Who am I
I am Mark (PhD, FRCPath), I am Irish, married to Ruth, with Sarah and Emily making up our wonderful family whom I love very much. I am based at Queen’s University Belfast where I am Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor of Digital Health and Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics. I co-chair the European Cancer Organisation (E.C.O)’s Special Focused Network on Covid-19 and cancer. I co-lead E.C.O.’s pan European Time To Act Campaign to ensure that Covid-19 does not stop us from tackling cancer. My research focuses on 3 main areas: A greater understanding of colorectal cancer (CRC) so we can diagnose this deadly disease earlier, treat it more effectively, ensure better quality of life for those living with and beyond CRC and offer better and fairer value to patients and health systems Ensure the robust, effective and responsible use of health data to turn information into intelligence so as to inform all aspects of the cancer pathway and deliver better outcomes for patients, populations and society. A good example is the work that I led on Covid-19 and Cancer, which has had significant international impact and received the prestigious Royal College of Physicians Excellence in Patient Care Award Identifying cancer inequalities and closing the equity divide so that all citizens can benefit from innovations in healthcare, no matter who they are and where they live
I came to Queen’s as a visiting Professor in 2012/2013 to work on a cancer inequalities project. We developed the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights, which I launched with patient advocates and health professionals in the European Parliament on World Cancer Day 2014. This led to the development of a 70:35 Vision– 70% long term average survival for cancer patients by 2035. The Bill of Rights received The 2018 European Health Award, a prestigious award for partnerships that yield real health impact in Europe, which I was proud to accept on behalf all cancer patients in Europe at the European Health Forum Gastein. The 70:35 vision has been adopted by E.C.O. and underpins the European Code of Cancer Practice, which highlights a series of 10 rights that citizens and patients should expect from their health system. The Code is gaining significant traction across Europe.
As Scientific Director of DATA-CAN, the UK’s Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, I have a strong interest in all aspects of health data research and digital health. I also bring a high level of expertise in genomics, personalised medicine and precision health and well being. I have over 10 years experience in patient advocacy and in driving Pubic and Patient Involvement and Engagement activities. As Peter can attest, I also do a One Man James Joyce Show for charity.
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