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sheMD Journal Club

Social Media and Advancement of

Women Physicians

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When we at #sheMD were in medical school, use of social media was VERY frowned upon! But today's #sheMDJournalClub article from JAMA, entitled, "Social Media and Advancement of Women Physicians" points out how social media is potentially helping to advance the careers of female physicians.

Over a decade ago, Robinson described stressors that are unique to female physicians, including "workplace discrimination, lack of role models and mentors, lower compensation and fewer resources than their male counterparts were given, and role conflict between motherhood and professional roles." The article asserts that virtual communities may offer women physicians a place to discuss some of these unique stressors with other women, in order to share struggles, and reduce stigma. 

The article points out how Twitter is being used for promotion of education, with women finding affiliated virtual communities via hashtags, such as #WomenInMedicine, #ILookLikeaSurgeon, and #GirlMedTwitter.  Also how these virtual communities and online relationships have grown into live conferences for women physicians, such as FemInEm's Idea Exchange - FIX, and the GirlMedMedia Conference.

In addition to creating a virtual community for women physicians, social media could potentially be advantageous for women in academic medicine. The relationships formed could constitute mentorship and sponsorship, which many women in medicine are lacking.  Also, social media can potentially be used for promotion. In 2016, the Mayo Clinic became one of the first academic medical centers to formally include social media scholarship in promotion criteria, and published a guidelines to help other institutions follow suit, see the article here.


It is important to note that the article is not able to prove that  social media is actually advancing careers.

At sheMD, we think creating a strong community of practice among female medical students, residents and attending physicians will allow increased awareness of the issues facing #womeninmedicine, better mentoring and networking among women in medicine, and potentially an improvement in #genderequity for future generations of physicians. We cannot wait to see what future research on social media and women physicians teaches us!

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