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NextGenU.org is the first institution of higher education that is for-credit and for-free, the world’s first online portal where anyone, anywhere in the world can take free post-secondary courses to audit or for credit through recognized accrediting institutions and organizations. NextGenU was founded in 2001 by Erica Frank, MD, MPH, President of NextGenU, and Professor and Canada Research Chair in Preventive Medicine and Population Health at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine.NextGenU collaborates with leading universities, professional societies, and government organizations including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Bank, and the World Health Organization to pull together the very best learning resources. All of the courses are competency-based, and include online knowledge transfer, a web-based global peer community of practice, and local, skills-based mentorships.
Currently offering courses in:
- Breast Health
- Climate Change and Health
- Community-Oriented Primary Care
- Emergency Medicine
- Environmental Health,
- Alcohol, Tobacco and other Substance Use Disorders in Primary Care
- Alcohol Tobacco and other Substance Use Disorder Screening
- PREMIUM Counselling Treatments
- War and Health
NextGenU has students enrolled from more than 140 countries. Through Google Translate, most course materials are available in over 120 languages. Approximately 130 more courses, covering a broad range of topics, are currently in development, and the potential is infinite.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25169853
(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.http://
(3) Mokaya AG, Mutiso V, Kombe Y, Musau A, Ng’ang’a Z, Frank E, Ndetei D, Clair V. 2016. Substance use among a sample of healthcare workers in Kenya: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. http://www.tandfonline.
(4) 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. http://www.anna
(5) 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. http://www.
6. Nadkarni A, Weobong B, Weiss HA, et al. 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 trial. Lancet (London, England). 2017;389(10065):186-195. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31590-2.
7. Patel V, Weobong B, Weiss HA, et al. 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). 2017;389(10065):176-185. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31589-6.