After graduating in medicine from the University of Adelaide Professor McNeil undertook specialist training to become qualified as a consultant in internal medicine and clinical pharmacology. He completed a PhD in Clinical Pharmacology at Melbourne University and was awarded a National Heart Foundation overseas postgraduate research scholarship to study epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. In subsequent years he has held clinical appointments as a visiting specialist physician at the Austin, Alfred and Monash Health.
Professor McNeil’s research interests have been focused on the application of epidemiological methods to problems in clinical medicine public health. this has included the development (along with Chris Reid, Mark Nelson, Robyn Woods and others) of a strategy to undertake large community-based intervention trials. He initiated the ASPREE trial of low-dose aspirin in the elderly which is the largest trial conducted within Australia. The intervention phase of this study was completed in June 2017 and was reported in a trio of papers in the October 2018 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. He also initiated and achieved funding for various sub-studies of ASPREE which will ensure that ASPREE will become a valuable epidemiological resource for the study of the elderly.
Professor McNeil has played a leadership role in the development of clinical quality registries and their application to monitoring the safety and quality of medical care. The University has become a major centre for clinical quality registries covering trauma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, rare diseases, and high-risk drugs and devices. The Registry Science Unit at Monash has also become a leader in developing registry policy in areas covering governance, data management, and ethics.
His broader leadership roles have included service on the Boards of Management of the Alfred and Austin Hospitals, Ambulance Victoria, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority, Orygen Youth Mental Health Research Institute, Dunlop Medical Research Foundation, the Colonial Foundation, the Victorian Public Health Research, and Education Consortium and Water Quality Australia.
Dr John McNeill is on the Editorial Board of European Cardiology Review.