How Do You Social? Medical Students Wanted for UCF Study

socialized_medicineBy Andrea Berry and Monica Bailey

About a year ago, the Faculty Development Office at the University of Central Florida (UCF) ventured into the realm of social media to see what opportunities there were for medical education and faculty development. Along with starting a departmental Twitter account (@Comfacdev), the team also conducted a literature review on social media uses in medical education in order to develop a best practices workshop for Faculty. While there were many pioneers who embraced social media from the field of medicine, such as Joyce Lee (@Joyclee) and Kevin Pho (@KevinMD), the literature on social media revolved more around concerns that social media was a Pandora’s box to professionalism issues. Several faculty at UCF and other institutions expressed similar concerns to those found in the literature. Subsequently, students lack role models or direction on how to use social media for professional purposes.

The Faculty Development office recognized that in order to appropriately prepare faculty to engage and educate students on social media’s professional uses, it is important to first identify gaps in students’ perceptions and use.  Our study was designed in collaboration with Joseph Caravaglio, a second-year medical student at UCF to further incorporate student perspective.  Before distribution, the survey was vetted through several focus groups at UCF.

The objectives of our study are to:

  • assess the current practices and perceptions of medical students regarding the role of social media for personal and professional use
  • identify gaps between student practices and perceptions with model practices in the field, in order to recommend tools and practices for maximum student benefit in the medical education curriculum.

Results from the survey will provide a basis by which medical educators can make informed curricular decisions by identifying gaps between  medical students’ current social media practices and the ways in which they will be using social media professionally. The study seeks to impact technology skills related to medical student development as professional users of social media. As health care stakeholders use social media to congregate and discuss relevant issues, the effective physician will be one that is prepared to engage in the conversation. Medical school is an important time to practice and develop these skills.

For students who are interested in participating in this study, an explanation of the research and survey is available at

Berry BaileyAs Director of Faculty Development at UCF COM, Andrea Berry (left) has recognized the important role social media will play in advancing professional development opportunities for faculty and learners in academic medicine. She is an active Twitter user, has published “Twitter Best Practices” in GWIMSWatch, and will present “Developing a Digital Presence:  The Use of Twitter as a Professional Development Tool” at the AAMC Annual Meeting.

 Monica Bailey (right) has been an advocate and early adopter of moving education and professional processes online as a Clerkship Coordinator at the University of California, San Francisco and the Faculty Development Coordinator at the University of Central Florida, College of Medicine (UCF COM). She hopes that this research will grant greater accessibility to meaningful information for stakeholders and increase the diversity of engaged contributors in educational and professional healthcare communities.