Female physicians on Twitter

I delivered a keynote presentation a few weeks ago entitled “Personalized Medicine: Tailoring Healthcare in the Information Age” to a group of parents who had taken their kids to the Bristol-Myers Squibb Science Horizons summer science camp.

Aside from the jolt the parents received from my presentation regarding anticipated changes in 21st century healthcare, especially involving the myriad ELSI issues that would confront medical practices as a result of the completion of the human genome project, I had made a major point about the extraordinary contribution of social media to today’s healthcare system.  Specifically, I mentioned how today’s patients are becoming more engaged and empowered, and doctors not only needed to be aware of this, but ideally, would become active participants in social media themselves.

Reasons behind such a perspective have been sufficiently summarized by Barbara Ficarra, RN, in a recently contributed article to the Huffington Post.

Among the parents in attendance at the Science Horizons event were two female physicians, both pediatricians, sitting near the front row.  They commented to me personally, after my talk that physicians, by and large, do not have time to participate in social media, particularly female docs, and especially those having child-rearing responsiblities.

That conversation prompted the question of how commonplace an occurrence it was for docs to engage in social media, particularly female docs?  I have had many Twitter exchanges with various female docs, but naming a group of individuals on the spur of the moment was more challenging.  To this end, I deemed it advantageous to specifically identify various female physicians engaged in social media, creating a short list that could be made readily available in a situation like that above.

To generate such a list expediently, I was aware of another list available called Twitter Doctors, created by Hisham Rana, MD (@hrana on Twitter), which allowed a convenient method of collecting names.  This list happens to be based on real-time online social influence via a web-based program called PeerIndex.  PeerIndex provides a rank number based on certain metrics involving social media performance, analogous to other social media ranking systems (e.g. Klout).  Metrics for measuring social influence is problematic, however, and social influence changes over time (dependent on real-time social media engagement).  Here, I wish to focus solely on female physicians pre-determined to have a social media presence in mid-2011.

That said, below is a list of female docs who are currently engaged in social media, at least via Twitter, and in many instances, through other social media channels, including blogs. In each case their respective Twitter handle is provided for easy reference (often, additional information, such as a blog link, can be obtained by visiting the respective Twitter page).  I ceased collecting names upon reaching 25 total.  My goal wasn’t to list all female docs who use social media, but to provide a sufficient number of examples for others to follow, and enough to indicate that female docs using social media are indeed not a rare species.  The order shown provides no indication of either personal or professional qualification.

1. Dr. Kelly Senholz @mtnmd
2. AnneMarie Cunningham @amcunningham
3. Jennifer Gunter @DrJenGunter
4. Suzana Makowski @suzanakm
5. Meenakshi Budhraja @gastromom
6. Katherine Chretien @MotherinMed
7. Wendy Sue Swanson @SeattleMamaDoc
8. Natalie Hodge @nataliehodge
9. Vinny Arora @FutureDocs
10. Terry Kind @Kind4Kids
11. Elaine Schatner @medicallessons
12. Ramona L. Bates @rlbates
13. Katherine Burns @kburnsmd
14. Margaret Chisholm @whole_patients
15. Linda Pourmassina @LindaP_MD
16.  Cynthia Bailey @cbaileymd
17. Annabel Bentley @doctorblogs
18. Juliet Mavromatis @drmavromatis
19. Jen Dyer @EndoGoddess
20. Michelle Au @scutmonkey
21. Val Jones @drval
22. Cindy Haines @drcindyhaines
23. Emma Stanton @doctorpreneur
24. Sara Stein @sarasteinmd
25. Nanette Nuessle @DrNanN

On any given Friday, I would be honored to award any of the above ladies with a Twitter #FF for the role model they serve among the community of physicians.  I hope others find this list useful as a starting point in discovering the participation of female physicians in social media.

Robert West is an associate professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SUNY Upstate Medical University.

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  • http://rlbatesmd.blogspot.com/ rlbates

    Thanks!

  • http://expatdoctormom.com/ ExpatDoctorMom

    Dear Robert
    Thanks for this review. I started a blog style website 10 months ago to recreate the community I was able to build in the office as a family physician… to make it available to anyone anywhere. It was really built out of a need I saw within patients. I received emails from patients questioning their healthcare (mostly from specialists) only because they built trust in me and wanted me to concur.

    Thanks for the link to the twitter list: twitterdoctors I have only started to use twitter the past two months @expatdoctormom and hope to make it to the top of that list! I can see how some doctors (female or male) may find it daunting, time consuming or ineffective. But, with a little time, (The Tao of Twitter is an excellent quick read which explains the basics and some more advanced topics) it is not hard to learn the basics.

    I am still struggling with balance of life, work, family, blogging and now social media. I hope to have a schedule soon where I spend a small amount of time each day to keep others informed. I love the networking that has occurred within my own blog communities and within my social media networks. It is so very empowering and reminds me of the collaboration during residency training.

    Now just to figure out Google +

    Best Regards,
    Rajka Milanovic Galbraith, M.D.

  • AC

    Considering that almost nobody gets paid for tweeting, the most obvious thing that can be said about this disparity from a gender point of view is that patients owe a debt of gratitude to the male sex.

  • http://tbtam.com Margaret Polaneczky, MD

    I’m not taking it personally…..

    @tbtam

    • http://www.mydigestivehealth.com Anil Minocha Shreveport

      Neither are all the male docbloggers/tweeters

  • http://DianaIBCLC.com Duana

    Don’t forget @DrJen4Kids, Dr. Jenny Peelen Thomas! (She’s raising 3 of her own, is a practicing pediatrician and board-certified lactation consultant, and she just got her MPH. She’s a fantastic resource.)

    • http://www.drjen4kids.com Jenny Thomas

      Thanks for the mention! Made my day!

  • Amy Barraclough PA-C

    Thanks for the list. Am always looking for female physician role models, just as I do in practice as a Family Medicine PA. Glad to see women in medicine are well represented on twitter.

    @silverwoodkids

  • http://www.getbetterhealth.com Dr. Val Jones

    Thanks for the mention! ;-)

  • http://SteinWellness.com Sara Stein MD

    Thanks! How cool! I get to tweet, teach, complain, chat and follow Steve Martin all in the course of a workday – and have thoughtful dialogue with the likes of you! Thanks Bob!

  • http://www.preemieprimer.com Dr. Jen Gunter

    Thanks for including me on the list. I know nothing can be inclusive and there are many great ladies out there on twitter on mentioned. Yes, there are great guys as well, but that wasn’t the focus of the post. I hear the guys are all over Google +….

    @DrJenGunter

  • http://www.drbaileyskincare.com/blog/ Cynthia Bailey MD

    Wow, what a nice surprise to see this post. Thanks for including me on this list with some wonderful female docs. Regarding social media, I actually find it enjoyable. It’s a nice way to socialize in small increments that don’t require driving or flying anywhere – perfect for the busy professional woman.

  • http://www.upstate.edu/biochem/faculty/?empID=westr Bob West

    Appreciate all your comments; I am now following those mentioned above who previously I was unfamiliar with.

    Comment by Amy Barraclough is satisfying, since she is representative of the audience I was targeting.

    As far as the male gender goes … they’ve already got enough for themselves…

    And Dr. Jen, if only guys are on G+, it’s sure to fail.

  • http://twitter.com/DrEdPullen Edward Pullen

    I suspect I’d hear similar arguments from male physicians, though I’m the first to acknowledge that Mom’s carry the workload most of the time.  Great article.  Thanks for the list to follow.  I wish the @femaledoctor list was hyperlinked.

  • diabeticsurvivalkit

    Thanks so much for this link.  I never considered social media until recently when I realized, as an endocrinologist, I was able to provide information for people about diabetes.  My patients have been using my website to learn how to shop, cook, and understand their disease.  They have been sharing my blog posts with their families who never have time to come into the office with them.  People I never met are now being helped through the education provided as well.  I am so new to social media, I didn’t realize there was a physician’s site.  Perhaps, we can all work together in some capacity to provide good solid reliable information for patients in many different areas.  Thanks so much.

  • http://twitter.com/leapdoctor leapdoctor.com

    Thank you for this list! Always looking to connect with female physicians, especially those who are active in social media! Enjoyed your article.

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