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Dr. Carlos Bruen
Assistant Professor, Public Health & Primary Care


Carlos Bruen is Assistant Professor in Health Policy and Management and Course Director of the MSc in Health Policy and Management, Trinity College Dublin. Previously the Assistant Director for Academic Affairs on the SPHeRE Programme - an Irish structured PhD research programme in population health, policy and health services research funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) - he also worked as a researcher on a number of national and international projects, including StrokeCog and the development of an Irish stroke audit; knowledge brokering for medical workforce planning; the FP6 Global Health Initiatives in Africa project, and the Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives Network (GHIN). During this time he was an invited member of the World Health Organization Expert Consultation on Maximising Positive Synergies Between Health Systems and Global Health Initiatives. He completed PhD research on the policy processes of global health partnerships, with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance as the case study. His research and teaching focuses on different dimensions of health policy at national and international levels, including health policy and governance; health service intervention design to inform policy and practice; and knowledge translation and mobilisation for policy and practice.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Bruen C, Merriman NA, Murphy PJ, McCormack J, Sexton E, Harbison J, Williams D, Kelly PJ, Horgan F, Collins R, Ní Bhreacáin M, Byrne E, Thornton J, Hickey A, Development of a national stroke audit in Ireland: scoping review protocol, HRB Open Research, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Niamh A Merriman, Carlos Bruen, Ashleigh Gorman, Frances Horgan, David J Williams, Niall Pender, Elaine Byrne, Anne Hickey, "I'm just not a Sudoku person": analysis of stroke survivor, carer, and healthcare professional perspectives for the design of a cognitive rehabilitation intervention, Disability and rehabilitation, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 URL

Hickey, Anne; Merriman, Niamh, A.; Bruen, Carlos; Mellon, Llsa; Bennett, Kathleen E; Williams, David J; Pender, Niall; Doyle, Frank, Psychological interventions for managing cognitive impairment after stroke (Protocol), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (8), 2020 Journal Article, 2020

Carlos Bruen, Ruairi Brugha, "We're not there to protect ourselves, we're there to talk about workforce planning": A qualitative study of policy dialogues as a mechanism to inform medical workforce planning, Health Policy, 124, (7), 2020, p736 - 742 Journal Article, 2020 URL

Ruairí Brugha, Carlos Bruen, Politics matters: a response to recent commentaries, Int J Health Policy Manag, 3, (3), 2014, p157--158 Journal Article, 2014

Bruen, C., Brugha, R., Kageni, A., Wafula, F., A concept in flux: Questioning accountability in the context of global health cooperation, Globalization and Health, 10, (1), 2014 Journal Article, 2014

Carlos Bruen, Ruairí Brugha, A Ghost in the Machine? Politics in Global Health Policy, Int J Health Policy Manag, 3, (1), 2014, p1--4 Journal Article, 2014

Samb, B., Evans, T., Dybul, M., Atun, R., Moatti, J.-P., Nishtar, S., Wright, A., Celletti, F., Hsu, J., Kim, J.Y., Brugha, R., Russell, A., Etienne, C., De, S., Mwase, T., Wang, W., Wright, J., Daré, L., Delfraissy, J.-F., Boillot, F., Miege, P., Zhang, X., Rhatigan, J., Weintraub, R., Pun, S., Abé, C., Caceres, C., Camara, M., Coriat, B., D"Almeida, C., Aleshkina, J., Murzalieva, G., Kadzandira, J., Hammami, N., Mwapasa, V., Chkhatarashvili, K., Buch, E., Miti, K., Kamenga, C., Elouma, M.S.E., Schwalbe, N., Greenberg, A., Frehywot, S., Markus, A., Goeman, L., Khan, A., Amati, J., Mwaura-Muiru, E., Ivers, L.C., Ellner, A., Shakow, A., Kley, N.C., Irwin, A., Sullivan, E., Baker, B., Cohn, J., Davis, P., Headley, J., Siplon, P., Dickinson, C., Pearson, M., Waddington, C., Boyer, S., Eboko, F., Orsi, F., Larouzé, B., Le Loup, G., Ndubani, P., Simbaya, J., Boelaert, M., Cavalli, A., Ooms, G., Pirard, M., Polman, K., Van Damme, W., Van Dormael, M., Vermeiren, P., Teokul, W., Dlodlo, R., Fujiwara, P., Ruppol, S., Vella, S., Semigina, T., Corbett, E., Godfrey-Faussett, P., Spicer, N., Walt, G., Kanchanachitra, C., Philips, M., Riva, G., Kabuayi, J.-P., Kiputsu, A.K., Ndongosieme, A., Koulla-Shiro, S., Samake, S., Bamba, S.I., Coulibaly, Y., Traore, M.N., Berthé, I.B.I., Wibulpolprasert, S., Chunharas, S., Jerome, G., Mukherjee, J., Nguini, M.E.O., Rao, K.D., Reddy, S., Nyirenda, L., Biesma, R., Bruen, C., Dicker, P., Walsh, A., Cailhol, J., Parsons, A., Mathole, T., Sanders, D., Raghavan, S.S., Mwanza, F., Michael, E.B., Richard, W., Banati, P., Blakley, M., Ingenkamp, N., Lansang, M.A., Low-Beer, D., Shakarishvili, G., Kayongo, A., Buse, K., Martineau, T., Dehne, K., Pett, I., Salama, P., Chilundo, B., Ndumbe, P., Atashili, J., Sow, P.S., Hill, P.S., Brenzel, L., Babaley, M., Dayrit, M., de Zoysa, I., Dyrhauge, J., Evans, T., Galichet, B., Kadama, P., Porignon, D., Russell, S., Tata, H., Van Lerberghe, W., An assessment of interactions between global health initiatives and country health systems, The Lancet, 373, (9681), 2009, p2137-2169 Journal Article, 2009

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Bridget M. Johnston, Fódhla Ní Chéileachair, Sara Burke, Regina McQuillan, Peter May, Lucy Davis, Sarah Barry, Eimir Hurley, Steve Thomas, Charles Normand, Carlos Bruen, Review of the Implementation of the 2001 Report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care as it relates to Adult Palliative Care, Department of Health, Government of Ireland, February, 2022 Report, 2022 DOI TARA - Full Text

Niamh A. Merriman, Carlos Bruen, Joan McCormack, Joseph Harbison, Eithne Sexton, David Williams, Peter J Kelly, Frances Horgan, Ronán Collins, Máirín Ní Bhreacáin, Elaine Byrne, John Thornton, Collette Tully, Anne Hickey, Maximising the quality of stroke care in Ireland - Development of a national stroke audit, European Stroke Journal;, European Stroke Organisation Conference, Helsinki, Finland/Online, 2021, 6, (suppl 1), 2021 Poster, 2021

Sexton E, Shumba J, Heaume F, Merriman N, Bruen C, Hickey A, Williams D, Bennett K, Prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia in community-dwelling adults with stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis (Protocol: CRD42019141431), Prospero, 2019 Journal Article, 2019

Understanding Global Health Policy in, editor(s)Garrett W. Brown; Gavin Yamey; Sarah Wamala , The Handbook of Global Health Policy, New York, John Wiley & Sons, 2014, pp19 - 45, [Ruairí Brugha, Carlos Bruen, Viroj Tangcharoensathien] Book Chapter, 2014

McCoy, David;, Bruen, Carlos; Hill, Peter, & Kerouedan, Dominique, The Global Fund: What Next for Aid Effectiveness and Health Systems Strengthening?, Nairobi, Kenya, Aidspan, 2012 Report, 2012

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation in, editor(s)Thomas Hale; David Held , Handbook of Transnational Governance: New Institutions and Innovations, London, John Wiley & Sons, 2011, pp384 - 394, [Andrew Harmer, Carlos Bruen] Book Chapter, 2011

Bruen, Carlos., Brugha, Ruairi, and Biesma, Regien, GHIs & National Health Systems: A Review Report for WHO-Harvard Maximizing Positive Synergies Research Group, RCSI, Dublin, 2009 Report, 2009

Research Expertise


I have been contributing and lead researcher on projects and publications broadly in the area of health policy, governance and services research, both nationally and globally and from an applied social science perspective. I have and continue to supervise MSc and more recently PhD research projects in these areas. Regarding my research direction, this has expanded from a focus on global health (low income country settings, international organisations) to more recently also include a focus on the Irish context, and in comparative perspective. Prior to moving to Trinity College Dublin in 2021, I was a member of teams working on projects, for example, that examined such issues as the impact of new public-private partnerships on the health systems of southern African countries, an international collaboration funded under the European Commission FP6 funding programme. Building on this, I began PhD research examining policy processes that shaped the organisational structure and strategic priorities of one of the leading public-private partnership, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, at its emergence and later across key phases as it evolved. Findings from these and related projects later informed postdoctoral research on health workforce policy, where I led research examining ways in which evidence, deliberation, and group interests informed national policy on the recruitment and retention of medical doctors in Ireland. Also around this time, I joined projects focused on improving service delivery for stroke rehabilitation, and applied qualitative skills to help design new cognitive rehabilitation interventions informed by the experiences of stroke survivors, their carers, and healthcare professionals. Since moving to Trinity College Dublin in 2021, and as set out as one of my research goals in taking up the post, my work has sought to build on prior research and consolidate around health systems and policy research for impact. This includes, for example, coordinating the proposal development for a Department of Health-commissioned project evaluating Ireland's adult palliative care policy. With Dr Bridget Johnston leading the research, we later published a report that evaluated previous policy priorities and strategies, engaged key system stakeholders, and developed a set of priorities and options for informing the new adult palliative care policy. From 2022, I have been working with Prof Sara Burke, PI on research focusing on the implementation of Slaintecare, Ireland's national policy advancing reform toward a universal health and social care system. My research activities in this area are specifically focused on the governance and structural reform dimensions of regional health areas. Results to date have been presented through such outlets as an invited public seminar with Prof Burke organised by the Health Service Executive, with work on a journal article at a late stage. With the goal of further consolidating my area of research, and further illustrating the collaborative environment I work in, I am at the time of application a co-applicant on a proposal targeting the Health Research Board Investigator Led Project 2024 grant, where the proposed project on nurse and doctor workforce retention and engagement, to be led by Prof Steve Thomas (PI). In parallel, I am working with Prof Burke as co-PI in developing a research proposal to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the regional health area national policy, and the anticipated roll-out of the HSE Regions from 2024. We are engaging with the HSE as potential collaborators. As these examples illustrate, and aligned with my teaching, my research has a strong applied and collaborative focus, and seeks to have an impact through informing policy, practice and postgraduate education.


  • Title
    • Review of the implementation of the 2001 report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care as it relates to Adult Palliative Care
  • Summary
    • This external review will address the terms of reference, which are: 1. To assess progress achieved to date in the implementation of the recommendations of the NACPC 2001 Report and the respective 2009 and 2017 HSE Palliative Care Service Development Frameworks. 2. To identify gaps in the implementation of the policy, including any barriers to progress, and how such issues could be addressed by the policy update. 3. To comment on the relevance of the recommendations in the 2001 Report in the current context. 4. To comment on whether the approach to service delivery in Ireland is cost effective having regard to existing international evidence on cost effective palliative care services. 5. To make recommendations, in light of the above, on priority areas that should be addressed in the policy update, including areas of evolving and emerging need, having regard to international developments as outlined in the International Evidence Brief conducted by the Health Research Board on behalf of the Department of Health. PI: Dr Bridget Johnston, TCD
  • Funding Agency
    • Department of Health, Government of Ireland
  • Date From
    • Sep 2021
  • Date To
    • Feb 2022
  • Title
    • Health Workforce Policy Dialogues & Knowledge Exchange Research Project
  • Summary
    • Proposal contributor and lead researcher on a study of policy dialogues as a brokering mechanism to inform medical workforce planning in Ireland. (PI: Prof Ruairi Brugha, RCSI)
  • Funding Agency
    • Health Research Board
  • Date From
    • 2017
  • Date To
    • 2018
  • Title
    • Study Within a Trial - to test the effectiveness of using different communication methods for follow-up for the purpose of improving trial retention
  • Summary
    • The Study Within a Trial (SWAT) will test the effectiveness of using different communication methods for follow-up for the purpose of improving trial retention. This SWAT is embedded in a larger project pilot testing a cognitive rehabilitation intervention aimed at improving/preventing further decline in cognitive function post-stroke. PI: Prof Anne Hickey (RCSI)
  • Funding Agency
    • HRB
  • Date From
    • 2022
  • Title
    • Global Health Initiatives & Accountability Project
  • Funding Agency
    • Aidspan, Kenya
  • Date From
    • 2013
  • Date To
    • 2013



Article reviewer for journals that include: The BMJ; BMC Human Resources for Health; Frontiers in Public Health; Qualitative Studies in Psychology; Globalization & Health; International Journal of Health Policy and Management; Irish Studies in International Affairs; Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review; and Third World Quarterly.

Visiting Lecturer on the Clinical and Psychosocial Epidemiology Research Masters (Health Systems & Prevention stream) delivered by the University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Netherlands. 2020

Member of the consultancy team leading an evaluation of Ireland's 2001 national palliative care policy to inform a 2022 Department of Health update of this policy. 2021

Steering Group member, 'Applying a sanitation approach to the problem of Household Air Pollution in Malawi' Project (2020-2022). PI: Dr Debbi Stanistreet (RCSI) 2019

Workshop Rapporteur, Joint Research Council (JRC) "Strengthening and connecting eco-systems of science for policy in Europe" workshop series. 2020

Membership of and contributing to a commissioned literature review for the WHO Maximising Positive Synergies Collaborative Group Project. 2008

Distance Mentor, Emerging Voices for Health programme, Institute for Tropical Medicine, Antwerp/World Health Organisation 2011

Editorial Board member, Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, 2007

Group facilitator, Irish consultative process for the World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul 2016. 2015


Cochrane 2019 – present