HSMA 5 is Launching October 2022!

Posted : April 26, 2022 - /

Operational Research and Data Science approaches – such as Machine Learning – can play a vital role in supporting the delivery of health, social care and policing services. Increasingly, such skills are proving to be important components of the analytical function of organisations in these sectors.

In 2016, we launched the Health Service Modelling Associates (HSMA) Programme (https://sites.google.com/nihr.ac.uk/hsma) – an innovative and now entirely online training and mentoring programme in which staff working in health, social care and policing organisations are released for a day a week for a year to work on a modelling, simulation or data science project that addresses an issue of importance for their organisation. HSMA projects have led to £multi-million investments in mental health and urgent care services (https://arc-swp.nihr.ac.uk/news/torbay-hospital-mental-health-facility/), the establishment of brand new modelling and Data Science roles within NHS organisations (https://arc-swp.nihr.ac.uk/news/ground-breaking-role-for-operational-research-in-nhs-decision-making/), support for the COVID-19 mass vaccination programme (https://arc-swp.nihr.ac.uk/news/hsma-covid-vaccination-model/) and significant career progression for the analysts involved. The programme was recently hailed as a flagship national example of the capacity building work of the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations, and you can read more about some of the stories of our past and present HSMAs here : https://arc-swp.nihr.ac.uk/news/data-science-capacity-building/

The programme is split into two phases. In Phase 1 (October – December), participants are taught a huge range of skills in Operational Research and Data Science via live online lectures and group exercises, including:

– Programming in Python and R (no prior knowledge of programming required)

– Discrete Event Simulation to model pathway and queuing problems

– System Dynamics and Network Analysis to model whole systems

– Geographic Modelling and Visualisation methods to model location issues

– Agent Based Simulation to model behaviour

– Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches, such as Machine Learning to teach machines to make decisions, and Natural Language Processing to extract information from free text data

– Forecasting methods to make predictions about the future

– Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) development methods and tools

At the end of Phase 1, HSMAs are asked to pitch a project idea to work on in Phase 2 (January – September), that addresses an issue of importance for their organisation and which will lead to significant impact. Successful HSMAs lead a project team and receive ongoing mentoring and support from an experienced academic, and organisational support and supervision from a senior member of the HSMA’s own organisation.

Following a hugely successful national pilot of the programme, I am delighted to announce that we are launching HSMA 5 in October 2022. We have 100 places available on the programme, which is open to anyone working for non-commercial organisations in health, social care or policing anywhere in England and completely free of charge.

We also have an additional 10 places available for those wishing to apply to our Trainee Mentor Scheme. This scheme is open to those with prior experience of applied Operational Research and / or Data Science, such as academics, practitioners, and HSMA alumni. The scheme offers access to the same HSMA training programme, but trainee mentors will support one of the chosen HSMA projects in a mentoring role in Phase 2, providing an opportunity to collaborate on applied, impactful research projects and co-author publications with those working in health, social care and policing organisations. Trainee Mentors are fully supported throughout the process by an experienced team of academics.

To be eligible to apply to be a student on the HSMA programme, you must :

– be currently based in a non-commercial health, social care or policing organisation (or related organisation, such as Public Health or a third sector organisation) in England

– either be working in an analytical role, or have some prior experience and skills in analysis, mathematics or computing (for example, you may be a clinician or a manager who has an interest in computer modelling or Data Science)

– have full support from your organisation to commit to the programme

– not have undertaken the HSMA Programme previously

To be eligible to apply to be a trainee mentor on the HSMA programme, you must :

– be an existing academic, practitioner or HSMA alumnus with experience in applied Operational Research or Data Science

– be able to commit to undertaking the HSMA training sessions

– be able to commit a minimum of 10% FTE (half a day a week) between January and September 2023 to mentor a project

– have full support from your organisation

– Applications are welcome from existing or previous trainee mentors, although preference will be given to those who have not been part of the scheme before

A Virtual Open Day for HSMA 5 will be held online on 21st June 2022 0930 – 1230. At this event, participants will have a chance to hear more about the programme and have an opportunity to speak with the HSMA trainers as well as current and past HSMAs about their projects and their experience of the programme. Participants will also get the chance to experience a mini “taster” HSMA lecture to get a feel for the programme. Attendees will also have the opportunity to speak directly with the HSMA Programme Lead in an additional optional session running from 1230 – 1300 on the same day.

To register your interest in the programme and to indicate whether or not you can attend the open day, please complete your details here : https://tinyurl.com/35anvjpc Applications for the programme will launch on the same day as the open day, and those who have registered their interest using the link above will automatically be sent an application pack. Those who additionally indicate that they would like to attend the open day will be sent joining details nearer the time. We would encourage anyone interested in applying for the programme to attend the open day if possible. Please note that if you previously registered your interest for the previous round of the programme (HSMA 4) you will need to re-register your interest using the link above to be sent the application pack for HSMA 5 and confirm your attendance at the open day.

We are incredibly excited to continue our national expansion of the HSMA programme, and we hope that you will consider being part of this flagship programme. Should you have any queries about the programme, please contact the HSMA Programme Lead Dr Daniel Chalk via penchord@exeter.ac.uk.

We would also encourage you to forward this email to any colleagues or other contacts who may be interested in the programme.

Very best wishes,

Dr Daniel Chalk

Senior Research Fellow in Applied Healthcare Modelling and Analysis and HSMA Programme Lead

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for the South West Peninsula (PenARC)