New Humanism in Health and Healthcare online course available for free at

Developed in partnership with Oakland University’s William Beaumont School of Medicine, the competency-based course can be easily used by medical and nursing schools or individual students around the globe

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the new free virtual course “Humanism in Health and Healthcare,” developed in partnership with Oakland University’s William Beaumont School of Medicine and

Although the course has been under development for more than a year, its release in April 2020 is particularly timely given the dramatic increase in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has separated medical, nursing, and other healthcare professions students from their instructors and the physical classroom and clinical settings.

“We hope this new online course, created in partnership with our terrific partners at and Oakland University, will be helpful to medical and nursing schools in urgent need of curriculum that is easily accessible by students wherever they may be,” said Dr. Richard I. Levin, President and CEO of the Gold Foundation. “Emphasis on humanism in healthcare studies is especially important right now, as this crisis tests our own humanity in complex ways.”

Dr. Dorothy Levine, Vice President, Gold Humanism Honor Society, led the project for the Gold Foundation. She reached out to Oakland University and was directed to Dr. Jason Adam Wasserman, Associate Professor of Foundational Medical Studies and Pediatrics at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, for help in crafting the curriculum.

“It has been a pleasure to work closely with the indefatigable Dr. Erica Frank and the talented team at, whose global platform, and uniquely free, competency-based, and high-quality training and certificates made this endeavor possible,” said Dr. Levine. “Dr. Jason Wasserman’s expertise in clinical bioethics, sociology and experience in the education of medical students made him the perfect person to lead the design and development of this course.”

Designed for physicians, nurses and allied health professionals in training and in practice, the “Humanism in Health and Healthcare” course provides foundational theoretical and practical knowledge and skills, as well as an opportunity to practice humanistic techniques to assist patients in achieving positive health behavior changes. Designed for use by low and mid-income countries, as well as high-income countries, students are invited to localize their experiences and, at the same time, invited to take multiple perspectives.

“This course is important for a number of reasons,” explained Dr. Wasserman. “First, courses in humanism in medicine are still not well integrated and developed within medical education.  Courses focused on bioethics have become more prevalent, but courses on the broader contours of humanism have lagged behind.

Second, there are medical schools, particularly globally, that may not have in-house experts on humanism in medicine. Students at those schools may still want this kind of content, and there may even be faculty with an interest in developing related educational experiences.  This course can be of use to all of them because it provides an openly accessible, off-the-shelf set of resources on this topic.”

All components of the “Humanism in Health and Healthcare” course (like all trainings) are free, including registration, learning, testing, and a certificate of completion and are designed with experts using a competency-based model. To receive credit, students can work with their learning institution or workplace to approve the course for educational credit.

With registrants in every country, offers a range of courses, from community health worker trainings, through clinical courses and public health graduate training, including the world’s first free degree, the Master’s in Public Health. This is’s first course focused on humanism.

“As we expand’s competency-based trainings across the health sciences, we know that these humanism competencies are essential to being an effective and motivated health provider,” said Dr. Erica Frank, Founder of, and first Gold Humanism award recipient for the American College of Preventive Medicine. “We want to create a globally scalable cohort of health providers who demonstrate a healing human connection, as there is abundant evidence that this is essential for optimal outcomes, and for provider satisfaction.”

Dr. Wasserman designed the course to flow from the historical context and contemporary significance of humanism in health and health care (Section 1); to how we can build humanistic sensibilities (Section 2); to an application of concepts to working with others, particularly different marginalized groups (Section 3); and finally with an eye toward the future of humanism in health and health care (Section 4).

Selecting the related material was an additional challenge.

“All of the content is open access, without any firewalls or advertising, and it can be hard to find quality content that fits those parameters, but I think we’ve done that.  The exciting thing is that no matter where someone is in the world, whether they are affiliated with an institution or not, everyone can get this content,” said Dr. Wasserman.

Stephen Loftus, Ph.D., was also a developer on the course; additional content creators were Ashley Inez Garzaniti, MSIV; Nathan Loudon, MSIV; Matthew Drogowski, MD; Dorothy Levine, MD; Lesley Miller, MD; and Hedy S. Wald, Ph.D.

Dr. Levine is particularly excited to see the ways in which the curriculum will be used: “I look forward to seeing the birth of many more exciting educational initiatives on this platform.”

Already, Dr. Wasserman and Dr. Wald, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Faculty, Harvard Medical School Global Pediatrics Leadership Program, are planning a live 4-week session using this curriculum and drawn from students around the globe.

“It’s a little ironic that we’re launching this course that focuses on what it means to be human, have relationships, work empathically with others, at a time when we are forced to be physically distant from each other. But at this historical moment,” said Dr. Wasserman, “when we need to think harder and in newer, more innovative ways about humanism, we’ve been able to put create an online experience that gives excellent coverage to that important issue.”

Access the “Humanism in Health and Healthcare” course here. Please let us know at if you or your school is using the curriculum. We would love to hear your stories, and study its effects with you.