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Medical Schools making Wikipedia better

by Amin Azzam, MD, MA

Medical students providing high-quality information to the world's population in the languages of their preference, in the ways they already access information, and for free!

San Francisco, CA Health Information Technology

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About this project

The problem we solve:
As of 2015, Wikipedia’s medical content was made up of more than 155,000 articles across more than 255 languages, and supported by more than 1.4 million references. At least 94% of medical students use Wikipedia as an information source, yet we do not train them to use this popular resource critically or contribute to its overall value. We feel that this is a lost opportunity for our learners and Wikipedia’s global audience.

About our solution:
Beginning in Fall 2013, we offered a month-long immersion elective rotation for fourth-year medical students to receive academic credit for editing Wikipedia. UCSF faculty and medical librarians partnered with the WikiProject Medicine initiative, the Wikipedia Education Program, and experienced Wikipedians to design, deliver and evaluate the course.
Progress to date: This pioneering UCSF medical school elective course has been tremendously successful by multiple measures. There has been a steady stream of interested students over 3 academic years, now including visiting students from other medical schools. The students who complete the course significantly improve the pages they edit, and those pages are heavily trafficked. For example, the first 43 students’ Wikipedia articles were viewed 1,116,065 times during only students active editing months. Furthermore, students leave the elective with a broadened sense of physician responsibility in the digitally-interconnected era in which they will practice medicine. There are several other medical, health professional, and indeed other professional schools interested in emulating our early successes. Lastly, the course garners consistent positive press coverage.

About Our Team


Dr. Amin Azzam, MD, MA
Psychiatry , Practicing Physician
Location: San Francisco, California
Medical school: Virginia Commonwealth University
Bio: passionate medical educator, psychiatrist specializing in group psychotherapy, innovation enthusiast
Practice: UCSF Department of Psychiatry
Hospital Affiliation: University of California, San Francisco
Title: HS Associate Clinical Professor
Twitter: @AminMDMA
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/aminazzam

About Team Members

James Heilman
Wikipedian, B.Sc., MD, CCFP(EM)
Biography: I am an emergency physician and one of Wikipedia's most prolific medical contributors. I have been editing Wikipedia since 2008. I was a founding member of both Wikimedia Canada and Wiki Project Med Foundation and was on the board of the Wikimedia Foundation in 2015.
Twitter: @WikiDocJames
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-heilman-56130436
Jake Orlowitz
Head of The Wikipedia Library, BA
Biography: I run The Wikipedia Library, a nonprofit project to give top Wikipedia editors access to reliable sources. We have partnered with JSTOR, Oxford University Press, Elsevier and over a dozen other publishers or platforms to advance our mission of sharing knowledge while exposing their collections of scholarly works. The Wikipedia Library also conducts projects with University Libraries, Technical Development, Archives and LIS students
Twitter: @JakeOrlowitz
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jake-orlowitz-58321656?trk
Tina Brock
Professor of Clinical Pharmacy; Associate Dean for Global Health & Educational Innovations, BA, BS, MS, EdD
Biography: Tina Brock is the Associate Dean for Global Health and Educational Innovations and Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the UCSF School of Pharmacy. In this capacity, she collaborates with educators in the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and the Department of Physical Therapy – exploring innovative curricular methods that can contribute to better patient care. Her passions are global health workforce capacity building, and technology-enhanced learning.
Twitter: @tmpbrock
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tinapenickbrock
Kingsley Otoide
Mr., Nil
Biography: I'm co-founder@insp-i.com. Years spent working as Global Marketing Associate for Invent Resources, Inc. (weinvent.com), a US-based technology innovation company with a significant intellectual property (IP) portfolio, brought me into contact with leading corporations (e.g., BP, Sasol, Lurgi, etc) and venture capitalists (e.g., Vinod Khosla). That experience inspired insp-i.com. Also, I'm one of the small group of people working with University of California Press on the Open Library of Medicine.
Valerie Swisher
CEO, BA
Biography: Val Swisher is the CEO of Content Rules. She is a well-known expert in global content strategy, content development, and terminology management. Val is on the Executive Board for Translators Without Borders. At TWB, she is responsible for creating and running the Simplified English program and working with non-governmental organizations to provide them with much-needed translations for humanitarian causes around the world.
Twitter: @valswisher
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/valswisher

About Our Company


Wiki Education Foundation (Wiki Ed)
Location: San Francisco, California
Website: http://wikiedu.org
Blog: http://wikiedu.org/blog/
Twitter: @WikiEducation
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WikiEducationFoundation/
Product stage: market
Sales: Working on it
Employees: 10-20

How We Help Patients

When people have a medical question, where do they turn? For 200 million people, the answer is Wikipedia. That’s how many people read the site’s 25,000 health articles every month. The online encyclopedia’s 8,000 pharmacology articles are accessed 40 million times. Globally, Wikipedia’s health-related searches outnumbered websites such as the NIH, WebMD, and Mayo Clinic. Bringing medical students to the Wikipedia-editing community gives all patients what they rightly deserve: access to free, high-quality health information.

How We Help Education

Through our experiences over the past 3 years, we have seen nearly all of the 50 medical student graduates of our course broaden their sense of physician identity in the current and future era. Effectively they begin understanding that making digital contributions to open-repositories like Wikipedia is part of their contract with society. If given the opportunity, we believe all medical students across all schools would love to give back to a resource they use extensively while in medical school.

How We Help Physicians

The rise and spread of Internet accessibility has created an unprecedented resource for the dissemination of medical information, and an invaluable tool for both healthcare providers and the population at large. Unfortunately, there have never been more opportunities for the rapid spread of misinformation, or misinterpretation of medical facts. Clinicians must sometimes gently redirect patients who are convinced they have some rare disease they read about on the Internet. Many practicing physicians currently "secretly use" Wikipedia-- likely to brush up on details once learned but long forgotten, or as a first resource to then delve deeper with other more reliable information sources. Having higher quality initial information on Wikipedia might increase the efficiency with which they find the information they need when they need it. It also will prevent patient misinformation at the source, thereby reducing time spent correcting misinterpretations.

Challenge Mission

Mission: Higher quality free health information on Wikipedia improves the nation's health. If all medical students improved Wikipedia's content, just how fast might it become a reliable health info source?
Use of funds: We would use this funding to deepen our partnership with the Wiki Edu Foundation to create and disseminate resources for use by other medical and health professional school faculty developing similar courses at their institutions. Also might use the funds to cover expenses related to scholarly dissemination at med ed conferences.
Intellectual Property Status: Our project is based around the quintessential open information source: Wikipedia. As such there are no intellectual property concerns.
FDA Status: n/a
Personal Message: Through the Wiki Edu Foundation, over 14,000 students have taken on Wikipedia-editing assignments since 2010, improving 35,000 articles. It's time for medical education to embrace this partnership too!

Supporters

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    05/22/2016 Martin Shapiro - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/16/2016 Kathleen Land - Other

    Liked the project.

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    05/16/2016 Raquel Rodriguez - Private

    Liked the project.

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    05/15/2016 GURPREET DHALIWAL - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/15/2016 GURPREET DHALIWAL - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/14/2016 Patricia OSullivan - Other

    Followed the project.

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    05/14/2016 Patricia OSullivan - Other

    Liked the project.

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    05/13/2016 Victoria Ruddick - Other

    Liked the project.

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    05/13/2016 Jon Fair - Private

    Followed the project.

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    05/13/2016 Dr. Margaret Chisolm - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/13/2016 Victoria Ruddick - Other

    Followed the project.

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    05/13/2016 Jon Fair - Private

    Interested in piloting the project.

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    05/12/2016 Kevin Souza - Other

    Liked the project.

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Amin Azzam, MD, MA
Physician
HS Associate Clinical Professor
Virginia Commonwealth University

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