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Visionary Undertaking for Global E-Health Education

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 General News J E 4
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PITTSBURGH, Dec. 17 This week marks the launch of HealthSciences Online (http://www.hso.info) the only site where anyone can searchfor and find more than 50,000 courses, references, guidelines, and otherexpert-reviewed, high-quality, current, cost-free, and ad-free health sciencesresources.

Free and accessible to anyone, the up-to-date, authoritative informationis aimed primarily at health care practitioners and public health providers,enabling their training, continuing education, and delivery of effectivetreatments to patients. The information is delivered by powerful searchtechnology from Vivisimo, Inc., which allows users to easily see comprehensivesearch results and quickly find the answers they need with an intuitivelynavigated graphic interface. Through integration with Google Translator, userscan search and read materials in 22 languages.

Former CDC Director Dr. Jeff Koplan calls Health Sciences Online (HSO) "avisionary undertaking" and the World Bank heralds it as "globallydemocratizing health science knowledge." HSO is expected by the World HealthOrganization (WHO) "to make a considerable contribution to the advancement ofe-learning worldwide."

HSO is a portal that includes more than 50,000 world-class health-sciencesresources, selected by our knowledgeable staff from already-existing,reliable, professional sources and resource collections. These include medicalspecialty societies, accredited continuing education organizations,governments, and universities such as Cambridge, Columbia, Harvard, Hopkins,McGill, MIT, Penn, Stanford, and Yale. Founding collaborators for this siteinclude CDC, World Bank, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and theUniversity of British Columbia, and financial support has come from WHO, theNATO Science for Peace Program, the Canadian government, the AnnenbergPhysician Training Program, and many volunteers.

Background: Health sciences information and training are vital for healthand socioeconomic development, but excellent, free learning resources aredifficult to find. In recent years, information and communicationtechnologies, particularly the Internet, have been central to remedying thissituation. But there are still significant hurdles to accessing onlinecontent. WHO notes that there is an enormous need to identify selective,current, accessible online educational and training resources to promoteappropriate care and policies.

Project details: A portal to a virtual learning center with browse andsearch functions, providing free, online linkages to a comprehensivecollection of top-quality courses and references in medicine, public health,pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, basic sciences, and other health sciencesdisciplines. These materials are donated, and typically hosted and maintainedby our distinguished content partners, so materials are constantly updated.

Advisory Committee: Our Advisory Committee includes both distinguishedvisionaries in health sciences, and experienced practitioners in online healthsciences education:

"HSO is an incredible resource for health professionals all over theworld. Open access to health information should literally save millions oflives and lead to important new discoveries," said Anne Margulies, AdvisoryCommittee member and Executive Director of Open Course Ware at MIT.

HSO has succeeded where other initiatives have not, because our vision ofa democratization of health sciences knowledge has tremendous appeal to a widevariety of supporters. This ranges from an endocrinologist who donated $50,000because "HSO will change the world", to an Armenian specialist in preventivemedicine who volunteered more than 1,000 hours because "HSO will finally maketop-quality information available to all the world's doctors", to Senator SamNunn's Global Health and Security Initiative stating that, "HSO has abundanthigh quality resources, so it's not like putting in keywords in a normalsearch engine -- this will create revolutions in health education, diseasesurveillance, and telemedicine."

HSO's next phase will be developing programs using the gathered materialsto help train and educate public and clinical health providers around theworld.

For more information, access the Health Sciences Online site athttp://www.hso.info, and dive right in and try a search!-- Chris Candler, MD; Co-Director/Editor, MedEdPORTAL; Association of American Medical Colleges -- Stephen Carson, MFA; Senior Strategist, Open Courseware; MIT -- Jim Curran, MD, MPH; Dean, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University -- Joan Dzenowagis, PhD; Project Manager, Health InterNetwork, WHO -- Erica Frank, MD, MPH; HSO Founder/Executive Director, Advisory Committee Chair -- Sukon Kanchanaraksa, PhD; Director, Teaching and Learning with Technology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health -- Steven Kanter, MD; Vice Dean, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh -- Jerome P. Kassirer, MD; Distinguished Professor, Tufts Univ. SoM, Former Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of Medicine -- Jeff Koplan, MD, MPH; Former Director, CDC, EVP for Health Affairs, Emory University -- Edward Maibach, MPH, PhD; Professor, Social Marketing, George Mason University -- Anne Margulies, BS; Executive Director, Open Course Ware, MIT -- J.B. McGee, MD; Assistant Dean for Medical Education Technology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine -- Pat Moholt, EdD; Executive Director, Global Health Care Learning, International and Corporate Health, NewYork-Presbyterian -- Hugh Tilson, MD, DrPH Clinical Professor of Epidemiology/Health Policy, Senior Advisor to the Dean, UNC SPH

SOURCE Vivisimo, Inc.
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