UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Information Technology | International Public Health | Medical Education


BACKGROUND: 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.

OBJECTIVE: 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.

METHODS: 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.

RESULTS: 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).

CONCLUSION: 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

Rights and Permissions

© 2018 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



Med Educ Online. 2018 Dec;23(1):1503914. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2018.1503914. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Medical education online


Access Practitioner's Guide to Global Health online course

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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