Health Service Modelling Associates Programme (HSMA)

Through our HSMA programme, we aim to build a culture and skills base through which simulation and modelling techniques are routinely used to support decisions within the NHS. The course supports participants to use Operational Research (OR) techniques within health service development and decision making.

Who can attend? 

The HSMA programme is designed for NHS staff from organisations in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. Associates are selected on the basis of their current role, their skills and experience with basic modelling, and the completion of our suite of training modules, as well as an evaluation of their proposed project.  

What will I learn? 

Associates are released for one day a week for up to a year from their substantive roles to undertake advanced modelling, simulation and analysis work on specific projects within their own organisations. They receive mentoring, support and training from our operational research team, whilst being supported in their own organisation by an HSMA Workplace Supervisor. This supervisor facilitates the implementation of the associate’s project and helps champion the work within their wider organisation.  

The programme is divided into two distinct phases: 

Phase 1: Foundations of Health Service Modelling. This phase takes the full cohort through three months of training in Operational Research concepts, pathway modelling, geographic modelling and visualisation, ‘soft’ skills (such as meeting facilitation and engaging with stakeholders), problem structuring and implementation planning. Training is spread across six days in a three month period. During Phase 1, participants are supported to develop a project proposal to pursue in Phase 2.  

At the end of Phase 1, five to seven participants are selected to progress to Phase 2 of the programme. Phase 1 participants who are not selected to proceed to Phase 2 are able to proceed with other collaborative opportunities with PenARC and/or the South West Academic Health Science Network (AHSN). 

Phase 2: During this phase, associates receive advanced simulation development training to support them with their projects. The participants are released by their employers for one day a week for a further nine months to work on their projects with the support of our operational research team. 

The recording of a recent seminar “The Health Service Modelling Associates (HSMA) Programme – An Interactive Tour” can be found here.

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