4 doctors making a difference on TikTok

By Jules Murtha | Fact-checked by Barbara Bekiesz
Published June 3, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • With at least 1.6 billion users in 2021 alone, TikTok has become a popular platform on which individuals can retrieve medical information.

  • To engage audiences when presenting medical information online, some doctors utilize eye-catching fashion or current dance trends.

  • You can make quality, informative TikTok videos by sticking to explainable terminology and working with media agencies to increase engagement.

You may not dance and lip-sync to pop songs for patients in the office to communicate important medical information. But you can certainly do so online.

TikTok is an especially inviting platform for doctors looking to make short-form videos about health-related subjects, and some have become highly influential figures in the TikTok medical community. These four doctors are making a difference on TikTok—here’s how they’re doing it.[]

Don Dizon, MD

Don Dizon, MD (@drdonsdizon on TikTok) makes more than just fashion statements on the platform.

Dizon, an oncologist and professor of medicine at Brown University, does grab attention with his collection of stylish bow ties, ties, and scarves. But there’s a lot more to his content.

Dizon uses his hearty platform to talk about cancer.

Dizon (also the director of medical oncology at Rhode Island Hospital) creates videos that teach users about different types of cancer and their intersections with other diseases such as COVID-19.

In his latest video, Dizon urges patients to consider ABCDE (asymmetry, borders, colors, diameter, and evolution) when self-checking for skin tags that could be cancerous.[]

Dizon uses text to display information while he puts on a floral suit and plays a pop-rock song in the background, making it user-friendly, informative, and stylish.

Jennifer Lincoln, MD, IBCLC

Another physician who is making waves on TikTok is Jennifer Lincoln, MD, IBCLC, an OB/GYN, author, and educator on social media.

Amid the bubbling abortion controversy, Lincoln dedicates herself to sexual education and reproductive health justice.

She’s amassed 2.8 million followers since joining the app.

Lincoln’s sole pinned TikTok video (a video that stays at the top of the creator’s page) delves into five undesirable potential effects of overturning Roe v. Wade.[]

“Our Supreme Court doesn’t care about reproductive rights anymore. Have you noticed?” she asks in the video.

“It doesn’t mean that we can’t still protect abortion—that’s a topic for another day. It just means we can’t rely on the Supreme Court,” Lincoln says, prior to outlining the five “terrible things” that will occur once Roe is overturned:

  • Twenty-six states will likely ban abortion.

  • In those 26 states, 36 million individuals with uteruses of reproductive age won’t have access to abortion.

  • Safe, legal abortions will be harder to access due to the long drives some patients must make to get one.

  • Pregnant people will face more domestic violence because they’ll be less inclined to leave abusive partners.

  • Poverty will increase among individuals who could get pregnant.

Emeka Okorocha, MD

Emeka Okorocha is a London-based MD who greets his TikTok followers with cheerful energy before diving into health-related topics in his videos.

Okorocha is known for offering “health hacks,” which can include tips ranging from exercise routine maintenance to smoking cessation.

In one video, Okorocha wears a surgical mask while debunking five myths about face masks in the age of COVID.[]

“Hi guys! It’s me, Dr. Emeka,” he begins, before busting the mask myths, held to be true by many folks in August of 2020.

One is the idea that if you feel alright, a mask isn’t necessary. Okorocha reminds viewers that patients with COVID often don’t experience symptoms, especially just after transmission—so it's important to wear masks even if you don’t feel symptomatic.

Another myth is that it’s impossible to breathe in a mask.

“If that was the case,” he chuckles, “this video would be much more difficult than I expected.”

Shonna Gaskin, MD

Shonna Gaskin, an MD and anesthesiology resident, has over 174,000 TikTok followers, and that’s not just because of the dance trends she participates in (while sporting scrubs).

Gaskin provides users with tips for making it into medical school.

Her content is especially helpful for Black people looking to pursue a career in healthcare.

In one video posted in 2021, she wears a Black Lives Matter T-shirt while naming three medical schools that graduated the highest number of Black students between 2018 and 2019—Morehouse SOM (56), Howard University (71), and Meharry Medical College (88).[]

Gaskin creatively disseminates this information while dancing to a hip-hop track and using movement to draw audiences in, changing in an instant from her T-shirt to scrubs.

Ensure quality content

While doctors like Dizon, Lincoln, Okorocha, and Gaskin create notably influential content, not all TikTok videos created by HCPs are completely accurate.

Physicians on TikTok who teach about genitourinary cancers, for example, often use outdated information, according to a study published by Frontiers in Oncology.[]

To dispense high-quality content on TikTok, you can collaborate with media agencies and make a point to use patient-friendly terminology.

What this means for you

TikTok is an influential platform: At least 1.6 billion people used it in 2021, many of whom sought easily accessible medical information. Doctors such as the four featured in this article have been successful in creating content that provides valuable medical information in an entertaining way. You can follow their example by collaborating with media agencies to develop your own engaging videos that include user-friendly, easily understood terms.

Related: Doctors use social media to boost mental health
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