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Professor John McLachlan

Professor of Medical Education
School of Medicine

John is currently mostly involved in providing guidance on assessment, within the School of Medicine and elsewhere across the University. He has a career-long interest in the teaching of anatomy by non-cadaveric means. He has worked extensively with artists on combined Science and Art projects, and has a particular interest in the humanities in health care teaching. He is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

John's current role is focussed on assessment, particularly standard setting for very high stakes exams in health care. He acts as a research mentor to a number of academic colleagues interested in research in medical and healthcare education. He contributed extensively to the development of the Masters in Medical Education programme.

John McLachlan is currently Professor of Medical Education and Assessment Lead at UCLan (University of Central Lancashire) in the UK. Previously he was Associate Dean of Medicine at Durham University, and Director of Phase 1 at Peninsula Medical School. He is a developmental biologist by background, but over the last 18 years has specialised in health care education delivery and research. Previously, he was Editor-in-Chief of Medical Education, the leading journal in the field. His national roles include serving as a Board Member of the UK Clinical Aptitude Test, with the UK Foundation Programme Office as their psychometric expert, and as a member of the General Medical Council’s Expert Reference Group for the planned national Medical Licensing Assessment. Recently he was commissioned by Health Education England to review assessment policy with regard to the Royal College of General Practice, and the Royal College of Psychiatry. He has also been commissioned by the General Medical Council, the Health and Care Professions Council, the Department of Health, Health Education England, the Scottish Government, the Medical Schools Council, and the Higher Education Academy to produce reports on key aspects of health policy, particularly with regard to assessment and selection. His work has proved influential in changing national policy, particularly with regard to the assessment of international medical graduates wishing to practice in the UK, and the assessment of GPs and Psychiatrists in training in the UK. His work on anatomy pedagogy has influenced anatomy teaching in all of the 5 new medical schools that have opened in the UK since it was first published in 2004. He has over 60 publications on medical education issues, including refereed papers in BMJ, Academic Medicine and Medical Education.

  • PhD, Developmental Biology, University of London
  • Middlesex Hospital Medical School, 1980
  • BSc. (Hons), Zoology, University of Glasgow, 1975.
  • National Teaching Fellow, 2003
  • Raine Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Western Australia
  • Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning Award, Durham University
  • Arts and Business New Partners Award, Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport: with Helen Storey.
  • BUPA Award for Medical Writing
  • John’s research currently focusses on (a) assessment and selection for health care practice (b) teaching and measurement of professionalism (c) anatomy pedagogy and (d) the use of arts and humanities in health care education. With his team, he developed the Clinical Conscientiousness Index, which is an objective scalar measure of professionalism in health care workers, and is now used internationally. He has received grant funding from the Department of Health, GMC, Higher Education Academy, Health Education England, UKCAT, Medical Schools Council, and Health and Care Professions Council, among others. With regard to the arts and humanities, he has been awarded grants by the Wellcome Trust and the Arts Council, and this work aroused international media interest.
  • Associate of the General Medical Council
  • Expert Reference Group Member, Medical Licencing Assessment
  • UKFPO RDG member
  • Medical Schools Council Assessment Alliance
  • Licenced Teacher of Anatomy
  • (Recently: Board Member, UK Clinical Aptitude Test)