Combating Zika Virus through Education: New Tuition-Free Health Studies Degree Launched

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American online university, University of the People ("UoPeople") has launched a new tuition-free Health Studies degree, designed to address global health-care worker shortage and health crises such as Zika Virus. Leading figures head the program’s Taskforce, including Nobel Laureate and Fortune 500® CEO.

A student studies online at the University of the People

The objective of the UoPeople Health Studies program is to make high quality health care education accessible at a cost affordable to students all over the world.

University of the People, the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited American online university, has announced today the launch of its Associates and Bachelor's degrees in Health Studies. Leading figures are heading the program’s Taskforce: Nobel Laureate and President Emeritus of The Rockefeller University, Dr. Torsten N. Wiesel; Chairman and CEO of Fortune 500® company Henry Schein, Stanley M. Bergman; Princeton University Professor Dr. Dalton Conley; and Columbia University Professor Dr. Darcy Brisbane Kelley.

UoPeople President, Shai Reshef: “We realize that in most countries, the demand for health-care workers is huge. The critical shortage of skilled health-care workers, which manifested previously with SARS corona virus, Ebola, and now with the Zika virus, has brought alarming attention to the fact that governments are unable to effectively handle global health crises partially due to insufficient, quality programs to address the shortfall. UoPeople’s Health Studies program will prepare health workers for the workforce as well as prepare students for advanced studies within the medical field. We believe that in developed as well as developing countries, this is a priority that must be addressed. This Health Studies degree is one more step in accomplishing the university’s mission of addressing global needs as well as opening the gates to higher education for qualified students around the world and helping them overcome the financial, geographic, political, and personal constraints which preclude millions from accessing higher education.”

The launch of UoPeople’s Health Studies program follows the university’s announcement last month that it added an MBA degree to its offerings of Associates and Bachelor’s programs in Business Administration and Computer Science. The new Health Studies program will offer courses providing a broad understanding of community and public health theories and models and their application to real-world situations.

Dr. Torsten N. Wiesel, who sits on UoPeople’s President’s Council, said, “The contributions of Health Science toward the safety and wellbeing of people cannot be underestimated, and the objective of the UoPeople Health Studies program is to make high quality health care education accessible at a cost affordable to students all over the world. Creating a safe and high-quality health care environment begins with quality education.”

The university will be accepting applicants to commence their studies in September 2016. Although there are no tuition or textbook fees, there is a $100 end of course assessment fee and students can expect to pay a total of just $2,000 for an Associates degree, and $4,000 for a Bachelor’s degree. For those who cannot afford these modest fees, the university aims to offer a range of scholarships.

“This is exciting news both for the Health Industry as well as for potentially millions of future health-care workers,” said Stanley M. Bergman of Henry Schein, the world’s largest provider of healthcare products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners. “All the companies in the health industry today are dealing with a distinct shortage of health employees and yet, at the same time, the scope of jobs in this field is expanding. Demand for health workers will grow at a higher rate than the overall average for all occupations. UoPeople is paving the way to bring relevant, quality higher education to the people and places where it is needed most.”

Earlier this month, UoPeople announced its partnership with UC Berkeley, wherein UoPeople's top Associate degree graduates will be considered for transfer admission to UC Berkeley’s Bachelor degree programs. The University of the People has over 3,000 enrolled students from 180 countries. It is expected that this number will double in the next year and coming years. The university’s ability to provide tuition-free education depends on its use of open-source technology, Open Educational Resources and the assistance of volunteers. Its President’s Council, chaired by NYU President Emeritus John Sexton, includes Oxford Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Sir Colin Lucas and U.S. Former Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, among others.


About University of the People:
University of the People (UoPeople) is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. UoPeople is designed to provide access to university studies for qualified high school graduates, despite financial, geographic, societal or personal constraints. Founded in 2009, UoPeople has partnered with Yale ISP Law School for research; New York University (NYU) and University of California, Berkeley, to accept students; Microsoft for scholarships, access to its certificate programs, mentoring, internships and employment opportunities; and Hewlett-Packard, for general support, scholarships for women and internships. The University has enrolled students from 180 different countries and is supported by a network of over 4,000 dedicated volunteers.

The institution has gained the widespread support of leading academics from leading universities around the world. UoPeople is supported by The Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Hewlett Foundation, Foundation Hoffmann and companies such as HP, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Western Union, Estee Lauder and many more.

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Sarah Vanunu
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