[Sheree Bekker] Dr Safa Abdalla contacted us with news of this new Injury Prevention course for those interested in public health, available as a free standalone self-study course on an open online courses platform. In this post, she and co-author Prof Richard Heller share more about its development, purpose, and content.
This post was written by Dr Safa Abdalla (Ireland) and Prof Richard Heller (Australia) on behalf of the course development team, which also includes Dr Victoria Ononenze (UK) and Dr Kavi Bhalla (USA).
In an increasingly digitally connected world, knowledge exchange and affordable access to high quality professional development have never been more feasible, an opportunity seized upon by Peoples-uni. Peoples-uni is a UK-based charity dedicated to offer affordable education in Public Health. Its main mission is to contribute to improvements in the health of populations in low- to middle-income countries by building Public Health capacity via e-learning at very low cost. To do that, Peoples-uni initiative offers master-level educative programs and short Open Online Courses (OOCs). Since its establishment in 2007, individual course module development and delivery teams have involved more than 300 volunteers from more than 40 different countries.
With the majority of injury deaths taking place in low- and middle- income countries, the engagement and expertise of public health professionals in those countries in injury prevention is vital for tackling the problem. While public health skills are transferable and equally applicable to the full range of public health issues, it was still pertinent to ensure that any educational initiative benefiting professionals in those countries included an opportunity to learn about the language and specifics of injury prevention, at the same time helping to bring more attention to the issue.
To that end, Peoples-uni has debuted its new, free, short online course, Injury Prevention (available through http://ooc.peoples-uni.org). The course has been prepared by an international team of experts and is designed to help students learn how to collect action-oriented information on the burden of injury in their setting, understand the causes and risk factors for injury, and develop and evaluate intervention programs relevant to their setting. This is underpinned by the principles and characteristics of a public health approach to prevention. You pace yourself through the course, which is available at any time, and you can gain a certificate of completion, through accessing the resources and taking the quiz. The Injury Prevention course is also available for academic credit. For more information visit http://www.peoples-uni.org/.
We consider this introductory course a unique addition to the few self-paced courses on injury prevention out there. It is concise, avoids bandwidth-demanding media, and relies on carefully selected copy-right cleared publications that our audience can freely access and work through independently. While some of those resources relate to specific external causes, we do not single out specific injuries for focus but rather generically fit learning about injury prevention in a public health approach framework. We then challenge participants to test their learning by applying it in specific situations. The course fits well with other standalone Peoples-uni OOCs, e.g. Global Mental Health and Global Health Informatics that can be used by participants to further explore these issues that are connected with the content of the course. We intend to continue to improve and develop this course to make it more responsive to our target audience’s needs based on their feedback. Those for whom the course is too introductory can still help by taking a look and giving us feedback on how to improve it while keeping it as ‘resource non-demanding’ as possible. So check it out and let us know what you think!