An Introduction to Rare Diseases

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About Course

The National Organization of Rare Diseases (NORD) has launched a FREE Rare Disease Education course for students. Health care professionals  and researchers across the 40 NORD Rare Disease Centers of Excellence have come together to curate a group of 20, 30-60 minute lectures covering an Introduction to Rare Diseases, Disease Examples, Social and Ethical Implications of Working in Rare Diseases, and Careers in Rare Disease. The course will be available all year long. Upon completion of the approximately 20-hour course, students will receive a Certificate of Completion from the NORD Rare Disease Centers of Excellence.


A rare disease is a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. Cumulatively, there are more than 10,000 rare diseases affecting more than 30 million Americans. Many experience a prolonged diagnostic odyssey, meaning that it can take years for them to be diagnosed with a rare condition, which can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing. With increased provider education and awareness about rare conditions, more patients can be diagnosed and cared for sooner.


Upon completing this course, you will:

  • learn about the health care gap for 1 in 10 Americans
  • have a better understanding of rare diseases
  • learn about the importance of becoming a rare disease patient advocate
  • understand that patients and their families NEED you to know about rare diseases
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Course Content


  • Welcome!
  • Pre-Course Test

Rare Diseases Overview
A general overview on broad topics regarding rare diseases and their impact on the patients and their families.

Rare Disease Examples

Social, Ethical, and Political Implications of Living with a Rare Disease

Careers in Rare

Course Completion
You have now completed this course! Before you receive your certificate of completion, we'd like to hear your thoughts about you learned.

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