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Cancer Care Chronicles
January 2019

Social Media and Gender Equity in Oncology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, John Theurer Cancer Center, a Hackensack Meridian Health-Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center partnership, Hackensack, New Jersey
  • 2Center for Bioethics and Social Science in Medicine, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Oncol. 2019;5(1):15-16. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.4647

We met on the internet. In an era when a fair share of married couples first connect in the virtual world, it should be unsurprising that the internet has also revolutionized the way that professional collaborators find one another. In our case, we connected because of a shared interest in promoting gender equity in oncology. Social media has not only led us to a productive research and mentoring relationship but also to a vast community of like-minded individuals. Women physicians, in particular, appear to be eager to harness the ability of social media to combat the unique challenges they face, including unconscious bias, conscious harassment, and gendered expectations relating to domestic and career responsibilities. Such challenges are compounded when one feels isolated; social media offers a revolutionary solution by creating communities where none existed before. We share our own experience here to illustrate how social media is creating new communities within medicine and offers an unprecedented sphere for unfiltered discussion and advancement of new ideas, in the hopes of inspiring others to harness its great potential.

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