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Med Educ Online. 2018 Dec;23(1):1503914. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2018.1503914.

The Practitioner's Guide to Global Health: an interactive, online, open-access curriculum preparing medical learners for global health experiences.

Author information

a Department of Emergency Medicine , Boston University School of Medicine , Boston , MA , USA.
b Department of Pediatrics , University of Washington School of Medicine , Seattle , WA , USA.
c Department of Emergency Medicine , Brown University School of Medicine , Providence , RI , USA.
d Department of Emergency Medicine , University of North Carolina Chapel Hill , Chapel Hill , NC , USA.
e Department of Emergency Medicine , University of Massachusetts Medical School , Worcester , MA , USA.
f Department of Emergency Medicine, Hennepin County Medical Center , University of Minnesota , Minneapolis , MN , USA.
g Department of Internal Medicine , Boston University School of Medicine , Boston , MA , USA.
h Department of Emergency Medicine , University of New Mexico School of Medicine , Albuquerque , NM , USA.
i Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison and Public Health , University of Wisconsin - Madison, Global Health Institute , Madison , WI , USA.



Short-term experiences in global health (STEGH) are increasingly common in medical education, as they can provide learners with opportunities for service, learning, and sharing perspectives. Academic institutions need high-quality preparatory curricula and mentorship to prepare learners for potential challenges in ethics, cultural sensitivity, and personal safety; however, availability and quality of these are variable.


The objective of this study is to create and evaluate an open-access, interactive massive open online course (MOOC) that prepares learners to safely and effectively participate in STEGH, permits flexible and asynchronous learning, is free of charge, and provides a certificate upon successful completion.


Global health experts from 8 countries, 42 institutions, and 7 specialties collaborated to create The Practitioner's Guide to Global Health (PGGH): the first course of this kind on the edX platform. Demographic data, pre- and posttests, and course evaluations were collected and analyzed.


Within its first year, PGGH enrolled 5935 learners from 163 countries. In a limited sample of 109 learners, mean posttest scores were significantly improved (p < 0.01). In the course's second year, 213 sampled learners had significant improvement (p < 0.001).


We created and evaluated the first interactive, asynchronous, free-of-charge global health preparation MOOC. The course has had significant interest from US-based and international learners, and posttest scores have shown significant improvement.


Global health; MOOC; curriculum; international; online

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