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FutureLearn offers new online course with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to promote sustainable health behavior change using The Monday Campaigns

Online social learning platform FutureLearn is offering a new online course educating practitioners in The Monday Campaigns, a non-profit public health initiative that encourages individuals and organisations to commit to healthy behaviors that can reduce the incidence of preventable diseases. The online course has been developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Monday Campaigns offers free, evidence-based health promotion resources that provide the sustainable motivation that can lead to life-long behavior change. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that people view Monday as a fresh start and are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors on Monday than any other day. And those that start the week off healthy are more likely to maintain the healthy behavior throughout the week. The campaign has dubbed Monday as ‘the day all health breaks loose,’ and fosters the spread of the concept by providing creative materials, case studies and ready-to-scale programs that harness the best practices of marketing and promotion.

Each week on the new FutureLearn course, The Monday Campaigns: Lessons in Public Health Promotion, a different Monday campaign is profiled with a corresponding case study from a community-based partner. Initiatives include ‘Meatless Monday,’ a practice that encourages consumers to reduce their meat consumption every week, and ‘Move it Monday’, which offers simple workouts, tips and inspiration. ‘DeStress Monday’ is also featured, offering guided, evidence-based body & mind practices, which include stress reduction techniques of yoga, deep breathing, mindfulness and positive affirmations, and Quit and Stay Quit Monday, which promotes smoking cessation using a periodic Monday cue.

The course, which is currently open for enrollment, provides practitioners with the skills and tools needed to help prevent chronic diseases by integrating The Monday Campaigns into the programmes they offer. Taught by faculty from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the course empowers learners to design, implement, promote, and evaluate programmes that tackle the most pressing health issues in their communities. The goal is to help them understand health behavior theories and why people make the decisions they do, and ultimately implement health programmes that leverage periodic cues to benefit their communities.

The course is open to all learners. A background in public health promotion is not required. However, the course may be of particular interest to public health and other professionals working in a variety of communities or organizations, such as schools, governments, worksites, parks, or faith-based groups.

The Monday Campaigns was founded by Sid Lerner, a former advertising executive, in association with Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse Universities in order to address the epidemic of preventable diseases brought on by unhealthy lifestyles. The first initiative, Meatless Monday, was launched in 2003 and has since been adopted by a range of participants, from grassroots advocates and chefs to large food companies — in over 40 countries across the globe. Other successful campaigns followed, addressing smoking cessation, nutrition, physical activity, and stress management — all using a weekly cue and Monday “fresh start” mindset to motivate healthy behaviors from week-to-week.

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Mark Lester, MD, Universities and Educational Partnerships, FutureLearn, said: “The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is a world renowned institution and to be working with the School’s researchers on The Monday Campaigns broadens the reach of this initiative and gives us the opportunity to make a positive difference in many people’s lives around the globe.

“While the campaign was born in America, the lessons have universal applications. By the end of the course, student participants will be able to articulate the importance of community-based health campaigns and utilise lessons learned from the course to create campaigns that address their own community-level health challenges. It’s a very important mission and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

The Monday Campaigns: Lessons in Public Health Promotion is open for enrolment now and begins February 11, 2019.

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