Social media has many uses—but one that hasn’t yet been fully explored is health education that can be trusted. This Accelerate Health podcast episode tells the story of Medicine Explained, a series on TikTok that’s gained more than 1.1 million followers and over 100 million views worldwide with the largest audience in the 25-34 age range. We spoke with the creators to understand why they created Medicine Explained—and why there is such a hunger for accurate medical knowledge.
In the age of COVID-19 misinformation, fourth-year Tulane University medical school students Amanda d’Almeida and Dan Villavecer decided to take matters into their own hands and create Medicine Explained. They covered everyday issues such as: What type of headache do I have? How do menstrual cups work? Is my pee normal? What does alcohol do to my body? What is diabetes?
Studying public health, d’Almeida realized that lack of information was at the heart of many medical problems. Being tech-savvy, Villavecer recognized that the social media platform was getting a lot of attention, and it could be an effective tool for delivering reliable medical information on social media.
They discuss the need for accurate and preventive health education that is easy to understand and accessible. The pair sees this as a great opportunity to meet that need for people around the world who may not have access to proper healthcare but have access to social media. Their video clips always include a disclaimer saying the information is “for educational purposes only” and encourage viewers to see a licensed healthcare provider for help with medical problems.
d’Almeida and Villavecer said they believe the current generation of young users is hungry for personal medical information and the science behind it. Social media is providing new ways to connect more directly with subscribers, including a feature allowing users to submit questions. They also talk about another social media channel where forums allow for the creation of individual channels to connect with smaller communities.
In this episode, they share lessons learned on their social media journey and talk about upcoming projects. They also talk about their excitement of the health education potential of social media and health tech in a world seeking accurate and practical medical information.
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