• NextGenU.org

  • Topic outline

  • About Us

    NextGenU.org is essentially the world's first free university (we're for credit, for free, unlike any other organization).  Starting with a focus in the health sciences, our accredited courses are being used by over 6,500 registered users in 191 (of 193) UN Member States/Countries, and we expect to achieve our ultimate outcome this Spring: the first globally free degree, a Master's in Public Health (now approved in Texas by UIW.edu, and awaiting final US-based accreditation in June 2019).

    Courses span from college-level pre-health sciences and community health worker trainings, through public health graduate training, and a MedSchoolInABox (codeveloped with Stanford, U of Toronto, and U Central Florida) that includes Graduate Medical Education. This educational system is not a set of Massive Open Online Courses -- courses are competency-based, and include online knowledge transfer, a web-based global peer community of practice, skills-based mentorships, and a free certificate. Our accredited partners, North American universities that are outstanding in each particular course topic, give learners credit for this training (or institutions can adopt them and use them with their students), all for the first time ever cost-free, and also advertisement-free, barrier-free, and carbon-free.  

    Founded in 2001, we globally launched our first full course in March 2012, with a dozen free, tested and accredited health sciences courses currently offered at NextGenU.org.  We will enroll our first residents (in Texas) in July 2019; we are developing these Preventive Medicine residencies with the American College of Preventive Medicine, CDC, European Lifestyle Medicine Organization, Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard, Stanford Medicine, WHO, and others to create the first globally-available Graduate Medical Education.

    We have tested and published on this free model in North American medicalpublic health, and undergraduate students, and in community health workers and primary care physicians in Kenya and in India, with as much knowledge gain and greater student satisfaction than with traditional courses, and the creation of a global community of practice.  And finally, NextGenU.org has a sustainable business model.  We have a $16 million endowment (from the Annenberg Physician Training Program) that covers many core expenses, and receive additional grants and contracts to create, test, and disseminate trainings from governments (e.g., $1.4 million from Grand Challenges Canada, US CDC), quasi-governmental organizations (e.g., NATO Science for Peace, WHO), universities, foundations, professional societies, and individuals.

    We are interested in working with you and your colleagues to co-create, co-offer, and/or co-evaluate trainings -- let us know what questions we can answer, and please contact our Founder, Dr. Erica Frank, MD, MPH, FACPM, at Erica.Frank@ubc.ca about research collaborations, TechSupport@NextGenU.org on technological questions, and info@NextGenU.org on all other matters.

  • FAQs

    NextGenU.org is essentially the world's first free university (we're for credit, for free, unlike any other organization). Starting with a focus in the health sciences, NextGenU's accredited courses span from college-level pre-health sciences and community health worker trainings through medical and public health graduate training, medical residency programs, and continuing medical education.

    We now have over 5,000 registered users over 190 countries, and will achieve our ultimate outcome shortly: the world's first free degrees, an MD and a Master's in Public Health.

    This educational system is not a set of Massive Open Online Courses -- courses are competency-based, and include online knowledge transfer, a web-based global peer community of practice, skills-based mentorships, and a free certificate. Our accredited partners, North American universities that are outstanding in each particular course topic, give learners credit for this training (or institutions can adopt them and use them with their students), all for the first time ever cost-free, and also advertisement-free, barrier-free, and carbon-free. Founded in 2001, we globally launched our first full course in March 2012, Emergency Medicine (EM) for Senior Medical Students, a typical collaboration for us, done in partnership with Emory University's WHO Center for Injury Control, the International Federation of EM, and the Society of Academic EM.

    This free model has been tested in North American medical and public health students, and in community health workers and primary care physicians in Kenya, with as much knowledge gain and greater student satisfaction than with traditional courses, and the creation of a community of practice that has learned to interact globally and productively. Regarding Graduate Medical Education, our first residencies are launching in Preventive Medicine and in Pediatrics, and pilots planned at Asian U for Women (Bangladesh), U of the Incarnate Word (Texas), and USF Quito (Ecuador); we are developing these with the American College of Preventive Medicine, Association of Prevention Teaching and Research, Harvard Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Stanford Medicine, and others to create the first globally-available residencies. This creates the ready possibility of immediately, globally, sustainably, and permanently transforming medical education and physician supply.

    And finally, NextGenU has a sustainable business model. We have a $16 million endowment (from the Annenberg Physician Training Program) that covers our core expenses, and receive additional grants from governments (e.g., $1.4 million from Grand Challenges Canada, US CDC), quasi-governmental organizations (e.g., MEOPAR, NATO Science for Peace, WHO), individual benefactors, and our biggest donors, our volunteer course developers, advisors, and mentors, and the 1000s of experts who have generously shared their learning resources online, providing this unprecedented opportunity for democratized education.

    We are interested in working with you to identify colleagues with whom we could co-create courses and other trainings, and to pilot our offerings globally -- let me know what questions I can answer, and please be in touch about collaborating?

    Erica Frank, MD, MPH, efrank@nextgenu.org

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  • Peer-reviewed studies of our efficacy

    1. Galway L, Corbett K, Takaro T, Tairyan K, Frank E. (2014). A novel integration of online and flipped classroom instructional models in public health higher education. BMC Medical Education; 14:181. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-14-181

    2. Coops N, Marcus J, Costrut I, Frank E, Kellett R, Mazzi E, Munro A, Nesbit S, Riseman A, Schultz A, Sipos Y. 2015. How an entry-level, interdisciplinary sustainability course revealed the benefits and challenges of a university-wide initiative for sustainability education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. 16:5:729-47. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1069910

    3. Clair V, Mutiso V, Musau A, Frank E, Ndetei D. 2016. Online learning improves substance use care in Kenya: Randomized control trial results and implications. Annals of Global Health. 2016 May 1;82(3):320-1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214999616306129?via%3Dihub

    4. Frank E, Tairyan K, Everton M, Chu J, Goolsby C, Hayes A, Hulton A. (2016). A Test of the First Course (Emergency Medicine) that is Globally Available for Credit and for. Free. Healthcare.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hjdsi.2016.02.003

    5. Nadkarni A, Weobong B, Weiss HA, et al. (2017). Counselling for Alcohol Problems (CAP), a lay counsellor-delivered brief psychological treatment for harmful drinking in men, in primary care in India: a randomised controlled trialLancet (London, England). 389(10065):186-195. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31590-2

    6. Patel V, Weobong B, Weiss HA, et al. (2017). The Healthy Activity Program (HAP), a lay counsellor-delivered brief psychological treatment for severe depression, in primary care in India: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet (London, England). 389(10065):176-185. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31589-6

    7. Rossa-Roccor, V, Malatskey, L, Frank, E. (2017). NextGenU.org’s Free, Globally Available Online Training in Lifestyle Medicine. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 11. 132-133. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827616682444   

    8. Heller R, Madhok R, Frank E. (2018). Building Public Health Capacity through Online Global Learning. Open Praxis. https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/746/427  

    9. Clair V, Rossa-Roccor V, Mokaya AG, Mutiso V, Musau A, Tele A, Ndetei D, Frank E. In Press. Peer and Mentored Enhanced Web-Based Training on Substance Use Disorders: A Promising Approach in Low-Resource Settings to Teach Knowledge and Skills and Decrease Stigma.  In Press, Psychiatric Services.

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