For those of us who came to adulthood at the dawn of the modern digital age, the multifaceted and ever-evolving world of social media is often a challenging landscape to navigate. However, for our younger colleagues, not to mention fellows, residents, and medical students, the various forms of social media come as second nature and are essential tools of communication and communion. Although every department has an Internet presence in the form of at least one website, different departments are embracing social media at different rates and in different ways. In larger medical schools and health systems, social media posts and strategies are often handled by professionals hired by the medical school, hospital, or practice group. In these instances, they are generally patient-facing programs designed to increase referrals and to burnish the reputation of the institution. Most universities discourage or prohibit social media activities by individuals claiming to be communicating on behalf of the institution, but individuals are free to post on their own behalf and to discuss their experiences and/or support of their programs. In keeping with the generational digital divide, those active on social media are typically junior or midcareer faculty or trainees. Communities have also developed within individual subspecialties (such as stroke medicine) on platforms like Twitter, facilitating the discussion and exchange of academic information, interesting clinical cases, and practice preferences, among other topics.
Social media has now also become an important recruitment tool for residency programs. Consequently, many departments have turned to their own residents and fellows to share their training experiences online, and most residency program candidates have come to rely on these reports in their own decision-making process. Websites continue to play an important role in resident recruitment as well, with candidates not only reviewing the department’s official website for detailed information about the program and the community, but also researching sites like RateMyProfessors.com for resident and medical student opinions regarding the department’s faculty, and the U.S. News & World Report rankings of both medical schools and medical specialties (although the specialty rankings are actually rankings of hospital-based service lines, rather than academic departments: U.S. News & World Report: News, Rankings and Analysis on ...). Originally started to bolster flagging subscriptions for the news magazine, US News and World Report, several decades ago, the US News rankings have become big business, and are now so important to an institution’s reputation and popularity with patients that many medical schools and hospitals have hired entire teams focused exclusively on improving their ranking. US News has developed an extensive methodology for their ranking process, which is published annually. Though very transparent, these rankings continue to engender spirited debate in academic circles about their validity and application. Despite these debates, the US News rankings continue to reign supreme in the eyes of the public. Almost no rankings are available for residency training programs, but in recent years the website Doximity has started its own ranking of residency programs, which appears to be essentially a straw poll of those Doximity members who respond to their call for votes for best program. Though clearly far less rigorous than US News, this ranking fills a vacuum, and residency applicants are using it to help choose which programs to interview with. As the universe of social media evolves and as neurology faculties are increasingly populated by those fluent in use of these digital tools, they will become as much a part of academic neurology as email and websites are today.
We were very pleased to launch the very first AUPN virtual Winter Program series with the Joint Chair and Program Director’s forum on January 22. Congratulations to moderator John England (LSU), and our distinguished panelists (Brian Copeland (LSU), Steven Galetta (NYU), Heather MacLean (NYU), Gauri Pawar (WVU), Emily Pharr (Wake Forest), Erica Schuyler (U Conn) and David Urion (Harvard & Boston Childrens)) for delivering a truly outstanding program. By the time you read this, our Program Director’s Workshop will have passed (Fri, Jan 29), but our Clerkship Director’s Workshop (Fri, Feb 5), which focuses on virtual teaching, and our Academic Recruitment Workshop (Fri, Feb 12) are still forthcoming. Registration is free but is required to attend.
We appreciate everyone who has already renewed their AUPN membership for 2021. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to renew at the below link.
Clifton L. Gooch, MD
Today’s Resource Links
Renew your AUPN Membership for 2021
Go to www.aupn.org and click on Pay Dues at the top of the page. Log into your account. If you have forgotten your username, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have forgotten your password, please reset it. Do not create a new profile. Follow the directions to pay dues. If you wish to pay with a check, simply print a copy of the invoice and return by mail. AUPN does not accept ACH payments. Access our 2020 W-9
AUPN Fall Chairs Session Videos
How to Get More Medical Students to Choose Neurology as a Career
How to Foster the Development of Junior Faculty
Managing Up and Down: Getting What You Need from Your Faculty and Your Dean
Upcoming AUPN Virtual Winter Programs
These programs will be held on consecutive Friday afternoons at 3 PM EST from Jan to Feb 2021. The programs include: Clerkship Director’s Workshop (Feb 5); Special Program: Recruiting Academic Neurology Faculty (Feb 12).
AUPN’s Leadership Minute #5: How to Design a Faculty Retreat
Past AUPN Leadership Minutes