Free online public health courses for NHS staff launched

Five new massive open online courses (MOOCs) are now available to help health and care staff improve their knowledge skills and understanding of public health research.

The courses, offered through Imperial College London, have been devised and delivered virtually by Prof Helen Ward Patient, NIHR ARC NWL Theme Lead Public, Community Engagement and Involvement, and Dr Thomas Woodcock Deputy Theme Lead Information and Intelligence.

Learn key research skills

The courses are available to NHS staff for free and learners can set and complete a flexible schedule online with the aid of engaging videos and online resources. The format allows health and care staff to gain knowledge from field-leading experts and practical skills they can apply to their work.

The courses focus on two main areas, involving patients and public in research and quality improvement in healthcare. The varied course content delves into the theory, history, specific research methods, and critical analyses, equipping learners with a broad understanding of fundamental concepts and ideas. Upon successful completion of a course, participants will receive a certificate that can be used to support their professional development.

Driving improvements in health and care

Professor Helen Ward said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact have brought into sharp focus the importance of public health. These courses can help NHS staff develop knowledge and practical skills to involve patients and the public in research and quality improvement in healthcare, and how to understand and use health data. The courses are relevant for clinical and non-clinical staff and will help them respond to future public health challenges. These free courses in partnership with Coursera will give NHS staff the opportunity to learn from world-class academics in this area and to further enhance their skills.”

Dr Thomas Woodcock added:

“Our courses will showcase to NHS participants how data and evidence is utilised to identify areas of improvement in public health, and in health services, and the importance of using data in evaluating change. Research is vital to addressing public health issues and these courses will give participants insights into methods for applying research findings to drive improvements in health and care.”

Course details

Introduction to Participatory Approaches in Public Health

Learn about the history of participatory health research and why it is essential to solving contemporary public health challenges.

Applying Participatory Approaches in Public Health Settings

Learn how to critically analyse the power dynamics present between multidisciplinary stakeholders and appreciate the need for reciprocity between those delivering and those receiving health care; between both those conducting and those participating in research.

Public Involvement in Research

Consider why citizens and patients would be involved in research and explore participatory approaches across and within the research cycle in detail.

Introduction to Quality Improvement in Healthcare

Study the challenges, they faced and strategies they utilised to overcome those challenges, you will learn to apply and critique core QI methods, from experts in the field.

Using Data for Healthcare Improvement

Learn about the importance of measuring the quality of care and health outcomes to determine whether Quality Improvement (QI) initiatives have achieved their aims.

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