236 - 242

Further information .......

Last updated 23 November 2016 Mary O'Neill (Email).