Residents Launch Pediatric Blog to Foster Conversation About Children's Health

By Leslie Lingaas on June 11, 2013

What role can social media play in an academic medical center? The UCSF Department of Pediatrics is exploring that question with the launch of its Peds by the Bay blog.

Rhea Boyd, MD, left, and Jessica Schumer, MD

Third-year resident Rhea Boyd, MD, and chief resident Jessica Schumer, MD, created the blog with the support of the department’s Division of Medical Education, under Daniel West, MD. The two women shared a vision of how this social media tool might foster a broad conversation about child health.

“We wanted to make the work we do at an academic medical center more transparent to colleagues in other settings,” said Boyd.

Both she and Schumer are affiliated with the Pediatric Leadership for the Underserved (PLUS) residency track. They hope their blog, Peds by the Bay, will serve as a platform to highlight the child health advocacy initiatives UCSF champions and offer a creative way to share ideas with child health advocates outside the university.

“We felt a blog was one way to really do that,” said Schumer. “As residents and faculty, we’re always writing, and this is a way to expand the conversation with advocates at the local, state and national level.”

The two had some experience with social media – Schumer had set up the wiki that residents use to share their projects, and Boyd has created and maintained a professional blog.  

Creating Peds by the Bay was an 18-month process, as the two researched how social media platforms are currently used as scientific and collaborative tools. Launching the site also required building institutional support for the project across the university and developing administrative guidelines to address patient confidentiality. 

Boyd and Schumer will be leaving the university as their residencies end in July, but both will stay on the Peds by the Bay advisory board and work with blog faculty advisor Brad Monash, MD, chief residents, and the new resident editors to help guide the project as it unfolds.

The two physicians stress that the blog is a work in progress. The first phase of its launch includes regular posts from residents and faculty members on challenging clinical issues, science, and child health advocacy. The Peds by the Bay team also plans to set up methods to measure its effectiveness as an outreach tool.

Eventually, the blog will be configured to allow readers to post comments directly on the site, said Schumer. In the meantime, feedback on blog content can be sent to Pedsbythebay@ucsf.edu