New Nordic online course in personalised medicine

Personalised medicine is an important priority area for the Nordic co-operation in medical research. Nordic universities have now joined forces to set up a massive open online course (MOOC) targeting personalised medicine where medical experts from the Nordic countries have contributed.

“We are very proud of this course,” says Engilbert Sigurdsson on behalf of an Educational Working Group of Faculty leaders at Nordic universities.

He is a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland, and one of the project leads for the initiation, funding and development of the course.

“We have managed to follow the timetable for the production of the course, despite the ongoing pandemic. We have filmed in Copenhagen and Reykjavik, and in some cases on Zoom, with impressive results. It is a professional and high-quality production, and the Coursera team at the University of Copenhagen has done an outstanding job.” 

Video: One-minute presentation of the course

Unique Nordic platform

Nordic countries provide a unique platform for personalised medicine. Important elements are the data infrastructure of the health care systems i.e. the electronic health records, disease registers and biobanks – data that can be used in combination when linked via the personal identification numbers. This platform gives us the opportunity to be at the forefront of clinical research and development and the implementation of new knowledge into clinical care including personalised medicine

The course, with the title “Personalised Medicine from a Nordic Perspective” has free enrollment, and was jointly developed and produced by staff at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and the University of Iceland (UI), professors Saedis Saevarsdottir at UI and Sisse Rye Ostrowski from UCPH having a key role in its successful development as course-coordinators. It was initiated by the Educational Working Group of Faculty leaders at Nordic universities, and funded by the Joint Committee of the Nordic Medical Research Councils (NOS-M), which is coordinated by NordForsk in Oslo.

Great potential

Sigurdsson says that it is based on extensive work by the course-coordinators and has great potential:

“The course consists of 6 modules with 30 videos, and a total of 35 contributors from our Nordic countries, all of whom are experts with an excellent track record in their field. It is the largest online course that the Coursera team at the University of Copenhagen has produced. Coursera is worldwide the largest platform for such courses, with over 3,600 active courses in collaboration with more than 200 universities and over 80 million users.”

“The course has already become part of the optional curriculum for last-year medical students electives at the universities of Copenhagen and Iceland. It can also be harnessed as part of specialist training courses and CME activities in this field. It is particularly suitable for final year elective medical students across the Nordic countries but also for master level students in allied health sciences.” 

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