Public Health Training Policy

UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care - Public Health Training Policy
Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH);
Research Department of Infection and Population Health (IPH); and
Department of Applied Health Research (DAHR).

Outline of the public health training policy

By the end of the first month of the placement, the registrar and attachment supervisor should read and sign the educational agreement and send a copy to the educational supervisor.

Education and learning - Organised learning programme

All registrars will be expected to attend the monthly London/KSS training days and other relevant training courses organised by the London/KSS PH training scheme. These cover topical issues and also allow registrars to network with their peers.

Clinical academic fellows will be expected to obtain an MSc in a relevant discipline during their first one or two years in post. Those who already hold a relevant MSc will be encouraged to attend relevant short courses at UCL, or at LSHTM if not held at UCL, to fill identified gaps (eg research methods or statistics). These may be modules of Masters courses or specific courses run by the Departments (eg statistics) for post-graduate students and for staff.
Each department holds weekly seminars that all registrars will be expected to attend. These sometimes feature external speakers but most weeks provide an opportunity for staff to present their current or recent research. Most research groups also hold regular meetings at which research presentations are made and discussed. In addition to attendance as a core part of the learning programme provided, registrars will be encouraged to present at these fora.

Study time and leave

The departments will abide by London / KSS PH training scheme rules for study leave. Registrars will be encouraged to submit their findings to national and international conferences and, if accepted, to apply to the training programme for study leave and funding for this. Except for registrars on the academic training track, the time taken to obtain results from projects undertaken and the lead-in time before conferences will mean that most registrars will submit work during or shortly after their academic placement but the conference will not take place until the registrar has already moved to their next placement.
Being academic placements, the distinction between personal study time and work is blurred compared with working in a service department. For example, searching for and reading relevant literature could be considered study time but is an essential component of most work within an academic department. Study leave requests will be considered sympathetically, provided they are relevant to the registrar’s agreed learning objectives and necessary funding can be identified.

Educational resources

Public health registrars will be able to attend relevant courses run by the UCL Staff Development and Training Unit to meet development needs identified by the registrar and supervisor. Available courses include giving presentations effective writing, time management. literature searching, grant writing, research and project management, research finance, and teaching and medical education. Registrars will have access to UCL’s extensive libraries at each campus and online.

All public health registrars will be part of an Academic Public Health Learning Set. This will address specific skills and will also provide peer support for the pre- and post-doctoral academic registrars at UCL and LSHTM. The objectives will be: to identify any learning and development needs; to share existing knowledge and expertise; to identify academic staff at UCL, LSHTM or elsewhere who can help to meet these learning needs; to discuss proposed research projects with peers; and to act as a focus where problems can be discussed before raising them with the appropriate supervisors or with the London Academic Public Health Training Committee.
Attendance at relevant sessions of the UCL generic course in basic research methodology will provide valuable networking opportunities with academic fellows from other disciplines.

On the job experience - Training experience

Each registrar will have a principal research project with which they will be associated. They will usually also be involved less intensively with other work within their research group and, where relevant, across the department. Depending on their level of seniority and the duration of their attachment, registrars will be involved in all aspects of research, from conception to publication and presentation, including searching and reviewing literature, critical appraisal, making a grant application, detailed planning, applying for research ethics approval, recruitment, data collection, management, analysis and interpretation, and trouble-shooting. In most cases, it will not be possible for a registrar to be involved fully in each aspect of research, nor to experience all these stages of a single study but opportunities will be sought during the attachment to expose registrars to as many aspects of research as possible, to develop the skills involved in carrying out the research rather than just observing them. Registrars will have the opportunity to teach (a required public health competency), but any teaching load will be modest.

Registrars on the academic tracks will spend part of their time in the university training location and some (often more) of their time in a service location. EPH and IPH have strong links with North London PCTs and with the London Health Observatory, enabling close collaboration between attachment trainers and educational supervisors across locations and the possibility of devising work programmes that are linked across the two locations. IPH has particularly strong links with the HPA Centre for Infections and North London Health Protection Units.

All the project supervisors and attachment trainers in the joint programme have considerable experience of research, of training, and of developing junior staff. This expertise enables the two departments to provide a range of training experiences, selected to match both the interests of the registrars and their learning needs, within a combined training location that encompasses a range of research groups, techniques, and topics.

On the job experience - Supervision
Each registrar will have an agreed Project Supervisor / Attachment Trainer, chosen from a list of experienced individuals who meet the revised FPH / PMETB criteria and have been approved for this role by the Deanery. A record of training supervision is kept.
The project supervisor / attachment trainer will meet the registrar for at least one hour per week (for WTE) for regular discussion both of specific projects and for general educational purposes.

Working with other staff

As part of the placement, the registrar would be encouraged to meet senior staff in other research groups in the department and also to visit the other department within the training location. This is particularly important for the Academic Clinical Fellows, who need to find an area of research interest early in their training for both their MSc project and as the basis of a bid for PhD funding. Where projects are supervised by staff who are not FPH trainers, the registrar will also have regular contact with one of the named trainers.
In general, registrars working within a research group will have day-to-day contact with a number of staff within that group and regular, though less frequent, interaction with most members of the group.

Page last modified on 29 oct 12 15:37