Health Professions Education Unit

We are committed to delivering exceptional medical education. The Health Professions Education Unit (HPEU) brings together the scholarship of those engaged in teaching and education development at Hull York Medical School. It facilitates and provides leadership for many issues related to innovation in learning and teaching, and provides a platform for much of the school’s medical and health care education research.

About HPEU

The HPEU focuses on four key strategic priorities:

  • Scholarship

  • Research

  • Educational programmes

  • Consultancy

The emphasis and balance of these different facets of the Unit’s activity changes from time to time, with impact often most measurable in the areas of overlap as colleagues work collaboratively.  As a result, Hull York Medical School is able to demonstrate flexibility and agility as priorities emerge and evolve, particularly in relation to the rapid rate of change in NHS service configuration and the national context of health and social care.

Each domain has clarity and direction but the ability to harness this collective expertise and experience brings the real added value to our work across the school.


Research groups within the HPEU are active and agile, with current core themes centred around the interpretation of large data sets and workforce development. This work is led by Dr Paul Tiffin and Dr Gabrielle Finn. Collaboration and scale is key to our success, with all colleagues encouraged to forge effective alliances with other education departments, faculties and institutions.

We are delighted that in the academic year 2017-18 a key priority has been to establish a number of PhD studentships linked to MB BS (undergraduate medicine) curriculum development, as well as the broader health professional education agenda. These currently include but are not limited to:

  • Assessment of problem-based learning and professionalism

  • Teaching basic sciences in the later, more clinically focused years of a health professional course

  • The impact of longitudinal clinical placements

  • Interprofessional learning

If you are interested in studying with us at PhD level please contact us at:

The Hull York Medical School  MSc in Health Professions Education has also provided an interesting range of research projects, including:

  • Utilisation of simulated patients to teach communication skills

  • A curriculum for social accountability in GP training

  • Clinical reasoning in dental education

  • A randomised control trial of personalisation theory in multimedia presentations

  • Training needs for those involved in unexpected child death

We also provide support for NIHR Academic Clinical Fellows, other Academic Clinical Fellowships, intercalated students, as well as education related Student Scholarship and Special Interest Projects.

View our staff's research publications on their individual profile pages.


As well as on-going support for curriculum innovation and change management, the HPEU also offers a wide portfolio of scholarship, knowledge transfer, quality improvement, audit, and curriculum development.

This range of activities can result in fledgling research questions, whilst at other times the emphasis is placed more on how pedagogic research findings can inform and guide the work of our teachers as scholars.

We are committed to providing a collegial and supportive academic environment where colleagues feel they can challenge the status quo, harness support for change in their respective programmes, and identify common purpose and opportunities to be innovative. This year we have identified two key priority workstreams for scholarship:

  • Problem-based learning

This work is led by Dr Marie Cohen, and includes collaboration with colleagues at our parent Universities such as the Law School at the University of York, sharing best practice across the UK medical school sector as well as working further afield, collaborating and engaging in exchange visits with colleagues in Denmark.

  • Clinical reasoning

This work is led by Dr Anna Hammond and Dr Janine Henderson, and includes the practical application of the current evidence base and how this develops and enhances the undergraduate medicine curriculum. The implications of the subsequent approach to student assessment and the need for a supportive and coherent tutor development programme has been a cornerstone of this work.

Seminar series

The HPEU also facilitates an annual seminar series which provides:

  • Academic conversation/forum on medical/health care education

  • Tutor and staff training and development e.g. workshop series, journal club

  • Space for working groups on curriculum innovation and sharing of best practice


The Hull York Medical School now offers a developing portfolio of academic programmes at postgraduate level as well as our flagship five year medical degree.

The HPEU conducts a range of activities to support all learning, teaching and assessment across the school. In addition, it also increasingly undertakes a schedule of regular and on-off activities, including short courses, which support our educators through a series of ‘how to’ sessions, including:

  • how to supervise a student/junior member of the team

  • how to give feedback

  • how to deliver an educational talk

These sessions are more aligned to ‘top tips’ and practical guidance than our academically rigorous accredited programmes, and are always very well evaluated. Please do contact us if you are interested in joining any of these sessions. All ideas and suggestions welcome:

In addition, the HPEU also provides:

  • bespoke staff development courses for Hull York Medical School academic and clinical tutors

  • student teaching programmes, including peer medical student teaching; the FY1 as a teacher; and the role of the PA as a teacher


The Hull York Medical School is increasingly approached by other medical schools (both in the UK and abroad) to assist and support with set up and development in the current context of globalisation in medical and health care education. The school has well-established collaborative links with fellow researchers across the world, and so the work of the HPEU is very much focussed on our nurture of international partnerships in educational development.

We currently are in the process of implementing an international strategy that will focus on the development of an effective infrastructure to support our growing portfolio of international work. This will also provide clarity on our key international principles, including our aim to fulfil a social mission and support global health teaching and education.

For more information about consultation and collaboration with the HPEU, please contact Professor Ian Watt, Professor of Primary and Community Care, at




Head of Unit

  • Dr Gabrielle Finn - Director of HPEU, Senior Lecturer in Medical Education and Postgraduate Director for MSc, Dip and Cert in Health Professions Education

Academic and research staff

Programme tutors

Postgraduate students

  • Lauren Aylott - PhD student




Gabrielle M. Finn, Lazaro Mwandigha, Lewis W. Paton, Paul A. Tiffin (2018), The ability of ‘non-cognitive’ traits to predict undergraduate performance in medical schools: a national linkage study. BMC Medical Education, 18:93

Laughey, W. , Sangvik Grandal, N. and M Finn, G. (2018), Medical communication: the views of simulated patients. Med Educ. . doi:10.1111/medu.13547

Connolly, S. A., Gillingwater, T. H., Chandler, C. , Grant, A. , Greig, J. , Meskell, M. , Ross, M. T., Smith, C. , Wood, A. and Finn, G. (2018), The Anatomical Society's core anatomy syllabus for undergraduate nursing. J. Anat., 232: 721-728. doi:10.1111/joa.12782

Finn, G. M., Hitch, G. , Apampa, B. , Hennessy, C. M., Smith, C. F., Stewart, J. and Gard, P. R. (2018), The Anatomical Society core anatomy syllabus for pharmacists: outcomes to create a foundation for practice. J. Anat., 232: 729-738. doi:10.1111/joa.12787

Finn, G. M., Connolly, S. A., Gillingwater, T. H. and Smith, C. F. (2018), Putting gross anatomy into the curriculum: New anatomy syllabi for nursing and pharmacy students. American Association of Anatomists. doi:10.1002/ase.1781

Justine J. Aka, Natalie E. Cookson, Frederic W. Hafferty, Gabrielle M. Finn (2018), Teaching by stealth: utilising the hidden curriculum through body painting within anatomy education. European Journal of Anatomy, 22 (2), 173-182.

Lewis W. Paton, Paul A. Tiffin, Daniel Smith, Jon S. Dowell and Lazaro M. Mwandigha (2018), Predictors of fitness to practise declarations in UK medical undergraduates. BMC Medical Education 18:68.

Finn, G. M., Hitch, G., Apampa, B., Hennessy, C. M., Smith, C. F., Stewart, J. and Gard, P. R. (2018), The Anatomical Society core anatomy syllabus for pharmacists: outcomes to create a foundation for practice. J. Anat.. doi:10.1111/joa.12787

Connolly, S.A., Gillingwater, T. H., Chandler, C., Grant, A. W., Greig, J., Meskell, M., Ross, M. T., Smith, C. F., Wood, A. F. and Finn, G. M. (2018), The Anatomical Society's core anatomy syllabus for undergraduate nursing. Journal of Anatomy. doi: 10.1111/joa.12782


Postgraduate research opportunities

We are pleased to offer three fully-funded PhD opportunities focusing on innovation in the delivery of medical education, co-supervised by the Director of our Health Professions Education Unit Dr Gabrielle Finn and our MB BS Programme Director Professor Martin Veysey. The closing date for applications is 13 July. Please see the PhD advert for details.

Seminar series

To register for any of our seminars please email

Assessing Problem Based Learning
Professor Martin Veysey, Programme Director MB BS, Hull York Medical School

Tuesday 22 May 2018, 12noon - 1pm

Assessing Problem Based Learning

Professor Martin Veysey, Programme Director MB BS, Hull York Medical School

Date: Tuesday 22 May 2018, 12noon – 1pm


  • University of York: Second Floor Meeting Room, Hull York Medical School Building
  • University of Hull: Meeting Room 4, Allam Medical Building
  • NHS sites: Videolink using Virtual Room 1001

How to register:

About the seminar

Martin Veysey is the Programme Director, MB BS at Hull York Medical School, Professor of Gastroenterology and Honorary Consultant Gastroenterologist at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Martin has extensive experience in both undergraduate and postgraduate education in both his current role, and previous roles at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He passionately believes that problem based learning (PBL) is the best way to educate healthcare professionals.

In this seminar, Martin will outline the challenge that if “assessment drives learning” then a problem with PBL is assessment. Whilst assessment is not the only factor influencing learning in a PBL course, it can undermine the benefits of it, with students focusing on examinations, rather than the problems. Martin will propose that if we are to avoid a slow and painful drift away from the ideals of PBL, and its demise, we will need to adapt and refocus our assessments to ensure the benefits of PBL are retained for health professional education. Drawing on his experience of PBL in both the UK and Australia, he will present three potential options on how to enable PBL to flourish again and will invite the audience to debate the pros and cons of each approach. 

Emotional intelligence in education: Development of SJTs and meta-analysis predicting academic achievement
Carolyn MacCann, University of Sydney

Thursday 24 May 2018, 12noon-1pm

Emotional intelligence in education: Development of SJTs and meta-analysis predicting academic achievement

Carolyn MacCann, University of Sydney

Date: Thursday 24 May 2018, 12noon-1pm

Location: Berrick Saul 104 (Tree House), University of York

About the seminar

Emotional intelligence as well as social and emotional learning are increasingly used in both educational research and classroom applications. In this talk, I cover two key questions for social-emotional skills in education research and practice: (1) whether EI relates to student achievement; and (2) how EI can be measured. In part 1, I present the results of a recent large meta-analysis on the relationship between emotional intelligence and academic performance. In a total sample of 45,368 (k=188), emotional intelligence showed a moderate relationship with academic performance (rho = .27). This relationship was stronger for secondary school students than university students. The relationship also differed depending on how EI was measured--self-ratings showed a weaker relationship compared to ability tests. In the second part of the talk, I discuss the development of ability tests of EI, focusing on the Situational Test of Emotion Management (STEM). I include extensions into multi-media presentations, the Youth version, and discuss measurement issues in situational judgment test development (item format, instruction type, and scoring procedures).


Carolyn MacCann is an Associate Professor at Sydney University’s School of Psychology. She received her PhD from Sydney University in 2006, and has completed post-docs at the Educational Testing Service (Princeton, NJ, USA) and the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW). Her research has focused on two main areas: (a) psychological testing and test development, particularly of noncognitive constructs (“soft skills” like personality, emotional competencies, time management, and teamwork), and considering non-standard methods such as situational judgment tests, and multi-media assessment; and (b) emotional intelligence, including both measurement issues, the prediction of key educational outcomes, and the processes by which emotional intelligence affects such outcomes.

Supporting the transition of overseas doctors
Dr Amelia Kehoe, Research Associate, School of Medical Education, Newcastle University 

Tuesday 19 June 2018, 12noon-1pm

Supporting the transition of overseas doctors

Dr Amelia Kehoe, Research Associate, School of Medical Education, Newcastle University

Date: Tuesday 19 June 2018, 12noon-1pm


  • University of York: 2nd floor meeting room, Hull York Medical School
  • University of Hull: Meeting room 4, Allam Medical Building
  • NHS sites: Virtual room 1001

How to register:

About the seminar

Amelia gained a PhD in Medical Education from Durham University, thesis entitled ‘A study to explore how interventions support the successful transition of Overseas Medical Graduates to the NHS: Developing and refining theory using realist approaches'. This PhD was funded by North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust in order to evaluate their ‘Programme for Overseas Doctors’ and to explore the overall impact of interventions to help support overseas doctors in their transition. Amelia is currently working on a number of projects, both regional and national, that are utilising the theoretical framework developed in her PhD to feed into the design of their specific interventions for IMGs (e.g. refugee doctors, GP, psychiatry). 

Amelia’s background is in Occupational Psychology, however her interest has recently moved to Medical Education, particularly postgraduate training, transitions and Realist methodology. Amelia is currently employed as a Research Associate within the School of Medical Education at Newcastle University.  The majority of her time is spent supporting a project funded by the Department Of Health, looking at the impact of educational interventions on patient benefit. 

This talk will focus on a recent realist project that explored how interventions support the successful transition of overseas doctors to the National Health Service. Both a realist synthesis and realist evaluation were adopted. The findings illustrated that three key contextual levels; organisational, training and individual, will likely impact on the adjustment of overseas doctors (including performance, retention, career progression and wellbeing). One of the main outcomes of this thesis is a transferable, theoretical explanation of how interventions can successfully support the transition of overseas medical graduates to the NHS. This theoretical model will be discussed in detail. Step by step processes of the realist approach will also be presented. This worked example of how to conduct a realist study intends to increase understanding of the approach and provide tips for success in using a similar approach. Challenges faced and lessons learnt will be presented