UC Davis telehealth leader returns from three-month project in Ireland

Collaboration conducted as part of Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program


James Marcin, director of the UC Davis Center for Health and Technology, vice chair for pediatric clinical research and professor of pediatrics, is back in the states after spending three months in Ireland sharing best practices in pediatric telehealth.

Marcin’s time overseas was sponsored by the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, which offers college and university faculty, as well as artists and professionals from a wide range of fields, the opportunity to teach, conduct research and pursue professional projects worldwide. Marcin was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar for 2022-2023, joining the ranks of more than 400,000 Fulbright U.S. Scholars who have made new connections around the globe.

Marcin returned in mid-November after sharing his expertise with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Children’s Health Ireland (CHI). A new children’s hospital is being built in Dublin, Ireland as part of the Children’s Health Ireland network that aims to be the primary center for pediatric education, training, and research in the country. Marcin, who is the director of the largest pediatric tele-emergency network in the United States, provided guidance on how telehealth might be incorporated into the new hospital’s care plans.

“We discussed how telehealth can leverage the plan to regionalize services into one large hospital location and extend care to anyone, anywhere in the country,” Marcin said. “I also shared the importance of conducting research when implementing new models of telehealth to evaluate the impact on patient-centered care, quality, cost and efficiency. When testing new models of care, it is crucial to evaluate those models through research and publish the knowledge gained through that research so we can continue to improve our care worldwide.”

While in Dublin, Marcin reconnected with Grace O’Malley, a clinician-scientist and senior lecturer leading the Obesity Research and Care Group in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. O’Malley was a visiting postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis Health in 2015.

“It was great to work alongside Dr. Grace O’Malley again and learn from her work using telehealth to promote healthy eating habits in children,” Marcin said. “Ireland is investing in these preventative types of programs, and I think it would be beneficial to see more of these same healthy eating telehealth programs in the United States.”

Walter Eppich (left), chair of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland SIM Centre for Simulation Education and Research, commemorates the time James Marcin (right) spent in Ireland with a special plaque.  

When not giving lectures and attending grand rounds or other presentations, Marcin spent time with his eldest daughter who worked remotely in Ireland for two months. His youngest two children also visited for two weeks.

“I am incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity, and I so enjoyed being able to share this experience with my family,” Marcin said. “It was a joy introducing them to Irish culture, and we got to see the famed Cliffs of Moher, hike in Kilkenny, swim in the Irish sea, tour Belfast and even see Riverdance.”

Marcin has extensive experience collaborating with international telehealth programs, including conducting telehealth research in Australia, Denmark, Chile and the Philippines. Wherever he goes in the world, he sees common telehealth challenges and opportunities.  

“We all have similar struggles, especially when it comes to changing clinician behavior and advocating for new models of care within systems with financial limits,” Marcin said. “Hopefully by connecting with each other and sharing our best practices we can advance telehealth care worldwide and improve patient-centered care.”