Dr Diarmuid Smith qualified from University College Dublin in 1994, he completed his intern and medical SHO training in the Mater Hospital Dublin. Dr Smith entered the Irish Specialist Registrar Training programme in Diabetes and Endocrinology in 1997 and went to Kings College London where he completed his MD thesis in the field of hypoglycaemia. He also was Lecturer in Endocrinology in St Vincents University Hospital and was appointed as Consultant Endocrinologist to Beaumont Hospital in 2005. His fields of interest are hypoglycaemia and diabetic vascular disease.
Dr Smith is involved in a number of research studies but has a particular interest in the osteoprotegrin (OPG) /RANKL system in both metabolic bone disease and vascular disease in people with diabetes. Dr Smith has established an active collaborative research programme with the non-invasive vascular lab in Beaumont Hospital, the vascular biology lab in DCU under the supervision of Dr Phil Cummins and with Dr Donal O’Gorman in the School of Human Health and Performance in DCU. Dr Smith has been involved in a number of interventional clinical trials in diabetes in the last few years and is currently involved in the LEADER study, a large multi-centre, international trial looking at the safety and cardiovascular effectiveness of the novel GLP-1 injection liraglutide in people with diabetes.
Briefly describe what your job entails?
Beaumont Hospital is an extremely busy hospital serving a catchment area of over 300,000 people and is the regional centre for the north east region of the country and the national renal and pancreas transplant and neurosurgical centre for the country.
I and my colleagues provide diabetes and endocrine care for the hospital, which involves the management of patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, transplant diabetes, cystic fibrosis related diabetes, thyroid disease, pituitary disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome and other endocrine disorders. I also do general internal medicine and provide acute 24 hour medical on-call for the patients who attend the Beaumont hospital ED department
Have there been any recent developments in your career?
There have been lots. In diabetes care insulin pumps with continuous glucose monitoring systems have developed over the last number of years to such an extent that they offer the potential of an electronic cure for type 1 diabetes. In the last 10 years there has also been an explosion in new treatments for type 2 diabetes, which offers great excitement to our patients. The great thing about medicine is that it never stands still, always changing, the challenge is to try and keep up with the advancements.
Why did you choose this particular career?
I always wanted to do medicine, I liked the challenge of medicine. I decided on diabetes and endocrinology because it has a mixture of acute medicine where patients can become acutely unwell but respond well to treatment and the fact that in endocrinology you frequently follow up patients over their lifetime, for example in diabetes you might start seeing someone at age 16 years when they are diagnosed and follow them through their leaving cert, college, working years, marriage, pregnancy etc. It is a privilege to work with people for so long and to try and help them as best you can.
What career might you have chosen if you weren’t in your current one?
I would love to have been a football commentator. I love sport but was never good enough to make a career out of it but a commentator would have given me a job watching sports I love. In particular I would have liked to have been a GAA commentator, nothing beats going to Croke Park.
Where are you from originally?
Artane in Dublin, great place to grow up, near good schools, great parks and not too far from town.
What public figure do you most admire and why?
Unfortunately I think there is a shortage of great leaders at the moment but I do admire Pope Francis, I see him as a man trying to change a very rigid organisation which has lost its way and someone who has true compassion in a world where we need a lot more compassion and understanding.
Do you have any hobbies?
My real passion is Gaelic games, I help train St Vincents under 13s GAA team with some other mentors who are great guys. My son plays on the team and I have been with the team since mini-leagues and it is great to see the kids grow and develop and to turn into young adults. It would be great if one of them in the future played for Dublin.
What kind of music do you like?
Anything really, when you have kids you find yourself listening to groups you have never heard of but I do like Oasis, Coldplay and the Coronas.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
New Zealand, I think it looks beautiful and I was a big fan of the lord of the rings and thought it looked stunning.