Disclosure: Human Rights Careers may be compensated by course providers.

5 Online Courses That Tackle Health and Racial Inequity

Race is a social and political construct, but it has real-world implications. When it comes to health, those implications can cost people their lives. In the United States, racial inequity means that the life expectancy for Black/non-Hispanic Americans is four years shorter compared to white Americans. Recently, the European Public Health Alliance found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, ethnic minority groups in every country suffered higher rates of hospitalization and a higher death rate. To learn more about the intersection of health and racial inequity, here are five online courses:

Causes of Racial Inequity in Healthcare

Length: About 5 weeks (weekly hours vary)
Provided by: The University of Michigan

This course – which is the second part of the Addressing Racial Health Inequity in Healthcare specialization – explores the causes of racial inequity in healthcare. Issues include how the United States finances healthcare and how this impacts race-based inequities. Students also learn how access to healthcare works, the historical framework of racial mistreatment, modern racism in healthcare, and what implicit bias is. By the end of the course, you’ll have a fuller understanding of what creates racial inequities in healthcare.

This intermediate course spans five weeks. You can expect to spend about 3-5 hours studying each week, though the unit on the history of racial mistreatment will take 7 hours. You can audit the course for free or pay a fee to earn a shareable certificate.

Leading For Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Higher Education

Length: 5 weeks (weekly hours vary)
Provided by: The University of Michigan

Interested in developing more leadership skills within the health field? In today’s world, equity, diversity, and inclusion are essential. Students will learn how institutions address inclusion and exclusion in higher education settings and how “transformational leadership” leads to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You’ll also learn about legislative, governance, and public accountability, as well as how to analyze strategic diversity planning processes. By the course’s conclusion, you’ll be ready to recommend changes and solutions.

This intermediate course takes about five weeks to complete. Most weeks take a few hours of work, though Week 4 (the Strategic Diversity Planning section) takes 6 hours. Deadlines are flexible, so you can work at your own pace.

Professional Certificate in Race, Gender and Workplace Equity

Length: 2 months (1-2 hours per week)
Provided by: CatalystX

Working in a healthcare setting? This professional certificate provides essential skills and knowledge on workplace equity as it relates to race and gender. Students will learn what unconscious bias is, how to mitigate it, and how it impacts decisions. You’ll also develop communication skills that build inclusion in a workplace. Understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion matters, too, so this course educates students on anti-racism and its concepts, as well as what “emotional tax” is. By the end of the course, you’ll be ready to recognize racial and gender inequities and create more inclusive workplaces.

This certificate includes four courses. It takes about 2 months to complete with a 1-2 hourly commitment each week. It is self-paced, so you can take longer if needed. Because this is a certificate program, there doesn’t seem to be a free audit track.

Human Health Risks, Health Equity, and Environmental Justice

Length: 4 weeks (weekly hours vary)
Provided by: The University of Michigan

This course is part of the Impacts of the Environment on Global Public Health specialization. It tackles two topics: environmental justice and risk assessment and management. When it comes to environmental justice, health threats are not equitably distributed. Certain communities are at a much higher risk than others. This makes environmental justice an essential discussion point within public health. This course will introduce environmental justice, discuss vulnerable populations, and teach students how to perform a risk assessment and management process.

“Human Health Risks” can be completed within 4 weeks. You can expect a weekly study commitment of 3-5 hours. Auditing is free with the option of upgrading to a shareable certificate.

Online Teaching: Embedding Social, Race and Gender-Related Equity

Length: 12 weeks (13 hours per week)
Provided by: The Open University

Is online learning equitable? Learning design experts will guide students through the differences between equality and equity, how to “decolonize” their curriculum, and how to build more inclusive learning environments. By the end, you’ll be able to design equitable online teaching, learning, and assessment activities; employ equity audit strategies; and evaluate activities and policies for bias and inequity.

This postgraduate-level course is a microcredential. To be eligible, you should have a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent qualification), experience working in a training or education setting (or relevant experience), and a desire to make online teaching more equitable. Everyone from teachers to training managers to heads of departments (including those in a healthcare setting) can benefit from this course.

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.