Erica Frank

Professor

Research Classification

Preventive medicine

Research Interests

Free accredited education

Relevant Degree Programs

 

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Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round

I perform occasional domestic and global intervention research on physicians' and medical students' health practices and their effects on patients, on climate change, THC policy in Canada and the US, the built environment and health, and other topics of interest where I can make a particular difference [more on that here:  https://ubcmj.med.ubc.ca/becoming-a-health-advocate-an-interview-with-erica-frank/ ].

My primary research is on NextGenU.org, essentially the world's first free university (NextGenU.org is for credit, for free, unlike any other organization).  Starting with a focus in the health sciences, NextGenU.org's accredited courses are being used in 191 (of 193) UN Member States/Countries, and we have just launched our ultimate outcome:  U.S. accreditation for the first globally free degree, a Master's in Public Health [more about that MPH here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1J9eS-jX32sINrqcFmtrG3gC86RtuSSyH/view?usp=sharing ]

Courses available for trainees and for research span from college-level pre-health sciences and community health worker trainings, through public health graduate training, and a MedSchoolInABox (codeveloped with Stanford, U of Toronto, and U Central Florida) that includes Graduate Medical Education. This educational system is not a set of Massive Open Online Courses -- courses are competency-based, and include online knowledge transfer, a web-based global peer community of practice, skills-based mentorships, and a free certificate. NextGenU.org's accredited partners, North American universities that are outstanding in each particular course topic, give learners credit for this training (or institutions can adopt them and use them with their students), all for the first time ever cost-free, and also advertisement-free, barrier-free, and carbon-free.  

Founded/invented by me in 2001 (predating MOOCs by 7 years), we globally launched our first full course in March 2012, with a dozen free, tested, and accredited health sciences courses currently offered at NextGenU.org.  We will enroll our first residents (in Texas) in July 2020; we are developing these Preventive Medicine residencies with the American College of Preventive Medicine, CDC, European Lifestyle Medicine Organization, Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard, Stanford Medicine, WHO, and others to create the first globally-available Graduate Medical Education.

We have tested and published on this free model in North American medical, public health, and undergraduate students, and in community health workers and primary care physicians in Kenya and in India, demonstrating as much knowledge gain and greater student satisfaction than with traditional courses, and the creation of a global community of practice.  You can see those publications here:  https://nextgenu.org/static/publications.html

And finally, NextGenU.org has a sustainable business model.  While we don't have $ currently designated for graduate students or postdocs, we have a $20 million endowment (from the Annenberg Physician Training Program) that covers many core expenses, and receive additional grants and contracts to create, test, and disseminate trainings from governments (e.g., $1.4 million from Grand Challenges Canada, US CDC), quasi-governmental organizations (e.g., NATO Science for Peace, WHO), universities, foundations, professional societies, and individuals.

I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
 
 

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