Universiteit Leiden

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New MOOC increases awareness of health care governance

In March 2019, the Institute for Public Administration launched the MOOC Population Health Governance, in collaboration with the LUMC at Leiden University. The MOOC was one of the first modules to became available at the Coursera platform, as part of the ongoing development of the new Master’s programme Population Health Management and, so far, has proven to be really successful.

Jelmer Schalk and Maarja Beerkens designed the course for health care professionals and managers, who will need to tackle new challenges in an increasingly complex health care system. ‘It’s a super cool MOOC!,’ says Maarja Beerkens, director of education of the Institute. ‘We’re proud to contribute to this fascinating field of research. For researchers in Public Administration, public health is interesting because it binds together many different governance layers ,’ says Maarja Beerkens. ‘From the daily practice of health professionals to complex governmental challenges; from running health organizations to managing the network of different care providers. The MOOC Population Health Governance specifically seeks to combine the research strengths of our institute and the expertise of LUMC.’

How to improve health care

‘The MOOC is aimed at (future) health care workers and managers,’ says Beerkens. ‘It’s great to see that health care professionals, or trainees, from all over the world are participating in the MOOC. We ask questions such as: How can we organise care in such a way that we optimize , quality, access and costs? How to steer health organizations and health professionals? And how should healthcare organisations collaborate?’

Complex health care challenges

‘Population health is an increasingly salient societal problem’, says Jelmer Schalk, Assistant Professor. ‘Take for example the so called ‘hotspotters’. These are people who are at a much greater risk of a variety of health-related problems because they live in ‘bad’ neighbourhoods where health risks cluster because of things like pollution, crime, poverty, and unhealthy life styles. Addressing the complex causes of health needs for such groups requires more than just in-hospital care. The MOOC can help those involved in care and prevention to understand the changes, and to make the appropriate policy choices in collaboration with other organisations.’

Learning MOOC skills

The MOOC is a 4-week course, free to anyone who is interested. It was produced with the help of the Centre for Innovation and launched in March 2019. ‘The MOOC is a great way to create exposure for the topics our institute teaches and researches,’ says Schalk. ‘Plus, it was a completely new experience to look into a camera instead of a class room, so I learned many new skills in the past few months.’

New ways to reach out

Beerkens is excited to see many innovative projects popping up in the Institute. ‘We have become much more outward oriented in recent years,’ she adds. ‘A governance perspective is very important for solving societal problems, be it in health, environment or digitalisation. We are crossing the boundaries of our own field and we learn a lot from such multidisciplinary projects. This is certainly an exciting development. We have been experimenting quite a bit with ICT in education. This MOOC combines nicely our passion for online learning and a multidisciplinary approach.’

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