Trinity Professor Awarded International Humanitarian Award

Posted on: 12 February 2014

Professor Malcolm MacLachlan, Professor of Global Health at the Centre for Global Health and the School of Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, has been awarded the American Psychological Association’s International Humanitarian Award for 2014. The award recognises extraordinary humanitarian service and activism by a psychologist or a team of psychologists working with underserved populations.

Professor MacLachlan’s work focuses on applying psychology to global health, with a special focus on disabilities, and addressing the rights and potential of vulnerable and marginalised groups. His work has been published in over 230 academic publications and 20 books.

On the occasion of the award the American Psychological Association drew particular attention to Professor MacLachlan’s policy activity: “He has provided input to the world’s leading decision makers such as the Development Advisory Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; the Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health; African Union’s Social Welfare Ministers; and the UN Commission on Social Development.”

“Professor MacLachlan’s work has had a significant policy impact, for example, EquiFrame, a tool developed to analyse the extent to which health and welfare policies address core concepts of human rights and the particular challenges faced by vulnerable groups, has been used since 2009 to analyse over 70 health and welfare policies. This tool was used to develop the first ever national health policy of Malawi.”

Speaking in response to the award, Professor MacLachlan commented: “The award reflects the efforts of many friends and collaborators, over many years, in many countries. I am delighted that our work has been recognised by the American Psychological Association.”

MacLachlan is a founding member of the Global Organisation for Humanitarian Work Psychology and of the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. He is a Fellow of the Psychological Society of Ireland, the British Psychological Society and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

He has consulted with numerous global non-governmental organisations and with the United Nations and its specialised agencies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF. He currently holds a leadership role in the knowledge management of two multicountry projects promoting the rights of people with disabilities (for the ILO in six countries and for the UNPRPD in 11 countries and territories) and is leading two international groups commissioned by the World Health Organisation to  make recommendations on workforce and governance aspects of rehabilitation services globally.