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Health Sciences Online: an extraordinary opportunity for the democratization of health sciences knowledge Frank, Erica Dec 15, 2010

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POSTER PRESENTATION Open AccessHealth Sciences Online: an extraordinaryopportunity for the democratization of healthsciences knowledgeErica FrankFrom 54th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research into Hydrocephalus and Spina BifidaVancouver, Canada. 7-10 July 2010BackgroundAccording to the World Health Organization, healthcare requires more innovative, trans-disciplinary andless-expensive training methods to increase local educa-tion and service opportunities. We are addressing thisissue through Health Sciences Online (HSO) - a virtuallearning centre for comprehensive health professionaleducation. HSO is a portal that provides access to a col-lection of top-quality courses and references in medi-cine, public health, nursing, dentistry and other healthsciences disciplines. These materials are donated, hostedand maintained by distinguished content partners soanyone, anywhere in the world can access a free, cur-rent, world-class education through the portal.Materials and methodsHSO includes more than 50,000 learning objects fromalready-existing reliable resource collections, and we arestill growing. Material regarding hydrocephalus andspina bifida is available, provided by medical specialtysocieties, accredited continuing education organizations,governments and universities (including the Centre forGenetics Education, the Canadian Paediatric Society,and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine).ResultsAs our next phase, we’re beginning work with colleaguesall over the world in creating what we hope to be thelargest, most accessible, and one of the best healthsciences universities – all done with distance HSO-based didactics, local hands-on mentoring, and peer-to-peer distance feedback. We plan to train many thou-sands of trainees at a time, particularly in developingcountries, with the students remaining in their homeenvironments (and thereby building capacity, instead ofencouraging brain drain). Examples of certificates cur-rently under development are in 1) Exercise and Health,in partnership with CDC, the American College ofSports Medicine, the Fundacion Santa Fe Bogota ActiveLiving Program, and the Pedagogical University ofColombia, 2) Perinatal Care, in collaboration withWHO, and piloting in Africa and South East Asia, 3)Emerging Infectious Diseases, with WHO, and pilotingin a rural community in Panama, 4) Dermatology forPrimary Care Providers, in collaboration with NATOand Armenia’s Yerevan State Medical University and 5)Addiction Medicine for Medical Students and Residents,in collaboration with the Betty Ford Institute and theAnnenberg Physician Training Program in AddictionMedicine.ConclusionsHSO is an extraordinary resource for medical profes-sionals around the world, and we hope to utilize thisconference to teach others about its origins, uses andgoals.Published: 15 December 2010doi:10.1186/1743-8454-7-S1-S53Cite this article as: Frank: Health Sciences Online: an extraordinaryopportunity for the democratization of health sciences knowledge.Cerebrospinal Fluid Research 2010 7(Suppl 1):S53.Correspondence: erica.frank@ubc.caSchool of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, 5804Fairview Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1E3, CanadaFrank Cerebrospinal Fluid Research 2010, 7(Suppl 1):S53http://www.cerebrospinalfluidresearch.com/content/7/S1/S53CEREBROSPINAL FLUID RESEARCH© 2010 Frank; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction inany medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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