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People's Open Access Educational Initiative
Peoples-uni logo.png
Type Private non-profit
Established 2007 (2007)
Location Manchester, U.K.
Campus Virtual

The People's Open Access Education Initiative, abbreviated as Peoples-uni, is a non-profit organisation established in 2007[1] to help build public health capacity in developing countries through low cost online education to health professionals.


Peoples-uni was registered as a charity by the UK Charity Commission[2] in 2007, and the first students were admitted in 2008. Since then, over one thousand students from more than 40 countries have enrolled. Courses were validated by Manchester Metropolitan University so that students could gain the Master of Public Health (MPH) award there.

Organization and administration[edit]

Modules come in two groups: Foundation Sciences of Public Health, and Public Health problems facing the developing world. Each module has a similar structure, and is populated by Open Educational Resources. Discussion forums are facilitated by expert volunteer tutors, who also mark assignments. A dissertation is required for the award of the MPH. The use of volunteer tutors allows costs to be kept low for students from developing countries.

In order to make sure that costs are low enough to be afforded by the target audience in developing countries, Peoples-uni has adopted a social enterprise model where volunteers underpin the educational programme and low fees are charged to cover modest infrastructure costs.[3] Fees are $50 per module, or £1500 for the validated MPH course. Trustees oversee the organisation and an academic leadership group oversees academic aspects.


Educational Quality Assurance is provided internally and through partnerships. The Master of Public Health programme is currently validated by Manchester Metropolitan University, and the UK Royal Society for Public Health is a strategic partner.[4][5] Partnerships with other universities and organisations are being developed.[6]

Citations by independent sources[edit]

The educational innovation provided by the Peoples-uni has been recognised as having potential to help correct the unequal distribution of the global health workforce.[7] The course team was awarded an online volunteering award in 2013.[8] Reference has been made to Peoples-uni or its publications in peer reviewed publications including Health Education,[9] PLoS ONE,[10] International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management,[11] Human Resources for Health,[12] and Australia and New Zealand Health Policy.[13]


  1. ^ Heller, RF; Chongsuvivatwong V; Hailegeorgios S; Dada J; Torun P; Madhok R; Sandars J (2007). "Capacity-building for public health:" (PDF). Bull World Health Organ. 85: 930–934. doi:10.2471/blt.07.044388. Retrieved March 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help); External link in |title= (help)
  2. ^ Charity Commission. "1126265 People's Open Access Education Initiative". Retrieved March 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ Heller, RF. "Experience with a "social model" of capacity building: the Peoples-uni". Human Resources for Health. 7: 43. doi:10.1186/1478-4491-7-43. Retrieved March 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ Royal Society for Public Health. "Strategic Partnerships". Retrieved March 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ Royal Society for Public Health. "People's Open Access Education Initiative". Retrieved March 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ Pakistan Institute of Public Health Research. "PIPHR signed an MOU with Peoples-Uni". Retrieved March 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. ^ Crisp, N; Chen, L (2014). "Global supply of health professionals". New England Journal of Medicine. 370: 950–957. doi:10.1056/nejmra1111610. 
  8. ^ Volunteers, UN. "Online Volunteering Award 2013". Retrieved March 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ Angell, C; Hartwell H; Hemingway A (2011). "The emergence of public health open educational resources". Health Education. 111: 256–265. doi:10.1108/09654281111144238. 
  10. ^ Chung, MH; Severynen AO; Hals MP; et al. (2012). "Offering an American Graduate Medical HIV Course to Health Care Workers in Resource-Limited Settings via the Internet". PLoS ONE. 7: e52663. PMC 3527561Freely accessible. PMID 23285139. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052663. 
  11. ^ Kumar, S; Niedan-Olsen K; Peterson L (2009). "Educating the supply chain logistics for humanitarian efforts in Africa: a case study". International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management. 58: 480–500. doi:10.1108/17410400910965733. 
  12. ^ Alexander, L; Igumbor EH; Sanders D (2009). "Building capacity without disrupting health services: public health education for Africa through distance learning". Human Resources for Health. 7: 28. doi:10.1186/1478-4491-7-28. 
  13. ^ Patel, M; Phillips CB (2009). "Strengthening field-based training in low and middle-income countries to build public health capacity: Lessons from Australia's Master of Applied Epidemiology program". Australia and New Zealand Health Policy. 6: 5. doi:10.1186/1743-8462-6-5.