The 2011 Ireland Medal was presented to American Professor of Paediatrics Linda Quan MD for her outstanding work in the fields of drowning prevention and resuscitation.
The presentation, by fellow paediatrician and 2005 Ireland Medal recipient Australian Professor John Pearn MD, was made during the recent Lifesaving Foundation Drowning Research Conference.
She is the ninth medal recipient; previous recipients include Surgeon Admiral Frank Golden and Chief Justice Terence Higgins, both of whom were represented at the ceremony and who sent messages of congratulations. Professor Quan’s grandmother Ethel Bennett emigrated from Ireland to the USA.
Speaking after the event she stated that:
“All the planning, pomp and circumstance that John Connolly and the Lifesaving Foundation put into my award and ceremony are beyond belief.
Being surrounded by many of the worlds’ most committed, focused, and thoughtful experts on drowning and its prevention was the only thing that seemed real! Everyone there is so important as they bring a different and special perspective to the problem and just as important a camaraderie.
Your respect and friendship are imbedded in my medal and memory.”
In addition to receiving a gilded medal a specially commissioned large parchment was presented to her by the Lifesaving Foundation containing gold leaf representations of the Seattle skyline (where she is based), an adult and child wearing lifejackets (an area of drowning prevention she is particularly interested in) and images of an Irish cottage and a Chinese house joined together behind the Statue of Liberty.
The medal ceremony was part of the 2012 Lifesaving Foundation’s Drowning Prevention and Research Conference. One of the conferences main themes was Drowning Morbidity with presentations from Professor John Pearn (Australia), Dr. Joost Bierens (Netherlands), Dr. David Szpilman (Brazil), Dr. Christopher Gardner-Thorpe (United Kingdom), Dr. Cormac Breathnach (Ireland) and Mr. Michael Morris (Samuel Morris Foundation Australia).
Secondary themes included hosting the Can You Swim Project, lifesaving in developing countries and training lifeguards.