Open educational resources related to medicine and health

Even though open educational resources are plentiful on the web, it can be a challenge to find the teaching objects that are right for a course. The links listed on this page can be used as a starting point when searching for materials. Resources links include a search tool for medical images such as x-rays and MRIs, recorded lectures, videos, quizzes, journals, e-books to name a few.


Freesound offers a collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse. Register to download.

Target group: everyone
Topics: no topic, sound files for different purposes
Type of material: mp3 audio files
How can material be used: media presentations

FreeVideoLectures provides video lectures from schools like Columbia University, Stanford and the University of Michigan. Subjects available right now are in the areas of neuroscience, patient communication, microscopy, anatomy dissections and orthodontics.

Target group: students and teachers
Topics: courses related to medicine
Type of material: video lectures
How can material be used: videos can be viewed online or downloaded for personal use

HEAL National Digital Library

The Health Education Assets Library (HEAL) is a collection of over 22 000 freely available digital materials for health sciences education. The collection is now housed at the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Digital Library.

Target group: students, teacher and health professionals
Topics: teaching materials for health science education
Type of material: videos, tutorials, images, animations
How can material be used: mostly Creative Commons licensing

Special collections include:
Knowledge Weavers Dermatology Images Poja Histology Collection
Knowledge Weavers ECG Collection Oral Cavity Subset
NeuroLogic Exam: An Anatomical Approach Lymphatic Tissues and Organs Subset
Pathology Education Instructional Resource (PEIR) Placenta Subset
Respiratory System Subset Respiratory System Subset
Blood and Bone Marrow Subset Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Illustrations
UCLA Interactive Neuroscience PediNeuroLogic Exam: A Neurodevelopmental Approach
Albert Einstein College of Medicine Gallery of Hematology Images


Provided by the US National Library of Medicine, MedPix® is searchable database, integrating images and textual information. The primary target audience includes physicians and nurses, allied health professionals, medical students, nursing students and others. The content material is organized by disease location (organ system), pathology category, patient profiles, and by image classification and caption. The website can be used to browse the cases or diagnosis. Quizzes related to the image are also available. 

MedPix® images and case materials are available free of charge for your personal use and for local teaching at your institution including distribution of handouts and syllabi. For anything other than personal use, you should respect the original contributor and contact them for additional permission requests.

Target group: students, teacher and health professionals
Topics: related to disease and diagnoses
Type of material: images, quizzes
How can material be used: for personal use and teaching

MERLOT – Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

The MERLOT repository is a database of metadata that describe 1) all the learning materials (including learning exercises), sometimes called learning objects, that have been contributed to the repository by MERLOT Members, and 2) the profiles of registered MERLOT Members. No registration is necessary to search the site or use the learning materials, which have been peer-reviewed.

Target group: primarily for faculty and students of higher education
Topics: large variety of academic topics
Type of material: teaching materials, quizzes, games
How can material be used: check license before using

OER Commons

OER Commons is a digital library and network for educational resources. Resources can be found by using the site’s search function or by browsing by subject or type of material and tags. By registering, users can contribute their own materials as well as create collaborative groups to share resources and discussion.

Target group: students, teachers
Topics: large variety of academic topics
Type of material: educational materials, case studies
How can material be used: check license before using

Public Health Image Library

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 750 health-related images licensed in the public domain. This means they have no copyright restrictions, although it is requested that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of the images.

Target group: students, teacher and health professionals
Topics: health-related
Type of material: Images, illustrations, some videos
How can material be used: no copyright restrictions

Wikimedia Commons

With over 30 million media files, Wikimedia Commons is probably the largest indexing site for media on the web that can be uploaded by anyone. Most of the images found within its database are usable via a Creative Commons license or are in the public domain.

Target group: public
Topics: large variety of topics
Type of material: images and media
How can material be used: mostly Creative Commons licensing

Not actually OER, this site, Visible Body sells mobile applications for medical students. It also offers free eBooks about anatomy and a website which does not cost anything to use.

Target group: students, teacher and health professionals
Topics: human anatomy
Type of material: Interactive application
How can material be used: for personal use

Helen Gelin