Erica Frank

Founder of NextGenU Erica Frank turns many assumptions about medical education on their heads with her revolutionary prescription for ending the global shortage of physicians.

“The role of a bricks-and-mortar setting as the major option for legitimate knowledge transfer is a thing of the past.”
— Erica Frank


Preventive medicine specialist and environmental activist Erica Frank has pioneered the use of digital learning in medical education. In 2001, Erica founded, the world’s first portal to free, accredited higher education, including medical school, public health, and residency teaching. Starting with a focus in the health sciences, partners with leading universities, professional societies, and government organizations (including the CDC, World Bank, and WHO), giving learners throughout the world credit for this training—all for free (and carbon-free). As a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Preventive Medicine and Population Health at the University of British Columbia, Erica also researches physicians’ personal and clinical prevention habits. Erica has traveled and worked in over 60 countries, and owned the first energy-independent home in Georgia.


Who or what had the most influence over your current work?
My father’s creativity, and his trust in and nurturance of my competence.

If you could meet your 10-year-old self, what would you tell her?
You’ll be rather unchanged in four decades.

What sparks your imagination?
Everything—it’s a tic… I created a museum at the University of British Columbia mainly from things in my basement that includes exhibits on climate change, war, advocacy, evidence- based medicine, and quackery.

A lesson with NextGenU: Q&A with Erica Frank on the TEDMED Blog


A novel integration of online and flipped classroom instructional models in public health higher education
Galway LP, Corbett KK, Takaro TK, Tairyan K, Frank E. BMC Med Educ. 2014;14:181.

Universities keep building, but tech disruptions will sink some
Ladner, P. Business Vancouver. 2015.

NextGenU puts health care training within reach of millions
Ellis, E. Vancouver Sun. 2013.

UBC prof launches free online “university” aimed at developing world
Reid, RJ. The Ubyssey. 2012.

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Virtual Medical School Champion