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Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine this week launched its first massive open online course — Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Health Care.

It aims to help high school students, recent graduates and those considering career transitions explore health care career options and learn strategies for entry into the health care workforce and health-related fields.

Taught by Feinberg Dr. Melissa A. Simon, George H. Gardner Professor of Clinical Gynecology and vice chair of clinical research, this free course will share “strategies and secrets” for finding and getting job opportunities in medicine and health care.

“This course will introduce you to health care professions, help you map a path toward a health career and impart skills relevant for any career,” according to the course website.

Those skills include “articulating your personal story, resume and cover letter writing, job search, interviewing, professional networking and professional communications.” These topics are packaged into six modules, designed for students to learn at their own pace. In addition to short lecture videos, there is a library of personal career stories, day in the life videos, a resource toolkit, and introduction to medical terminology.

The course features more than 50 different guests and lecturers, including faculty from Feinberg; Kellogg School of Management; the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; the School of Professional Studies; Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication.

Other lecturers include staff from Northwestern Career Advancement, the Northwestern provost and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital president. Health professionals filmed for video segments are from institutions around the Chicago area and across the United States.

According to Simon this is the first MOOC with the goal of improving diversity in the health care workforce.

“We aim to plant the seed of possibility and lay the groundwork for underrepresented and nontraditional students — and others who are interested in a career change — to translate their life experiences and talent into marketable skills relevant to the health care workforce,” she said.

On a personal note, Simon added, “I’m a first-generation college student, and I grew up in the bottom 1 percent in Detroit. These struggles and a trajectory toward a career in medicine directly impacted and informed my decision to create this MOOC from scratch.”

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