In a world where information spreads more rapidly than ever via social media, what clinicians say—to each other and to their patients—can be as important as what they do.
Here are seven of the most influential doctors on social media who are fighting for a brighter future for all who enter the profession.
Uché Blackstock, MD
The founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, Uché Blackstock is also a mother, a medical contributor to MSNBC, and a public speaker on bias and racism in healthcare.
After receiving her medical degree from Harvard University, Blackstock went on to serve as Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and as the Faculty Director for Recruitment, Retention, and Inclusion in the Office of Diversity Affairs at NYU School of Medicine. In 2019, she left the faculty to found Advancing Health Equity, an organization that partners with healthcare firms to address racism and racial health inequities in the industry.
Blackstock’s writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, and the Washington Post. In 2019, she was featured in Forbes’ “10 Diversity and Inclusion Trailblazers You Need to Get Familiar With,” and in 2020 she was awarded a Black Voices for Black Justice Fund grant for her advocacy.
Blackstock uses her social media platforms to spread awareness of health disparities and promote racial equity in healthcare.
Atul Gawande, MD
Atul Gawande has had a busy pandemic. Not only is he a co-founder of CIC Health, which offers COVID-19 testing and vaccination across the country, he also served on the Biden transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A practicing endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Gawande has also been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998, and works as a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Gawande has written four New York Times best-selling books and won numerous awards and grants, including: 2 National Magazine Awards, AcademyHealth’s Impact Award for highest research impact on healthcare, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Award for writing about science. He uses his Twitter feed to spread evidence-based medical information and advocate for vaccinations.
Danielle Jones, MD
As a mother of four and a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist hospitalist, it’s amazing that Danielle Jones finds time for advocacy and public education. Through Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, Jones posts information on periods, pregnancy, and all things sexual health.
On her website, she wrote “I’m passionate about patient education and women’s health. I believe empowering patients to be confident & knowledgeable about their conditions builds physician-patient relationships and improves patient outcomes.”
Kevin Pho, MD
A social media veteran, Kevin Pho has been a healthcare influencer since before the term influencer existed. A practicing internal medicine physician, Pho also dedicates his time to hosting The Podcast by KevinMD, as well as writing books about using social media as a physician, and public speaking.
Pho created the KevinMD blog in 2004, a platform that now receives more than 3 million page views a month, and his commentaries regularly feature in USA Today, CNN.com, the New York Times, and Medscape. He’s also made appearances on CBS Evening News and WNYC-New York Public Radio’s The Takeaway.
Pho uses his platforms to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities and discuss current medical issues.
Eric Topol, MD
Once voted as the #1 Most Influential Physician Executive in the United States in a national poll conducted by Modern Healthcare, Eric Topol is a powerhouse researcher. He’s published more than 1,200 peer-reviewed articles (as well as several books) and is one of the top 10 most-cited researchers in medicine.
Topol founded the Scripps Research Translational Institute in 2007 under a $35 million NIH grant, and is currently enrolling 1 million participants for the Precision Medicine (All of Us) Initiative, a prospective research program, which has received more than $200 million in grant money.
Topol’s primary focus is genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine, and he uses his Twitter feed to report insights and research findings, with a recent focus on COVID-19.
Will Flanary, MD/Dr. Glaucomflecken
Most people know Will Flanary by a different name: Dr. Glaucomflecken, the top-hat-wearing comedic character who blends humor with education. Flanary, an ophthalmologist practicing in Oregon, regularly takes to Twitter and Tiktok as Dr. Glaucomflecken to inform his audiences on a range of healthcare-related topics—and to make them laugh.
Flanary gained public attention (and won hearts) after he survived an out-of-hospital V-fib cardiac arrest at the age of 34. He documented his recovery on social media using his trademark wit, offering insight into what treatment looks like for heart attack patients. He’s also a testicular cancer survivor, which means he’s experienced the ins and outs of healthcare from all sides. One of the causes he adopted was raising money and awareness for the First Descents program, a nonprofit that connects young cancer patients with outdoor adventure initiatives.
Flanary’s writing has appeared in The Ophthalmologist and The British Medical Journal, and he’s a frequent speaker at medical conferences.
Esther Choo, MD, MPH
Esther Choo is an Associate Professor at the Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University. But she’s best known as one of the founders of TIME'S UP Healthcare, an organization that advocates for safety and equity in the healthcare workplaces, and a co-founder of Equity Quotient, a firm that assesses organizational culture for equity, safety, and respect.
A graduate of Yale University and Yale School of Medicine, Choo spent the pandemic raising awareness about PPE shortages in hospitals and serving as the Chief Medical Officer for JUPE, which builds mobile healthcare units.
Choo has established herself as a bold voice on gender and racial equity in healthcare, who uses data to argue for organizational change. She’s appeared on CNN and MSNBC, speaking on how to transform workplaces into safer spaces. Her commentaries have featured in The New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard Business Review, and The Washington Post. Choo uses social media to aid her fight for equity and justice in healthcare.