Education & Training

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The NZCPHM administers the only public health training programme in New Zealand for Public Health Medicine Specialists.  The training programme is well respected and our graduates are in demand in New Zealand and internationally. 

The training programme provides opportunities for Registrars to develop their expertise in the practice of public health medicine.  It offers teaching, guidance and development of core skills and professional attributes to prepare Registrars for the variety of roles and challenges encountered in the workplace. The training programme's Graduate Profile is available here.

Having completed the training programme, Fellows participate in the Tracking of Professional Standards (TOPS) Programme. If a Fellow chooses not to participate in TOPS, then they must enrol in an alternative Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme approved for Public Health Medicine Specialists by the Medical Council of New Zealand.

  • AboutOpen or Close

    In this section you will find information about the NZCPHM Training Programme including:

    • Eligibility
    • Content and Length of Training
    • Programme Standards
    • Completion of the Training Programme


    The New Zealand Training Programme in Public Health Medicine requires Registrars to undertake appropriate vocational training and pass prescribed assessments.  To be considered for entry into the NZCPHM Training Programme, applicants must:

    • hold general registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand;
    • have a current Practising Certificate;
    • have at least two years post graduate experience; and
    • hold New Zealand permanent residency or citizenship.

    Content and Length of Training

    The Training Programme requires the Registrar to:

    • Undertake Basic Training by completion of a Masters in Public Health to the standard required by the College, as well as participation in other training activities. Basic Training lasts 16 months.
    • Undertake Advanced Training by employment at approved training sites as well as participation in other relevant training activities outside the work site. Advanced Training lasts 29 months.
    • Demonstrate the core skills and professioanl attributes for Public Health Medicine and pass all assessments.

    Registrars with previous experience or training in Public Health Medicine may apply to the College for a reduction in training time.


    The overall standards of the Training Programme, and the core skills and professional attributes that Registrars must achieve, are defined by the College and approved by the Medical Council of New Zealand. Throughout the period of training, the College monitors the quality of the Training Programme, and the achievements and standards of individual Registrars. The Training Programme is delivered by the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine, with funding from Health Workforce New Zealand, a business unit of the National Health Board, Ministry of Health.


    Having successfully completed the Training Programme, Registrars are eligible to apply for Fellowship of the College and to apply to the Medical Council of New Zealand for vocational registration in the scope of Public Health Medicine.

    If you have any questions about the training programme or your eligibility, please contact us.

  • ApplyOpen or Close

    Any medical practitioner wishing to be considered for the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine Training Programme must formally submit an application form and the required supporting information.

    Recruitment to the Training Programme is undertaken annually. Applications to the Training Programme open in May and close 14 June. The application form and required information must be submitted electronically to the College office by the closing date in June and all referee reports received by the last working day of June via email to  An application fee applies; the fee for 2019 is $515 inc. gst. A reduced fee of $260 inc. gst. applies where an applicant makes a second application in the following year. If the applicant is in a situation of financial hardship, they should contact the General Manager of the College to discuss a reduced application fee. Māori and Pacific applicants accepted into the training programme will have their application fees reimbursed upon commencement of training.

    Please note that applicants to the Training Programme must hold general registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand and have a current Practising Certificate. Applicants must also have at least two years of post graduate experience and hold New Zealand permanent residency or citizenship.

    Further information for potential Registrars is available here.


    The selection process takes place in July and August for positions commencing on 1 March of the following year. Training places are subject to the continued availability of funding from Health Workforce New Zealand.

    The selection process consists of:

    • assessment of the supporting information submitted with the application form, to determine applicants for short-listing; and
    • personal interview of short-listed applicants; and
    • written reports from two referees.

    Application Instructions

    Each applicant must supply all of the following information electronically, to the following specification:

    1. Application form: this must be completed and signed. Please provide full details, marked 'confidential', if you have ever been the subject of any disciplinary action in the past, or any disciplinary investigation is currently underway or pending.

    2. Reflective piece: a 300 to 500 word reflective piece of writing on why public health medicine is your chosen career. This document must be produced on a word processor.

    3. Curriculum vitae: a recently updated curriculum vitae including the names of two referees. Referees should be doctors with whom you have worked and who are agreeable to act as your referee; at least one should be from a public health background if possible. You will be sent a referee report form to send to your referees on receipt of your application. It will be your responsibility to send these forms to your referees for return to the College within the timeframe required. Your CV should draw attention to particular skills and experiences of potential relevance to public health medicine.

    4. Recent photograph: please submit a recent photograph of yourself with your application.

    5. Certificates and transcripts: scanned certified copies of relevant certificates and transcripts (including medical school qualification, current practising certificate, any previous public health qualifications claimed and academic transcripts).

    6. Identification: please include a certified copy of the pages from your passport recording your personal details, your birth certificate or other proof that you are a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand.

    7. Career Plan: a Career Plan is a requirement of Health Workforce New Zealand. To support your application please provide a copy of your current plan for your future in medicine.

    If you do not already have a Career Plan you can access the College Career Plan template here.

    Certificate of Professional Status: successful applicants will be offered a position on the Training Programme subject to receipt of a satisfactory Certificate of Professional Status from the Medical Council of New Zealand and any other regulatory body that they have been registered with within the last five years.

    It is important that ALL of this information is submitted electronically to the College office by the due date or the application will not be considered further. The information requested above is to submitted via email to

    Privacy Statement

    Information provided with applications is only used by the Training Programme for the purposes of selecting Registrars.

    For applicants accepted into the Training Programme, application information is retained until the Registrar is granted Fellowship of the College. Information relating to Registrars is accessed by the Training Programme Director and Training Programme Supervisors, the auditor, officers of the College and Training Programme and, if the need arises, a legal advisor. Once training commences, the details of each Registrar are also supplied to Health Workforce NZ for funding purposes.

    The application information relating to unsuccessful candidates is securely destroyed.

    No information submitted will be disclosed to parties other than those identified above. Applicants may request access to their information held by the Training Programme, and may identify corrections where that information is incorrect.

  • Scholarships & AwardsOpen or Close

    The John McLeod Fund

    Māori and Pacific Registrars in the NZCPHM Training Programme are eligible to apply for grants from the John McLeod Fund. These grants are intended to assist Registrars to further develop their competence in public health, particularly in relation to the public health of Māori and Pacific populations and communities in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

    For further information on the funding available and the application process, please click here.

    The Ken Newell prize

    The Ken Newell prize is awarded to a registrar for outstanding performance in the examination. There is one prize per year and it is not necessarily awarded every year. This award is presented at the College's Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) held in September or October every year.

    Scholarships available for Māori Trainee Interns and PGY1 & 2 Doctors for NZCPHM ASM 

    Scholarship information for the 2019 ASM will be released mid-2019.

    The NZ College of Public Health Medicine would like to encourage Māori trainee interns and PGY1 & 2 doctors to attend its Annual Scientific Meeting. The ASM is open to all who are interested in public health or interested in public health medicine as a career.

    To facilitate attendance, the College is offering four scholarships of up to $1,000 each. Find the application here

    Applications are closed for 2018 and will re-open mid-2019. 

    Recipent of 2018 NZCPHM Māori ASM Scholarship:

    "I felt incredibly privileged to be able to attend the NZCPHM annual scientific meeting. This meeting was filled with incredible and highly skilled professionals that had such enthusiasm for their jobs. It was so refreshing to listen to honest conversations about our peoples health; particularly focusing on past and present racism in our communities and how it impacts their health now." 

    Recipent of 2017 NZCPHM Māori ASM Scholarship:


    "This year I had the privilege as a scholarship recipient to attend the NZ College of Public Health Medicine ASM held in Wellington... I quickly discovered I shared a passion and similar viewpoints with many other registrars about New Zealand's healthcare. I have never been more excited to want to share and learn from each other and find ways in which I could to contribute to this programme once I start this training next year.

    I was particularly touched and wish to acknowledge the strong cultural identity and respect that the ASM showed.  From supporting Waitata during the awards session, to registrars presenting their Mihi, and meeting a number of leaders in Maori health research, being apart of these experiences allowed me to feel extremely welcomed and gave me a sense of belonging.  I cannot wait to begin Public Health Medicine next year and allow myself to be opened to a new world of health care.  Kia Ora." 

    Recipient of a 2016 NZCPHM Māori ASM Scholarship: 

    "I was particularly impressed by the quality of the speakers which provoked a lot of interesting discussion. The conference reminded me of the value of treating populations rather than individuals which we learnt at medical school but is quickly forgotten as a house officer. I also got to learn about the various career opportunities that public health physicians have and about their day to day activities". 

    2018 Continuing Professional Development Travel Scholarship

    The purpose of the CPD Travel Scholarship is to support NZCPHM members who have minimal continuing medical education allowance to travel to CPD events to develop their competence in public health medicine.

    This Travel Scholarship was established and approved by the College Council in May 2017 as a strategic initiative within the 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, and amount offered will be reviewed annually.

    The CPD Travel Scholarship criteria and conditions were reviewed by the Council in May 2018.

    The eligibility criteria are now that the applicant must:

    • Be a current financial member of NZCPHM
    • Provide details of access to other CME/CPD funds (this will be taken into account when considering applications)
    • Intend to attend a course/seminar/conference that addresses one or more public health competencies

    Funds may be used for travel and conference registration fees, with priority being given to members wishing to attend the NZCPHM ASM and/or Workshop.

    Funds available:

    The CPD Travel Scholarship fund for each calendar year will be allocated by the College Council. The annual fund will be divided equally between the two application rounds. The Council has approved $5,000 for the 2018 financial year (two rounds of $2,500) for this scholarship.

    The maximum amount a member can apply for in any one year is $2,500.

    Eligibility and Conditions:

    Full eligibly criteria and conditions are described in the NZCPHM CPD Travel Scholarship Policy.

    Application Dates:

    The second round of applications close on 30 June 2018. Scholarship application is by completion of the NZCPHM CPD Travel Scholarship application form and the completed form should be submitted electronically to the College office.


  • Training SitesOpen or Close

    In this section you will find the following information:

    • Site accreditation
    • Guidelines for training sites
    • Levels of accreditation
    • Standards
    • Policy and procedures for accredited sites
    • Application forms

    Employing a Public Health Medicine Registrar

    For information about Public Health Medicine Registrars (PHMR) and the benefits of becoming an accredited training site, please click here.

    Site Accreditation

    The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine has an Accreditation of Advanced Training Sites policy which defines the standards and supports the provision of quality training environments in the NZCPHM Training Programme.

    The College requires all Advanced Training Sites employing a Public Health Medicine Registrar to be accredited. This is consistent with the Medical Council of New Zealand's expectation that all NZ medical colleges have a formal process in place to accredit the training sites used for the training of Registrars.

    The term 'Advanced Training Sites' refers to nominated organisations or departments intending to provide work-based training for Public Health Medicine Registrars on one or multiple sites. These include, but are not limited to, Public Health Units of District Health Boards, Planning and Funding Units in District Health Boards, Primary Health Organisations, the Ministry of Health and non-government organisations.

    The Guidelines for Training Sites for Public Health Medicine Advanced Registrars are available here.

    Levels of Accreditation

    There are two levels of Accreditation - Provisional and Full.

    Provisional Accreditation is granted to new Advanced Training Sites if they meet all or almost all of the standards. Provisional Accreditation is valid for 6 months from the date that a Registrar commences work at the site,and the site should apply to the College for full accreditation 2-3 months before the provisional accreditation expires. 

    Full Accreditation will be granted to Advanced Training Sites if they meet all of the standards. Full accreditation is for a term of 3 years.


    • Provision of facilities/infrastructure for the Registrar
    • Support services in place for the Registrar
    • Opportunities for the Registrar to develop and demonstrate core Public Health Medicine skills
    • Workplace Supervisor and supervision in place for the Registrar
    • Balance between learning and service work for the Registrar

    To apply for site accreditation please use the Application for Accreditation of Advanced Training Site

    and read these documents:


  • FeesOpen or Close

    Training Fees for 2019

    • Application Fee $515.00 incl GST
    • Annual Associate Membership fee (for registrars in advanced training only) $348.00 incl GST - the NZCPHM also offers Associate Membership to qualified medical practitioners working in the arena of public health but who are not vocationally registered as a public health specialist
    • A reduced annual Associate Membership fee is available for low income registrars
    • Exam fee (in final year of training) $1030.00 incl GST
    • Recognition of Prior Learning Fee $288.00 incl GST
    • Non-member Recognition of Prior Learning Assessment Fee $1,200.00 incl GST


  • TOPSOpen or Close

    The Tracking of Professional Standards (TOPS) programme is a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme which aims to reflect the diversity of public health medicine practice in New Zealand. It recognises a range of activities in the following four areas:

    • Participation in continuing education activities
    • Informing and improving public health
    • Participation in peer review activities
    • Participation in cultural competency development

    TOPS runs on a three-year cycle basis (a triennium) with both annual and three yearly minimum requirements. Fellows are required to report CPD activities by entering information into their own TOPS page in the members section of this website.

    The Medical Council audits the CPD activity of all medical practitioners and regularly requests information from the College Office regarding Fellows' participation in TOPS. The Medical Council also requires that the College undertakes its own annual audit of 10% of TOPS participants.

    To enrol in TOPS or request more details, please email or phone the College office.