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Coursera Rolls Out Healthcare Vertical to Bridge Skill Gap

By Cait Etherington
January 18, 2019

HOn January 17, 2018, Coursera announced the launch of a new health vertical. Offering a broad portfolio of health-related courses from the world’s top universities, it has been curated to help address the current shortage of skilled workers in the healthcare sector.

Coursera’s Commitment to Supporting Health Sector Training and Education 

In many respects, it is no surprise that Coursera’s first major announcement of 2019 is a suite of courses focused on training professionals to work in the healthcare sector. As reported on eLearning Inside in late 2018, Coursera’s CEO Jeff Maggioncalda believes that health management skills will be among the most in-demand skills over the coming year and for an obvious reason. As Maggioncalda wrote in a blog post in early December 2018, “Employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026; that’s about 2.4 million new jobs, more than any other occupational group.”

If the healthcare sector is now expanding at a rapid pace, there are many reasons why. First, there are demographic changes, which include an aging world population. Second, new technologies are creating new types of patient treatment and care that are, in turn, creating new job categories and fields, including informatics nursing. Coursera’s health vertical hopes to offer the types of courses and degree programs needed to train people for the healthcare sector’s many new and expanded roles. 

This is likely why Daphne Koller, Co-Founder of Coursera, feels strongly that now is the time to scale up health training, especially on the informatics side of the profession. In a press release issued by Coursera on January 17, Koller emphasizes: 

“The sector, which is under enormous strain to support the needs of a growing and aging population, presents a huge opportunity for meaningful technological transformation that stands to not only improve health outcomes for people around the world but also reduce the increasingly unaffordable costs of healthcare, both to individuals and to society. I’m excited to see Coursera and its partners coming together to help realize that potential by providing access to flexible and affordable education options that can help usher in the next generation of healthcare workers in high-demand fields like health informatics, healthcare management, and public health.”

Coursera’s university partners are also excited about the launch of the new program. As Dean F. DuBois Bowman of the University of Michigan School of Public Health explains: 

“The world’s most pressing health issues require interdisciplinary, population-based strategies and training. In partnership with Coursera, the University of Michigan School of Public Health is expanding its efforts to meet these needs through an integrated online Masters of Public Health degree program.” 

Bowman adds, “The field of public health will benefit from increased access to prestigious training opportunities, especially for adults who cannot participate in full-time residential programs.” 

More Information on Coursera’s Health Vertical 

Coursera will work with several new and established partners to deliver its new suite of courses and programs, including the University of Michigan, Columbia University, Emory University, Imperial College London, Johns Hopkins University, University of Colorado, and University of Minnesota. The specializations already planned include biostatistics, populations health management, nursing informatics, and social welfare policy. In total, Coursera’s new health vertical will house 100 new courses, 30 new specializations, and two public health-focused master’s degrees.

Coursera plans to roll out its new healthcare specialization throughout 2019. Subscriptions will be affordable, ranging from $39 to $79 per month. Anyone interested in pursuing a health-focused master’s degrees from University of Michigan or Imperial College London will find applications available online beginning in January 2019.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.