Asthma Society of Ireland Appoints Sarah O’Connor as New CEO

20 Mar 2018
New CEO of Asthma Society of Ireland - Sarah O'Connor

The Asthma Society of Ireland has today called on more asthmatics to use its FREE Adviceline service, on foot of a recent partnership review of the service which showed extensive positive impacts for service users. There are 470,000 people with asthma in Ireland and research shows that 60% of Irish asthmatics do not have their asthma under control.

The recent partnership research showed that 70% of service users aged 50 years and under found the Adviceline service helped them to avoid missing work or school because of their asthma. The research also highlighted that 56% of callers did not have a self-management plan for their asthma but subsequently drew one up and used it after their Adviceline call.

Commenting on the successful HSE partnership with the Adviceline service, Shirley Keane from the HSE said: “For many people, asthma is a challenging condition to manage. Children miss an average of 10 days at school each year due to asthma. Our research shows that the Adviceline service helps 70% of callers aged 50 years and under to avoid missing school or work due to their asthma. I would encourage all asthmatics or their carers to use the free Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64.”

New Asthma Society CEO, Sarah O’Connor said of the Adviceline service “We want to encourage more people to avail of the free Adviceline service so that people with asthma feel well, keep their asthma under control, and lead the fullest life, symptom-free. In 2016, the Asthma Society of Ireland’s Asthma Adviceline was awarded an independent quality mark by the Helplines Partnership, one of only three helplines in Ireland to have achieved this standard. This is only one of the brilliant supports the Asthma Society provides and, with such positive impacts on people’s health and lifestyle, we would like it to be a standard, repeat, free support used by every person with asthma in Ireland.”

The Asthma Society of Ireland has also today announced Sarah O’Connor as its new CEO, effective immediately.

Commenting on the appointment, Asthma Society Chairman Oliver Carroll said:

The Asthma Society is delighted to welcome Sarah O’Connor as our new CEO. Sarah’s background in communications campaigns and public affairs will be invaluable to our work advocating for the care and services available to the 470,000 people with asthma in Ireland. Sarah’s personal experience of having asthma means that she really understands the challenges that people face in managing their asthma. I look forward to working with her in the run-up to World Asthma Day on May 1st and on the excellent work we do year-round to support people with asthma.

Oliver Carroll, Asthma Society Chairperson

New Asthma Society of Ireland CEO, Sarah O’Connor, said: “I am honoured to join the team at the Asthma Society, helping people with asthma to live a full life, symptom free.”

“Fighting to breathe is a terrifying experience and I would not wish it on anyone. As a young child, I was diagnosed with asthma at an early age and I have lived with it as part of my life ever since. That’s why I am so proud to take on this role - the Asthma Society provides the supports people need to manage their asthma – information, practical and informed advice, training, news, and smart health promotion programmes. The work of the society makes a real difference to the lives of people with asthma.”

Tuesday, 1st May is World Asthma Day and the Asthma Society will hold a range of activities all over the country and will also launch a major communications campaign.