Newswise — Charting new territory in online medical education, Harvard Medical School has launched for the first time an online program for aspiring clinicians as well as the general public.

The certificate program, called HMX Fundamentals, offers coursework in four foundational subjects: physiology, immunology, genetics and biochemistry.

Offering wider access to the knowledge and acumen of some of HMS’s top physician-scientists, the program is open to students of all ages, from high schoolers pondering a career in medicine or health care to scientifically and medically curious adult learners.

The program, HMS leaders said, represents the democratization of medical education. It is designed to prepare tomorrow’s clinicians for the rigors of medical education and training and, at the same time, stimulate the passion and interest of lay learners seeking in-depth medical knowledge.

“It is part of our mission as health care professionals and physician-educators to encourage the passion and intellect of those considering a medical career but who may not be quite ready yet to commit to medical school,” said Michael Parker, Harvard Medical School’s associate dean for online learning and faculty director of HMX.

“Whether you’re a recent college graduate, a highly motivated high school student or an established professional considering a mid-career change, we’ve designed this program to offer depth and rigor and give learners a head start on their career paths,” Parker added.

The program will feature real-life case studies and offer an immersive experience, veering away from traditional passive learning and slide show presentations. Students will be exposed to actual medical scenarios filmed in clinical settings, such as intensive care units and cardiac catheterization labs, at Harvard-affiliated hospitals, allowing them to work through real-life applications of concepts.

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