A Common Passion: To Improve Health Care

The Online Education team in Penn’s Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy (MEHP Online) translates faculty expertise into high-quality, engaging courses and programs that reach professionals across health care and around the world.

Our interdisciplinary faculty transform health care by crafting policy, shaping behavioral interventions, improving operations, and driving innovation.

Our students and alumni apply sharpened skills, deeper knowledge, guided practice, and vibrant connections to their own work.

Together we pursue our common passion: to improve health care.

Online Programs to Transform Health Care

Educational programs and resources offered by Penn MEHP Online include:

  • Master of Health Care Innovation (MHCI)—The University of Pennsylvania’s first fully online degree, launched in Fall 2017, connects problem-solvers to form a close network ready to lead innovation in policy, behavioral economics, and operations.
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Innovation—A 4-course credential, the Graduate Certificate can also be used as a building block toward the Penn MHCI.
  • Professional Development courses and Certificate of Completion—Four-week, noncredit online courses are designed to help individuals and learning groups from organizations gain new perspectives from each other, sharpen their skills, and expand their knowledgebase. Courses are stackable for a noncredit certificate.
  • Continuing Education—Brief online learning activities can be used for licensing and training requirements for physicians, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, Institutional Review Board members, researchers, and others.
  • MOOCs—Broad public learning in health care innovation and the economics of health care delivery is available via Coursera.
  • Teaching Resources—Best practices and ethics content for noncommercial use by instructors in schools and employer training programs are offered by the MEHP Online team.

Our Team

The Penn MEHP Online team comprises thought leaders in developing meaningful learning experiences for health care professionals, balancing tradition and innovation, and supporting faculty and students alike.

We are:

  • Laura C. Hart, Director of Online Educational Initiatives
  • Karen Kappe, Instructional Designer
  • Mary Leonard, Graphic Designer
  • Esther Martin, Course Coordinator
  • Caitlin O’Neill, Program Manager, certificates and continuing education
  • Mary Pham, Administrative Coordinator
  • Katherine Ridella, Program Manager, MHCI
  • Heather Rosenbloom, Senior Marketing Manager
  • Adam D. Zolkover, Associate Director for Online Instructional Design

Course Assistants play a vital role in course delivery. They often bring to the classroom their own real-world experience working in health care.

Our Place at Penn

The Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy is based in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Under the direction of the department chair, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, and interim chair Steven Joffe, MD, MPH, the Department stands as one of the premier institutions of research and education in medical ethics and health policy in the world.

Commitment to Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy is committed to being an anti-racist environment and cultivating a positive and supportive work environment for all of our members. We deplore violence towards and discrimination against racial, ethnic, sexual, gender, and other minority groups, support Black Lives Matter, and believe that as individuals and as a department, we must devote ourselves to actively combatting racism and injustice through our conduct and our work. We view each other as whole people, understanding that work is an important part of each of our identities, but not our whole identity. 

Below are the core values that guide our work and department culture. We value:

  • Diversity among and inclusion of members of our department with regard to observable and unobservable characteristics
  • Curiosity about the world and an openness to views that may differ from our own
  • Conducting rigorous scientific and conceptual research that will improve the health and wellbeing of all people, but especially those with the fewest resources who have faced the greatest injustices
  • Listening to each other, treating one another with respect, and encouraging debate and the respectful expression of different viewpoints
  • Mentoring, developing, and supporting people to learn, grow, and challenge themselves
  • Advocating for structural changes in the institutions in which we work and those that have the power to improve health and wellbeing
  • Engaging in and partnering with communities at the local, state, national, and international level to achieve their health goals
  • Educating students, the public, and each other in ways that engage diverse perspectives


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If you have questions about the work of MEHP Online, please contact Laura C. Hart, Director of Online Educational Initiatives, hartl@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.