About Us

NextGenU.org is often referred to as the world's first free university, but we have no independent university accreditation. Collaborating with our university partners and other expert organizations, we provide free courses and issue free certificates to individual students successfully completing courses with us. Institutions may also adopt our free courses and curricula and offer low-cost or free courses and degrees to their students. NextGenU.org courses are being used in every country, and NextGenU.org has created the first globally freely available curriculum for a full degree -- a Master's in Public Health. This MPH curriculum and its components are used by educational institutions in several countries, including U. S. accredited universities.

Courses span from community health worker trainings, through public health graduate training, and clinical courses including 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/invented in 2001 by visionary and health advocate, Dr. Erica Frank, 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 2021; 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 medical, public health, and undergraduate students, and in community health workers and primary care physicians in Kenya and in India, demonstrating 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 are the beneficiaries of a $16 million endowment (managed by 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 your taking some of our courses (please dive in here!), and in working with you and your colleagues to co-create, co-offer, and/or co-evaluate trainings. Please let us know what questions we can answer, contact us here about partnerships, IT questions, student learning, and research opportunities.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Peer-Reviewed Research on NextGenU.org

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.  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.  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280731205_How_an_entry-level_interdisciplinary_sustainability_course_revealed_the_benefits_and_challenges_of_a_university-wide_initiative_for_sustainability_education

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. May 2016.  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306351641_Online_learning_improves_substance_use_care_in_Kenya_Randomized_control_trial_results_and_implications

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://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213076416300264?via%3Dihub

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 trial. Lancet (London, England).   https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31590-2/fulltext

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).   https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31589-6/fulltext

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.  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. (2019). 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. Psychiatric Services. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31551043

10. Tsuei S, Frank E. (2019). Becoming a Health Advocate: An Interview with Erica Frank. https://ubcmj.med.ubc.ca/becoming-a-health-advocate-an-interview-with-erica-frank/

11. World Health Organization. (2020). Call to Action: Addressing the 18 million health worker shortfall. Submission 2. 5. https://www.who.int/hrh/news/2019/Call-to-Action-Campaign-FirstRoundSubmissions.pdf