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Social media in research-based graduate education – Where are we? What’s next?

April 22, 2014

By Marina Bastawrous (@mbastaw)

During the past few months, my colleagues and I from the Healthcare, Technology and Place (HCTP) Program ( were in the thick of planning our annual research symposium. Our theme centered on the “lifecycle of interdisciplinary health research”. The goal was to have a symposium that highlighted how bringing together individuals and stakeholders from different fields can be taxing but rewarding. The symposium took place on March 27th, 2104 and was a hit! (See: #hctp2014 to get a sense of what went down).

Marina Bastawrous

Marina Bastawrous

The majority of the students in the HCTP Program are doctoral or post-doctoral students who are heavily engaged in some aspect of health research. On January 29th, #hcsmca had a lively chat about the role of social media in #meded. This got me thinking – while much discussion has taken place around the role of social media in health research broadly and the role of social media in #meded specifically – little has been talked about in the context of research-based graduate education. Students pursuing Masters or PhD degrees (as well as those who hold PhDs and are completing post-doctoral training) have the capacity to enter a range of positions. Many will pursue academic positions that entail both research and teaching. Others may pursue scientist positions at healthcare organizations where the majority of their time is dedicated to research efforts. And still others may enter industry or government positions where the transferable skills they acquired during graduate studies can be applied.

From personal experience and with reference to some great slides from @colleen_young and @benderjack, I know that social media has limitless application and potential in health research. See Social Media, Research and Community Managers. With graduate students in a prime position to impact healthcare through a variety of avenues, I find myself worrying that a generation of future scientists & educators will miss the opportunity to harness the power of social media if the foundation isn’t laid during the training stages of their career.

Before I jump into the topics for the chat, I want to ‘shout-out’ some great literature and resources pertaining to the use of social media for health research:

For the April 23rd #hcsmca chat (1 PM ET), let’s all ponder and offer ideas about the following topics:

  • T1a: In your opinion, what are some parallels & differences between #meded and graduate research training?
  • T1b: Do these parallels/differences influence the role that social media plays in each domain?
  • T2: Share examples of how social media has been successfully (or not) used in graduate research training.
  • T3a: How would you like to see social media incorporated in education/training programs for future researchers?
  • T3b: What can graduate students (and junior researchers) learn from using social media as they develop their careers?

Read the transcript of the April 23 #hcsmca chat.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2014 7:40 pm

    So sorry to have missed this terrific chat – looking forward to catching up via the transcript


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