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JMIR Med Educ. 2018 Jul 23;4(2):e11140. doi: 10.2196/11140.

Expanding Opportunities for Professional Development: Utilization of Twitter by Early Career Women in Academic Medicine and Science.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, United States.
2
Department of Emergency Medicine, Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, United States.
3
Department of Surgery, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, United States.
4
Department of Emergency Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States.
5
Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States.
6
Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States.
7
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States.
8
Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States.

Abstract

The number of women entering medical school and careers in science is increasing; however, women remain the minority of those in senior faculty and leadership positions. Barriers contributing to the shortage of women in academics and academic leadership are numerous, including a shortage of role models and mentors. Thus, achieving equity in a timelier manner will require more than encouraging women to pursue these fields of study or waiting long enough for those in the pipelines to be promoted. Social media provides new ways to connect and augments traditional forms of communication. These alternative avenues may allow women in academic medicine to obtain the support they are otherwise lacking. In this perspective, we reflect on the role of Twitter as a supplemental method for navigating the networks of academic medicine. The discussion includes the use of Twitter to obtain (1) access to role models, (2) peer-to-peer interactions, and continuous education, and (3) connections with those entering the pipeline-students, trainees, and mentees. This perspective also offers suggestions for developing a Twitter network. By participating in the "Twittersphere," women in academic medicine may enhance personal and academic relationships that will assist in closing the gender divide.

KEYWORDS:

academic success; female; leadership; professional development; social media

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