Profile: Dennis Pringle

Professor Dennis Pringle, Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Chair of the Irish National Committee / Academy Committee for Geography. His research interests primarily lie in social and spatial inequalities in health in Ireland.

Dennis Pringle was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. On completing a BA Degree in Natural Sciences in Trinity College, Dublin in 1971, he returned to Belfast to work on a major project mapping social problems in the Belfast Urban Area in Queen s University, Belfast from 1971-3. Following a short spell as a research assistant in the University of Durham 1973-4, he returned to the Republic of Ireland in 1974 to take up a lectureship in what is now the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He has remained in Maynooth ever since. On completing his doctorate through Queen s University in 1978, he developed an interest in some of the health indicators that he had mapped in Belfast. This led him to ‘discover’ medical geography in the late 1970s, which he introduced into the teaching programme in Maynooth in 1979. Maynooth remains the only university in the Republic to teach medical / health geography at undergraduate level, but medical geography has always proved a very popular option with students, several of who have gone on to complete research degrees in medical geography at the masters or doctoral level.

Dennis has recently developed an interest in emerging infectious diseases and is currently writing a book (very slowly) on the global history of infectious diseases from the Palaeolithic to the present. Medical / health geography has always been hampered in Ireland by the absence of suitable small area data, so he is also currently working with data holders and colleagues in the health services to develop Health Atlas Ireland — a web-based geographical information system which will act as a central repository of spatially encoded data (morbidity, mortality, demography, health services, etc.) for access by both health service professionals and academic researchers.

Dennis may be contacted at Dennis.Pringle@nullnuim.ie

Updated: January 2009