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 platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Blackboard. 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 regional office will be directing you to.   

There are also plans for a couple of face-to-face sessions during the fellowship year to facilitate networking, and therefore prospective Fellows need to be prepared to travel for these.  

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 regions.  

What is the salary? 

NHS England 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. For the current cohort, HEE provides up to £30,000 per Fellow to support their 0.4 Full-Time Equivalent on the fellowship (i.e. 2 days).    

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 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. This includes clinicians and staff from the supporting professions. For the full criteria please refer to the Rough Guide. 

The eligibility criteria states that clinicians must be appropriately registered/licensed, how do I find out whether I meet this (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’s Population Health Management (PHM) Academy about development opportunities and resources.  For more information on PHM please email england.phmsupport@nhs.net

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. However, if you feel you can, you will need approval from your Training Programme Director (TPD).    

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 staff in substantive posts who meet the eligibility criteria. 

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 a developmental programme intended for healthcare professionals that have no significant 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 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 5th September 2023. 

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

You can also find these details and other information on our 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.  

If I am successful, can I defer my place? 

No. Although, this is the fourth year of the fellowship, a fifth 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 because the learning programme has fixed dates.

How often does the fellowship run? 

This is the fourth year of the fellowship. A fifth 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 5th of September 2023 for all 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?  

No. It is also open to staff who are in a substantive public sector role that is relevant to population health (e.g. social care).

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

Currently the fellowship does not lead to a formal qualification/award. However, we are working towards this because the fellowship is a developmental programme that involves lots of learning. Population health skills are highly sought after and members of the alumni have progressed to leadership positions in various local and national organisations.

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.