CU School of Medicine offers first-of-its-kind “Foundations for Global Health Responders” open online MOOC course in global health care

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First-of its-kind, free massive open online course (MOOC) from CU School of Medicine provides everyone and anyone competencies in global health care.

The six-week course is a primer for people who seek the knowledge and skills to effectively participate in global health ventures.

As a growing number of workers and volunteers travel abroad to assist during times of disaster and crisis, they often are exposed to unfamiliar and sometimes extreme situations for which they are unprepared. Presented by the University of Colorado Department of Emergency Medicine’s Section of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus, the free Coursera Foundations for Global Health Responders MOOC teaches responsible engagement during health care crises near and far.

Launching May 4, Foundations for Global Health Responders gives the introductory global health knowledge needed to contextualize experience, optimize self-reliance and situational awareness, and allow learners to be more effective in their work in low-to-middle-income countries. The six-week course focuses on changing trends in the 21st century, including urbanization, environmental stress, and resource scarcity, as well as global health security with a focus on access to food, water, and energy. Other areas of focus include the global burden of disease, human rights and how to prepare to be an effective global health participant and savvier world traveler.

After the Haitian earthquake in 2010, thousands of well-meaning humanitarian responders flooded the country in hopes of providing assistance and relief, yet many of them were unprepared for the conditions and ill-prepared to take care of themselves, and ultimately were more of a hindrance than a help. The course is not about disaster response; rather it is about responsible engagement, to provide the introductory foundational knowledge necessary to be a meaningful participant in the world of global health.

Designed and led by experts from CU, Harvard School of Public Health and Weill Cornell Medical College, Foundations for Global Health Responders will also provide basic competencies for organization or university members traveling abroad with a goal toward mitigating institutional risk. “We developed this course as a starting point for all-comers, and have invoked the guiding principle of medicine as our mantra: Do No Harm,” said Jay Lemery, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine in the CU School of Medicine.

The six-week course is a primer for people who seek the knowledge and skills to effectively participate in global health ventures. Participants should plan on spending between three and six hours studying each week. The course is meant to be a stand-alone introduction to global health, but also serves as the first step toward a more advanced certification. To sign up or to learn more about the Foundations for Global Health Responders MOOC, please visit

Those wishing to obtain additional hands-on skill sets are invited to participate in an in-person three-day Global Health Advanced First Aid course—offered throughout the world in 2015—to be certified as a Global Health Responder through the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine. CU Medical School Faculty—leaders in austere care medical education—will be leading the courses. Details including dates and locations can be found at CU Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.

About Coursera
Coursera is an online technology platform that hosts open, full-length, higher-education academic courses in a wide variety of topics–from art to computer science to writing and beyond. For more information, go to

About the University of Colorado & the Section of Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
The Section of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine of University of Colorado’s Department of Emergency Medicine is a university-based enterprise to promote research, best practice, education, and outreach to advance health and wellness in extreme or austere environments. The section’s work includes attention to the greater policy issues of environmental change in health, and it is committed toward advancing the conversation based upon the best scientific evidence to improve discourse and understanding. For more information, go to

About the University of Colorado
The University of Colorado is a premier public research university with four campuses: the University of Colorado-Boulder, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado Denver, and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. With nearly 59,700 students, over 4,900 full-time instructional faculty members and an additional 1,200 research faculty members across the four campuses, CU is the largest institution of higher education in the state of Colorado. CU researchers attracted more than $861M in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2013-14. Academic prestige is marked by the university’s five Nobel laureates, eight MacArthur “Genius” Fellows, 18 alumni astronauts and 19 Rhodes Scholars. For more information about the entire CU system, and to access campus resources, go to

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