The European Health Psychology Society has several grades of membership. The highest grade of membership that can be applied for in the Society is that of Fellow. A Fellowship is recognition of an exceptional contribution and is regarded as an honour. Fellows may designate their status with the letters ’FEHPS’ after their name.
Election to a Fellowship involves a substantial element of peer review using criteria which are to be viewed as general guidelines rather than a checklist of achievements. It is the nature of the Fellowships award that the decision making process takes time and applications will take several months to complete. An annual application deadline is in place with decisions expected before the next annual conference and opportunity for awarding fellowships.
Criteria for the award of EHPS Fellow
The criteria are summarised as follows:
- a current EHPS member for at least 2 years;
- a period of postgraduate work in health psychology has been completed (other than undergraduate training) for a total of at least 10 years;
- the candidate possesses an advanced knowledge of health psychology in at least one of its fields; and
- the candidate has made an ‘outstanding contribution’ to the advancement or dissemination of health psychology knowledge or practice either by his or her own research, training, publication or public service, or by organising and developing the work of others.
Definition of the Criteria
Criteria 1 and 2 - basic criteria which are subject to routine checks for eligibility.
Criterion 3 - it is generally assumed that people who have been involved in health psychology work for ten years or more will have gained an advanced knowledge of psychology in at least one field and will be able to provide evidence for this.
Criterion 4 - An ‘outstanding contribution’ is defined as applying to the dissemination, as well as to the advancement, of psychological knowledge or practice.
The outstanding contribution can be in several fields: practice; research; teaching; publications; public service; or by organising and developing the work of others.
This definition is intended to give equal weight to applications from psychologists in applied, professional and other non-academic fields, even if they have not published widely in scientific journals, as would be expected from academic psychologists.
Making the case for Criterion 4
To help the Fellowship Committee in arriving at a decision, applicants are required to make a case for how they believe they meet the criterion of an ‘outstanding contribution’. Two nominated Referees are similarly required to present a case for how they believe the applicant has made an ‘outstanding contribution’ to one or more areas of health psychology.
If an applicant is considered to meet the criteria, the Committee will confirm that election to Fellowship will be announced at the next annual EHPS conference Members Meeting. It is expected that except in exceptional circumstances, members will be available to accept their certificate of Fellowship at the Members Meeting. If required, the Committee may consult additional Assessors before reaching a decision.
What is an ‘outstanding contribution’?
An ‘outstanding contribution’ is one which will be recognised by those working in a related branch of health psychology. The work of the applicant will have to be known about, and held in esteem, well beyond his or her local environment, own department or service. As the Fellowship Committee is broadly representative of the main areas of health psychology activity, it is reasonable to expect that one or more members of the Committee should be aware of the work of a potential Fellow even though they may not know the candidate personally.
Doing a competent job for many years as, for example, the head of department or a service, will not, in itself, be sufficient to warrant the award of Fellowship. The Committee will look for evidence that the work of the applicant has contributed to the advancement and dissemination of health psychology knowledge.
For a contribution to be ‘outstanding’, it will have to have been communicated widely. This may be achieved by publishing the key aspects of the work in refereed journals, but other forms of publication and dissemination (e.g. conferences, workshops, substantial non-refereed journals, etc) can be equally appropriate. Without evidence of effective dissemination in some form or another, it will be difficult for a Committee to judge how the contribution under consideration could be outstanding in the dissemination of psychological knowledge or the practice of psychology beyond the purely local level.
An ‘outstanding contribution’ to the practice of health psychology must have made a difference to the application of psychological methods. This might, for example, involve the development of a new procedure which has shown to be valid, effective and of broad application. By definition, the new procedure will be known and accepted as important in the relevant area of health psychology. Elaborating an existing technique or method and applying it to new problems or client groups may also be considered an outstanding contribution to practice. Similarly, advanced casework employing innovative strategies could be considered applicable. The contribution would not be considered outstanding if it had not been disseminated through publications, conferences and teaching and is, therefore, not known in its particular area of health psychology.
An outstanding contribution through ‘public service’ would involve, for example, chairpersonship or membership of national committees constituted to set up guidelines for the development or application of health psychology knowledge in a particular area – for example, health promotion, disease prevention, health care delivery or patient management.
It is important to point out, though, that only the development, application or elaboration of health psychology knowledge and practice can be considered relevant to the award of a European Health Psychology Society Fellowship. Increasingly, people with degrees in psychology are making substantial and original contributions in other fields, but these contributions do always involve a distinctive application of psychology. Bringing psychology theory, knowledge and practice to influence institutions, major organisations or activities where there had been no such influence could, however, constitute an original contribution.
Clearly the contribution that a potential Fellow has made to training or organising and developing psychological services is relevant to the decision to award or not to award a Fellowship. Again, however, long service, dedication and competence will not be regarded as sufficient on their own to merit Fellowship status – there must be originality and the advancement of knowledge or practice.
Summary of Key Criteria
The following indicators could provide evidence of Criterion 4 (Outstanding contribution):
- evidence of peer-recognised innovation and originality in the applicant’s research/teaching/practice/public service;
- evidence of a contribution to one major area of knowledge or practice, beyond what is required for academic or professional competence;
- evidence of specific and significant ways in which the applicant has taken forward the knowledge or practice base in health psychology;
- evidence that the applicant has acquired a national, European or international reputation through making a major impact on a particular area of health psychology;
- evidence of the influence of an applicant’s expertise in health psychology on the development of national or international policy;
- evidence of the applicant’s expertise in health psychology influencing another discipline or profession (e.g. medicine; public health; nursing; pharmacy etc.)
- membership of a national or international committee (e.g. a central government advisory or task group, or an European Health Psychology Society or European Union working party or advisory group;
- evidence of effective dissemination of knowledge/practice with discernible outcomes in the public domain.
It should be noted that there is neither an expectation nor a requirement that all of these indicators should be achieved. The key issue is whether Criterion 4 is met (or not). This list of indicators sets out some of the ways that Criterion 4 might be met.
For all the reasons elaborated above, the Committee will be highly dependent on the information, and the case made, in the applications submitted by candidates and the supporting statements supplied by their Referees. Every application will have unique features and any arguments in support of the award of a Fellowship that candidates can make will be given full consideration by the Committee.