When we first read about the Digital Communications Fellowship in Pathology (@DCF_Path), we knew we had to get the inside scoop. Pathology and digital communications - how intriguing is that?! We had the opportunity to interview Fellowship Founders Dr. Kamran Mirza (@KMirza), Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Dr. Michael Schubert (@MichaelPathMag), Executive Editor of The Pathologist (@pathologistmag).
What will a pathologist gain by having a digital presence? How will it make them a better pathologist?
“The world is increasingly online – and never more so than during a pandemic! Nowadays, people get their information from websites, wikis, and social media. If pathologists aren’t visible online, both to one another and to the general public, how will they remain at the forefront of medicine?
From a public-facing perspective, most patients are still unaware of pathology and lack an understanding of how pathologists and laboratory medicine professionals contribute to their care. Only with a powerful digital presence can the lab make itself known to the general public and illustrate its value to every patient.
Within the discipline, it’s important for pathologists and laboratory medicine professionals to connect with one another digitally to grow their network and their expertise. Online pathology resources offer vast reserves of knowledge – and there will always be something that isn’t online yet, so it’s valuable for people to grow those reserves by contributing their own expertise. On social media, pathologists can connect with other departments, learn from the experiences of others, share cases, obtain informal consults, and pass on their own knowledge. Social media, in particular, has exploded within the pathology community, with users sharing everything from “tweetorials” to quotes from conference talks that others may not have been able to attend. Twitter is even beginning to affect residency matches – with programs checking out candidates’ social media and candidates judging program preferences by their online presence.
Since medicine’s earliest beginnings, knowledge-sharing has moved the discipline forward. Digital media are just the newest and most far-reaching ways of achieving this knowledge-sharing.”
The faculty is filled with heavy hitters on Twitter who have thousands of followers. How did you collect such a dynamic group of individuals?
“The pathology Twitter world is filled with exceptional individuals – smart and giving. We are fortunate to be part of the PathTwitter family and were able to leverage expertise from amazing pathologists throughout the discipline. When the idea for the fellowship was taking shape, we sent out a “feeler” message to a small group of like-minded individuals and the energy and excitement in their response was palpable! Based on the participants’ recommendations and schedules, we came up with a plan and a curriculum. The rest is history!”
What will this fellowship do for pathology as a profession?
“We hope that this fellowship will introduce aspiring and early-career pathologists and laboratory medicine professionals to the digital world and educate them in communicating effectively through new media – from tweets to videos. They will learn to phrase information clearly, behave professionally online, avoid social media pitfalls, and provide valuable services to their online audiences. They will have the benefit of social media experts and pioneers, and we hope that they will conclude the fellowship with a strong digital presence and the knowledge they need to educate their peers, colleagues, and students of the future.”
What applicants are you looking for?
“The Digital Communications Fellowship in Pathology welcomes all applicants, whether it will be your first foray into the digital world or you’re already an Internet veteran. No matter how experienced we are, there’s always more to learn!”
Thank you to Dr. Mirza and Dr. Schubert for taking the time to talk with us. Learn more about the Digital Communications Fellowship in Pathology by visiting https://thepathologist.com/digital-communications-fellowship. Also, be sure to read part one of Pathology and Digital Communications.
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