Massive Online Open Courses on Health Equity Research

May 26, 2023

In 2019, Professor Lisa Cooper and Associate Professor Tanjala Purnell saw the opportunity to meet an important need for training among public health investigators across the US and globally: how to understand and apply multidisciplinary research methods to address health disparities across a variety of conditions, populations, and public health problems.


With funding from the Initiative, the team created two Massive Open Online Courses for public health practitioners and researchers. The first course, Foundations of Health Equity Research, introduces students to the core principles of health equity research. It covers topics such as defining health equity, engaging community and policy stakeholders, patient-centeredness, cultural competence, and dissemination of research findings.  The second course, Applications of Health Equity Research Methods for Practice and Policy, is intended for students with previous experience in the area of health equity.  It covers innovative methods, practical tools, and skills required to conduct rigorous health equity research and translate evidence-based strategies into practice and policy. Topics range from conceptual frameworks for stakeholder engagement and behavioral intervention development, to adapting interventions for populations that have been marginalized, and research methods in healthcare services and social epidemiology.  Both courses include lectures, panel discussions and interviews, case-based examples, videos, infographics, and interactive Live Talk sessions. The content recognizes different geographic, cultural, and social contexts where health inequities occur. As of May 2023, 7,841 students across the globe have enrolled in these two free online courses to reduce health disparities.  

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