These doctors are here to teach everybody, on several platforms.

Americans spend at least four hours a day looking at their phones. In 2020, 59 percent of American internet users looked online for health information. Social media is an efficient way to reach diverse, underserved communities and share new, important information in easily accessible platforms. It also gives health professionals a helpful way to get feedback from communities and see what information resonates with patients.

Research shows that by engaging the public through social media, health professionals can reach patients in the most personal spaces, even during social distancing. The American Medical Association (AMA) recently recommended that doctors use social media as a way to ?proactively define their online presence so they can control how patients perceive them on the web.? As patients spend more time online, doctors are competing with digital content that may or may not be accurate to gain patients? trust.

We at CPASS recommend that?communities focus on these strategies to help serve diverse communities:

Learn how to identify credible information. Almost 1 in 10 Americans use social media to get medical information, and it?s not always accurate. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends identifying who wrote the information, who reviewed it, what their credentials are, and when they wrote it. MedlinePlus, an NIH service that?s part of the world?s largest medical library, has helpful health information written in multiple languages and is designed for people who aren?t necessarily a medical professional.

Promote reliable social media sources. Battling misinformation is a frustrating challenge for health professionals. Organizations gain trust when they correct false information and make clear, research-based recommendations. Several board-certified doctors are using their social media accounts to debunk misinformation and promote the advantages of preventative healthcare for specific communities. Dr. Erica Montes, M.D., FACOG?s social media focuses on empowering female patients and answering questions from how to treat period pain to birth control best practices.

Customize messaging for the audience. Communities get most engaged in content when they are part of the conversation. Researchers suggest that mobilizing underserved communities through social media empowers leadership and fuels advocacy. A recently updated US Census website now includes demographic data for all towns of 5,000 or more people, giving healthcare leaders critical information to target their messages. It?s important to appreciate how historically marginalized communities have been harmed by healthcare professionals in the past when crafting messages designed to build trust.

At CPASS Foundation, we are here to support traditionally underrepresented middle school, high school, and college students by introducing them to STEMM subjects, majors, and training. We provide guidance and thought leadership to help create opportunities for students in Illinois to participate in STEMM-related fields.?Contact Dr. Stephen Martin?to learn more about how you can partner with CPASS Foundation to create more opportunities for Black and other underrepresented students in the Chicago area.