Staff 2020-05-05T17:28:26+00:00

Be Wiser

The WISER education team are dedicated to providing students and staff with high quality interactive workshops based on the most up-to-date and relevant information. The education team are constantly evaluating their programmes to best meet the need of their participants. Our staff are highly trained and enthusiastic about teaching sexual health.

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Meet Our Team

Lorraine O’Connell
Lorraine O’Connell

Lorraine has worked for AIDS West for nearly 8 years as their Sexual Health Education Coordinator. In her role she designs, delivers and evaluates sexual health programmes, promoting positive sexual health and HIV awareness to communities in the West of Ireland.  The WISER programme is currently being delivered by Lorraine and her colleagues in over 40 schools. The programme is constantly evolving, in order to stay up-to-date with new research in sexual health, and tailor the content to be age-appropriate and meet the needs of the students.

Lorraine is currently studying part-time in DCU for an MA in Sexuality Studies, having studied Health Promotion to Postgraduate level in NUIG, with Psychological Studies and Sociology & Politics as her undergraduate degree.

In the coming year, Lorraine will be facilitating the HSE Foundation Programme in Sexual Health Education.

Lorraine has completed numerous training courses and has completed the Children First training.

In 2016 Lorraine completed the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) “Speakeasy Plus” training, equipping her with the knowledge and skill to be able to work with people with specific challenges or learning needs.

Grace O’Shea
Grace O’Shea

Grace has been a WISER Relationships and Sexuality Educator for over 4 years, and is passionate about delivering RSE in Ireland which is comprehensive, factual, progressive, inclusive, empowering, age-appropriate and sex-positive.  Grace mainly works with young people between the ages of 10 and 18 years in in primary, secondary and alternative education settings. She is also trained to provide rapid HIV testing, and is responsible for the continuous review and development of the WISER programmes and website.

Grace has undergone extensive professional development in this role, through completing a range of training courses delivered by (but not limited to) the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, Transgender Equality Network Ireland, Tusla, the HSE, the Irish Family Planning Association, AMACH, Consent Matters Ireland, Penn State University, University of Twente and NUI Galway.

Grace also created and piloted a Positive Body Image workshop for adolescents, in addition to delivering add-on workshops which compliment the core WISER programme. These workshops have focused on topics such as consent, porn literacy and sex and technology/social media. Grace is an experienced educator, having worked as a tutor and lecturer in areas such as health promotion, body image and sexuality, risky adolescent behaviours, and more.

Grace also has amassed experience as a researcher. She was awarded a scholarship to conduct research on Empathy, Social Values and Young People in the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, and has also worked in multiple research assistant roles. She earned an MA (Hons) in Health Promotion from NUI Galway in 2016; her research study examined adolescent body image and how it develops within peer environments and processes (‘An investigation of adolescent perceptions of the Body Image Peer Influence Model’).

Grace left University College Cork in 2015 with her BSc (Hons) in Occupational Therapy, and has worked with individuals with an extensive range of abilities and difficulties within school, university and hospital settings. Her qualitative research study explored the experience of being transgender in Ireland, the healthcare services that transgender people use and may have desired to access during their transition (‘The perspective of transgender individuals on the healthcare services that they have experienced in Ireland’).

Grace can be contacted at grace@sexualhealthwest.ie.

Meagan O'Neill
Meagan O'Neill

Meagan has been a part of the Sexual Health West Team since October 2018. As part of her Masters in Health Promotion from the National University of Ireland Galway she began as an intern with Sexual Health West. Upon completing her MA (Hons) in Health promotion in 2019, she took the role of a WISER Relationships and Sexuality educator. As part of the WISER team Meagan is dedicated to bringing factual, research based, non-judgemental RSE to the West of Ireland.

As part of her professional development Meagan has undergone extensive training in the areas of sexual health and development. She is currently undertaking the HSE Foundation Programme in Sexual Health Education. She has also completed the ACTIVE Consent training, Child First training and is a qualified First Aid responder.

During her masters of Health Promotion from NUIG, Meagan focused on the area of sexual health. Gathering experience as a researcher she explored the perceptions of sexual consent for women in the west of Ireland in her qualitative research study. From this experience, it enabled her to analyse the data from the WISER programme. She is currently in the process of evaluating the data collected from students who have received the WISER programme.

Meagan can be contacted at meagan@sexualhealthwest.ie

Nicole McGuigan
Nicole McGuigan

Nicole started with Sexual Health West in early 2020 as our Support Services Coordinator. In her role she provides one-to-one support to HIV positive community members and organises group and peer support. HIV support is a focus of Sexual Health West, historically known as AIDS West before their recent name change.

Nicole is also part of the WISER team facilitating the WISER and Little WISER programmes as a Relationships and Sexuality Educator.

Nicole started her career as a social worker in Auckland, New Zealand where she is originally from. Having worked with Family Violence and Child Protection before her move to Ireland in 2003, she has worked with the ISPCC, the Incredible Years Programme, Galway City Partnership, Empowerment Plus, the Strengthening Families Programme and as the Healthy Galway City Coordinator.

During this time Nicole also completed her MA (Hons) in Family Support Studies with NUIG, created the ‘Building a Happy Baby’ campaign in her role as Chairperson of the Galway Parent Network, participated in the Galway City CYPSC, co-wrote and delivered sessions with the Galway Recovery College and been a speaker at numerous events.

We’d love to hear from you!

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