Public Health Medicine

Interim changes to program requirements

Interim requirements for trainees are now listed under training requirements in this handbook. This follows a review by the Faculty Training Committee, Faculty Assessment Committee and the Faculty Education Committee in Public Health Medicine.

Trainees are expected to satisfactorily complete the 2021 training program requirements where possible.

The interim changes made are to provide flexibility and support to trainees who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

See also COVID-19 FAQs and education and training changes.

Program overview

Public Health MedicineIn Advanced Training in Public Health Medicine, you'll explore in-depth specialty training in the health and care of populations, including health promotion, prevention of disease and illness, assessment of a community's health needs, provision of health services to communities and research. You will train under supervision and prepare for independent practice as a consultant. The program builds your skills through work-based learning and assessment tools.

Program updates

See announced interim changes to program requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Advanced Training in Public Health Medicine Program is evaluated biennially by the Faculty Training Committee (FTC) in Public Health Medicine to ensure that it’s in line with educational best practice. Changes in program requirements may occur and could impact your training plan. The College will provide sufficient notice prior to implementing any change. You must always ensure you’re following the correct requirements during your training.

Entry requirements

1. Medical registration

Prospective trainees must hold a:

  • full general medical registration with the Medical Board of Australia
  • OR
  • medical registration with general scope of practice with the Medical Council of New Zealand and a current practising certificate
2. Postgraduate clinical experience

New trainees must hold 3 years of postgraduate clinical experience comprised of:

  • an internship year containing regular face-to-face clinical patient contact
  • at least 1-year full-time equivalent clinical experience with regular face-to-face patient contact in addition to an internship year

Postgraduate clinical experience may also include up to 1-year of a full-time Master of Public Health.

3. Completed Master of Public Health (MPH) or equivalent

You must have completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) (or equivalent) that satisfies the 5 Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) compulsory core discipline areas:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Health Protection (includes Environmental Health and/or Communicable Disease Prevention and Control)
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Policy, Planning or Management

All MPH courses must be an assessed course, not an attendance course.

4. Approved training position

Applicants must have secured an approved training position at an accredited setting before commencing training.

The Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) isn’t able to offer or arrange training positions for trainees. Regional Education Coordinators (REC) may be aware of positions available in their area and can assist you.

Frequently asked questions

Public health is a non-clinical specialty. Why is there an emphasis on clinical experience?

Your prevocational training, which is the first 2 years after your medical education, provides you broad exposure to clinical medicine and the Australian/Aotearoa New Zealand healthcare system.

The Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils (CPMEC), comprised of Postgraduate Medical Councils in each state and territory of Australia and the Medical Council of New Zealand, is responsible for ensuring junior doctors have structured prevocational training with appropriate educational activities and assessments.

The CPMEC promotes competency development in a structured workplace environment and the importance of consolidating your learning as part of your preparation for a career in Public Health Medicine.

Can locum work be recognised as clinical experience?

No. Locum work doesn’t meet the CPMEC criteria as it’s unstructured training and lacks supervision. Therefore, it’s difficult to determine whether the required competencies and professional development for a prevocational doctor had been achieved through their locum work.

Can telehealth consultations be recognised as clinical experience?

Maybe. Telehealth consultations provided by general practitioners and specialists in response to COVID-19 restrictions may be acceptable if your clinical setting included capacity for face-to-face consultations and appropriate supervision.

Time spent working in services that solely provide telehealth consultations, where neither face-to-face patient contact nor appropriate supervision were provided, are unlikely to meet the requirements for previous clinical experience.

To discuss your situation, contact

Can a surgical assistant position be recognised as clinical experience?

No. While surgical assisting may provide patient contact, it does not allow for the development of independent decision-making skills under supervision. The development of these skills under supervision is a training requirement prescribed by CPMEC.

Can a home doctor service position be recognised as clinical experience?

No. Working for a home doctor service doesn’t meet the CPMEC criteria as it is unstructured training that lacks supervision and a structured assessment process.

Is part-time prevocational training allowed?

Yes, as long as your part-time work, which is calculated at a pro rata basis, meets the training period full-time equivalent for clinical experience.

Further information on accredited prevocational training sites/positions is available through the Postgraduate Medical Councils for each state and territory in Australia and the Medical Council of New Zealand.


Advanced Training in Public Health Medicine requires 3 years (36 months) of full-time equivalent (FTE) training.


Once you've completed all requirements of your training and the FTC in Public Health Medicine has recommended you for admission, the College will invite you to apply for Fellowship of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

New Fellows receive formal notification from the College of their successful admission to Fellowship and a letter confirming the completion of their training.

As a Fellow in active practice in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand or overseas, you’ll need to meet the annual requirements of the Continuing Professional Development program.

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