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Is Mammography Screening an Effective Public Health Intervention? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

March 11, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Speaker(s): Dr John Cullinan

Affiliation: Population and Migration

Organised by: Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, NUI Galway

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Publicly-funded population-based screening programmes can help improve clinical outcomes, alleviate health inequalities, and reduce healthcare costs. However, many of the benefits and harms of screening can only be observed at a population level and only over a long enough timeframe for the cascade of events triggered by screening to culminate in disease-specific mortality reductions. In this paper we exploit a natural experiment resulting from the phased implementation of the Irish national mammography screening programme to examine the impact of screening on breast cancer outcomes from both a health service and a population perspective. We conclude that although the programme produced the intended short-term intermediate effects of screening and improved outcomes from a service-level perspective, these failed to translate into reductions in overall breast cancer mortality at a population level or result in decreases in socioeconomic disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

This is one of a series of seminars in the Whitaker Ideas Forum. John will be representing the Population and Migration research cluster.








The Whitaker Ideas Forum is a weekly seminar, running Wednesday’s throughout the semester from 1:00pm-2:00pm in CA110. It provides the opportunity for members of the Institute to showcase their research. The result are presentations that highlight the diversity of the research being undertaken, while allowing for an opportunity to engage in discussions and, sometimes, collaboration with attendees. Below, you will find a list of this semesters seminars. Please click on the title for more information on that seminar.

Date Presenter Seminar Topic


Research Cluster

22 January Professor Kate Kenny Whistleblowing Persistence: A struggle for recognition Work, Organizations and Society
29 January Dr Eoin Daly Legislating against minority governments: Ireland’s “money message” procedure as an instrument of executive dominance Conflict, Humanitarianism and Security
05 February Dr Elaine Wallace Investigating Burnout as a mediator between Organisational Citizenship and Counterproductive Workplace Behaviours among Frontline Employees. Performance Management
12 February Visiting Professor Juan Miguel Rey Pino Social marketing for the public good: lessons and practical examples from Pracademia in Spain and Latin America. Applied Systems Thinking
19 February Dr Deirdre Curran Spreading Hospitality Inwards: An empirical investigation of worker treatment in the Hospitality Sector in Ireland. Work, Organizations and Society
26 February Dr Kevin O’Sullivan Aidland in South Asia: Humanitarian Crisis in Bangladesh and the Contours of the Global Aid Industry in the 1970s Conflict, Humanitarianism and Security
04 March A conversation with Professor Breda Sweeney
11 March Dr John Cullinan Is Mammography Screening an Effective Public Health Intervention? Evidence from a Natural Experiment Population and Migration
18 March Conversations with our Professors TBA
25 March Dr Alison Herbert How does place influence the ageing and quality of life of older women in Connemara and rural Sweden? Gender and Public Policy
01 April Visiting Professor Bernie Carlson TBA Innovation and Structural Change