What’s it all about

In brief

The Health Foundation funds the Quality Improvement Fellowship – an opportunity to be embedded for a year within the Institute of Health Improvement, Boston, MA.

Talented clinical leaders are needed to drive lasting improvements to healthcare. The UK health system needs people who can bring real improvement that ultimately leads to high quality patient care.

However, in a high-pressured environment within the NHS it can be difficult for leaders keen to work on quality improvement to have the time and space needed for reflection and research. The Health Foundation Quality Improvement Fellowships aim to bridge that gap, giving fellows the time and space to think deeply about how to improve the quality of healthcare, backed up by rigorous academic and practical learning.

The aim is that on their return to the UK, fellows will integrate their learning into processes and procedures at their employing organisation to improve service delivery. Fellows will also work to promote quality improvement nationally, championing quality and sharing what they have learnt with colleagues from across the health service.

Programme structure

Health Foundation Quality Improvement Fellows spend a year at the IHI, where they combine academic learning with the development of practical skills. Fellows leave the USA with the tools and techniques for driving healthcare improvement in their own organisations.

The main focus of each fellowship is a research topic based around an improvement area of the fellow’s own personal interest and fit with the Health Foundation strategic priorities.

Each fellow will have a structured, individualised learning and work plan which includes intensive training in improvement skills, weekly seminars, attendance at IHI events, practical assignments and site visits to organisations doing exceptional work.

Key elements

  • A personalised programme of academic and practical learning at the IHI. Fellows follow the IHI’s core curriculum, choosing from a number of programmes.
  • Participation in the ‘Program in Clinical Effectiveness’ at the Harvard School of Public Health, an intensive seven-week course in quality improvement, statistics, epidemiology, decision science, economics and ethics.
  • A mentor who will provide support and guidance on meeting learning objectives.
  • The opportunity to become involved in IHI initiatives whilst in MA, contributing to strategy discussions, developing content and coaching participants.
  • Support with writing and publishing their research.
  • Strategic planning and review sessions.
  • Fellows will spend one week at the Health Foundation following the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in April 2014.
  • Engagement with Health Foundation initiatives on return to the UK.


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