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. The idea, HMS educators said, is to provide foundational knowledge, in meaningful context, making it relevant to learners. The courses will offer a foundation for those considering medical and nursing schools, physician assistant programs, as well as those pondering careers in pharmacy or other allied health professions. Each course will feature an interactive forum where students can ask questions about the content and receive expert feedback from HMX staff. Students who achieve certain thresholds of mastery based on periodic quizzes and a final exam will be awarded a certificate of achievement or a certificate of completion.While HMX Fundamentals courses are open to learners at virtually any phase of their academic or professional career, they do require a basic understanding of concepts in chemistry, biology, physiology and physics. To ensure success in the courses, those interested are asked to submit a brief application to confirm completion of the recommended prerequisites and to express what they hope to achieve through the program. The HMX Fundamentals program is now accepting applications for its inaugural summer course, which begins June 20. The application window for the summer courses remains open through May 30. Tuition for HMX Fundamentals courses is tiered depending on the number of courses taken. For a single HMX Fundamentals course, tuition is $800; for a pair of HMX Fundamentals courses (either HMX Immunology and HMX Genetics or HMX Physiology and HMX Biochemistry), combined tuition is $1,000; for all four HMX Fundamentals courses, combined tuition is $1,800. Partial scholarships are available on a limited basis. For more information and application details, visit HMXHMX courses are developed by a highly skilled interdisciplinary team of Harvard Medical School educators and creative professionals—each an expert in his or her own field. Together, we craft curricula with integrated multimedia elements and didactic visuals focused on bringing foundational concepts in medicine to life via real-world and clinical applications. We apply the science of learning and best practices in biomedical visualization to guide the development of our courses. Our goal is to help learners focus on the understanding and application of key scientific principles. Whether you’re catching up or getting ahead—or just looking for a new perspective on core medical concepts—we hope you’ll join us for HMX Fundamentals.

Harvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School ( has more than 11,000 faculty working in 10 academic departments located at the School’s Boston campus or in hospital-based clinical departments at 15 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Hebrew SeniorLife, Joslin Diabetes Center, Judge Baker Children’s Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and VA Boston Healthcare System.