One Health ‘Supercourse’ Partnership Proposed
We propose that the One Health mission could partner with the Supercourse for broad, global distribution of education and outreach for Onehealth.
Supercourse: The Supercourse began about 10 years ago as the result of the recognition that there has been a 25 year increase in life expectancy world wide. Virtually all of the increase has been the result of prevention. Most of prevention is the sharing of prevention knowledge, prevention education. It was thought if we could harness the rapidly emerging technology of the Internet we could have a profound effect on health.
World workforce development in the area of global health is inadequate. There are 240 times more clinicians than there are epidemiologists. There even is 24 times more morticians than there are those trained in epidemiology. There needs to be a marked increase in those trained in global health and epidemiology.
In order to accomplish this a new model must be produced. It costs over $250,000 to produce a Ph.D. in Epidemiology. There must be a better way to train much larger numbers of individuals at a much lower cost.
In the late 1990s the Supercourse was born based upon a very simple model. The first component of the model was to build a global network on the Internet for the sharing of expert knowledge. Thus should an earthquake occur in China, it is better to have an expert network in place before the earthquake rather than to try and cobble expertise together afterwards. The Supercourse network grew from less than 500 people in the late 1990s, to now where there are over 56,000 global health experts from 172 countries.
We began to recognize that a global health network had enormous expertise and knowledge, if we could collect and share this. We decided to establish a very simple knowledge exchange system in that we collected the best PowerPoint lectures from the network and then shared the knowledge in an open source lecture library for all to use for free. We were very surprised how willing the experts were to share their lectures. During a period of 7 years we have collected 3506 lectures (www.pitt.edu/~super1). The authors include 15 lectures from Nobel Prize winners 150 from members of the IOM/NAS, the former US Surgeon General, the head of the NIH, etc. Interestingly we have about 30 wonderful lectures from Veterinarians.
Our lectures are the most widely used lectures in global health. We have 42,000 mirrored servers in the Sudan, Mongolia, Nepal, China, India, etc. We receive 80-100 million hit per year. Last year our lectures taught over 1 million students. We are thus bringing global health training to millions.
We are moving into many new directions. By the end of 2009 we expect to provide a DVD of all the lectures to every medical and public health student in the world. In addition, in 2009 we will have built a Library of Alexandria Scientific Supercourse where we have harvested, categorized, and rated over 1.3 million lectures.
The Supercourse has already been evolving in part to a One Health Initiative. We have over 20 Veterinarians who have contributed over 30 lectures on a wide range of topics from the teaching of statistics to the interaction of animal and human diseases. Our network reaches thousands of veterinarians as well as those in global health. We have not purposely develop this area, it has evolved by itself, and it is very important. We would very much encourage the collection of lectures in the area of the One Health Initiative. The slides and lectures from Veterinary Medicine and Global health are seamlessly available to each other in the Supercourse. Sharing of lectures, sharing of Knowledge and improvement of Global health can be accomplished with a Supercourse-One Health partnership.
Supercourse member Ronald E. LaPorte, Ph.D.
Director Telecommunications and Disease Monitoring
WHO Collaborating Centre
Professor of Epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh 15261