Population Health Fellowship – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



What is population health? 

There are many definitions of population health, and it is proving to be an evolving discipline of medicine. The agreed definition across the NHS for population health is:  

Population health is an approach aimed at improving the health of an entire population.  It is about improving the physical and mental health outcomes and wellbeing of people, whilst reducing health inequalities within and across a defined population. It includes action to reduce the occurrence of ill-health, including addressing wider determinants of health, and requires working with communities and partner agencies.  

Is there a difference between population health and public health? 

Some use the term ‘population health’ interchangeably with ‘public health’. We suggest that population health describes an approach that can be applied across all of healthcare. Public health is the art and science of improving health and preventing disease across the whole of society, including in healthcare environments.  

What impact will the fellowship have in the wider healthcare? 

The formation of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), which is the latest structural reform within the NHS, is bringing together NHS providers, commissioners, and local authorities to work in partnership and take collective responsibility for the management of resources and improving population health in their area. ICSs will need the support of clinicians with population health skills. It is not sufficient for only Public Health Consultants/Practitioners to deliver population health. HEE’s multi-professional National Population Health Fellowship will develop a network of clinicians with population health skills to support ICSs to develop population health strategies to improve population outcomes.  

What days of the week will the fellowship days fall on? 

There will be 2 fellowship days every week. One of the days will be a Tuesday, which is a compulsory fellowship day that cannot be changed. Learning events will coincide with this day (Tuesday) thus ensuring all fellows will be available to attend the learning together. It will be up to the fellow, their employer, and the host organisation to agree the other fellowship day.  

Is there flexibility for changing the other agreed fellowship day once the programme has started?

Potentially. Fellows should discuss this with their employer and host organisation. However, please remember that Tuesday must always remain one of your fellowship days.

What is a virtual contact day? 

The Population Health Fellowship has a set of contact days spread throughout the year. These contact days will be delivered virtually via Microsoft Teams on Tuesdays. A contact day is a mandatory requirement of the programme and involves delivery of formal educational sessions. The contact days are in addition to other catch-up meetings and online learning events. There is also likely to be local learning events that your local HEE office will be directing you to.   

We are considering arranging face-to-face sessions, when appropriate, and therefore prospective fellows need to be prepared to travel for learning events.  

How are projects selected for the fellowship? 

Projects are designed based on the educational competencies of the fellowship and the needs of the local population of the host organisations. The projects are not designed to be ‘specialist’ in nature (i.e., relate directly to a prospective applicants’ area of practice, although in some cases they may), instead they are designed around the core competencies of population health. 

How many fellowships are there? 

It is intended that there will be a minimum of 3 posts in each of the seven HEE regions.  

What is the salary? 

HEE will make a contribution towards the Fellow’s costs and the substantive employer will remain responsible for the amount that individuals will be paid while participating in the fellowship.

Is there scope for me to put forward a project? 

Please see question 7. 

Is there an option to choose from a list of Host Organisations? 

Yes. Selected Host Organisations will advertise available posts. It is anticipated that each HEE region will advertise multiple posts.  

Can I choose my employing organisation as my Host Organisation? 

If your employing organisation has been successful in being selected as a Host Organisation, you can apply for their post(s).  



What are the eligibility criteria? 

The aim is to support early to mid-career healthcare professionals from diverse career paths. In all HEE regions the fellowship is open to fully registered or licensed healthcare professionals providing NHS services (AfC band 6 and above, or equivalent, dentists-in-training, doctors-in-training post FY2 and their SAS equivalent). Additionally, through a pilot, the fellowship is also open to the wider workforce (i.e. beyond the clinical professions). The availability of the pilot in each HEE region will depend on the suitability of the projects provided by the host organisations, therefore prospective applicants should contact their HEE regional office to confirm the availability of the pilot.

Below are further questions and answers detailing the eligibility further.  When you apply for the fellowship, you will see the person specification of the type of individual this learning programme may be most suited for.

How do I find out if I am an appropriately registered/licensed healthcare professional (if applicable)? 

Your professional regulatory body or accredited register should be listed with the Professional Standards Authority.  

I do not meet the eligibility criteria (e.g., I am a GP, Consultant, Dentist Principal, etc).  Are there other opportunities for population health development? 

Yes. We encourage you to sign up to the NHS England/Improvement’s Population Health Management (PHM) Academy about development opportunities and resources.  For more information on PHM please email england.phmsupport@nhs.net

I am a healthcare professional, but I am currently not working in a clinical capacity. I work in an area such as research or education, can I apply? 

You may apply to the pilot posts. Please see above for Question 1 (Eligibility Criteria), which explains the pilot for individuals that are not working in a clinical capacity. Subject to the suitability of the available projects, HEE will open the fellowship to the wider workforce.

I am an academic doctor-in-training, can I apply? 

It will be difficult for an academic doctor-in-training to undertake a population health fellowship in addition to their academic responsibilities and clinical responsibilities. Therefore, this fellowship will only be available for those Registrars currently on a clinical training programme.  

 I have completed a previous fellowship, can I apply? 

Applicants who have not undertaken previous fellowships will be prioritised over applicants who have experienced multiple fellowships.  

I am on a staff bank or work via an agency, can I apply? 

The fellowship is only open to NHS-employed staff or those providing NHS services working in permanent or fixed term posts (this includes training posts). 

I am self-employed, can I apply? 

This fellowship is only open to individuals working for NHS organisations (including independent primary care organisations) providing NHS services.  

I am a doctor-in-training approaching my CCT date, can I apply? 

Prospective doctors-in-training candidates should have at least 1 year left of their training programme from the start of the fellowship – this will ensure that fellows can pursue the full year of the fellowship. We are aware that GP training is short and prospective applicants in their ST3 year are encouraged to apply and seek support from the Postgraduate Dean about extending their training for the purposes of this fellowship. 

I work/train or have worked/trained in population health, can I apply? 

No. This fellowship is intended for healthcare professionals that have no experience, qualifications, or training in population health (this includes public health and global health qualifications).  

I am a doctor-in-training, will the fellowship count towards my CCT? 

This will be at the discretion of your Training Programme Director (TPD). It is recommended that you discuss this with the TPD before applying for the fellowship. 




When are the applications open? 

Selection process for the fellowship is being led by HEE regions. The application process is anticipated to open from the new year, with posts being advertised in February. The planned start date of the fellowship is Tuesday 6th September 2022. 

If you want to find out more details about the Population Health Fellowship scheme, please email the HEE contact in your region, which you can find in question 13.

You can also keep an eye on the HEE Population Health Fellowship website: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/population-health/population-health-fellowship for further information.

Do I need my employer’s permission to apply? 

Yes. Potential applicants will have to demonstrate this in writing at the interview stage. Individuals (e.g., some doctors-in-training) that work for via a Lead Employer will also need to demonstrate written approval from their Lead Employer.

What does the application process consist of? 

An online application form (with a CV) and an interview.  

Is there a person’s specification? 

Yes. Please refer to the Rough Guide.

If I am successful, can I defer my place? 

No. Although, this is the third year of the fellowship, a fourth year is not guaranteed and therefore prospective applicants interested in this programme are encouraged to apply in the upcoming application cycle. 

Does the programme allow for extensions in case of step-offs? 

This is currently not possible as it is a learning programme with a clear end date

How often does the fellowship run? 

This is the third year of the fellowship. A fourth year is not guaranteed and therefore prospective applicants interested in this programme are encouraged to apply in the upcoming application cycle. 

Is there flexibility for a delayed start? 

This is not possible due to the structure of the educational programme. The planned start date is on Tuesday 6th of September 2022 for all HEE regions.  

How will this fellowship affect my postgraduate medical training and rotations? 

Please discuss this with your Training Programme Director.

Is there an opportunity to do the fellowship for one day a week? 

No. It would not be possible to achieve the competencies of the fellowship in less than 2 days a week.

Is the Fellowship open only to NHS employees or does it include local authorities, charities and other organisations providing NHS services?  

The fellowship is open to staff outside of the NHS if, in their substantive role, they are providing NHS services and meet the eligibility criteria.  

Will I get a qualification/award on completion of the fellowship?  

The fellowship does not lead to a formal qualification/award. The fellowship is a developmental opportunity. Population health skills are highly sought after and some fellows from a previous population health fellowship have ended up working in leadership positions across the NHS and the wider healthcare system.  

Will my travel costs get covered?  

HEE will be providing funding to your substantive employer covering our contribution to your salary support and expenses related to the fellowship.  This includes the attendance at the Welcome and Celebration Events.  It is down to individuals to arrange their own travel through your organisational processes, and it is advised that all fellows check their employers’ Travel and Subsistence Policy before booking any travel to attend these events.   

All project-related travel costs (if applicable) should be agreed between the Host Organisation and the Fellow and processed by the Host Organisation.